This Is Not Lebanon

Festival for Visual Arts, Performance, Music and Talks
26.08. –12.09.2021

Beirut has always been a city of culture. The 1950s and 60s were legendary, when Beirut was seen as a kind of Paris of the Middle East. This was particularly evident in the visual arts, which were represented in several editions of Documenta. 15 years of civil war did not change this. The Beirut art scene is a driving force for artists from the entire region, whose influence extends far beyond neighbouring countries.

Now this scene is threatened. The country is in free fall. There is no fuel any more, hardly any electricity and no affordable medicines. The currency has imploded, the government remains as corrupt as ever and Covid case rates are increasing again despite months of lockdown. One year after the explosion that destroyed Beirut harbour and a number of the city’s central districts, resistance is stirring once again. Relatives of the victims demand an unsparing investigation into the disaster. But instead of assuming responsibility, the Minister of the Interior has cracked down on the protests.

Many Lebanese people describe the present situation as more chaotic and dangerous than ever before – even though the country has already been through several periods of life on the edge. However, now is also the time when a young generation of artists is emerging. ‘This Is Not Lebanon’ provides them with a platform to create common spaces for thinking, discourse and experiences, in which the complex mixture of protest and dissent, perplexity and restlessness can be articulated. In this way it is possible to reflect on a future in and for Lebanon with a young generation of engaged artists.

Dramaturgy & curation performance, visual Arts, disourse, music: Matthias Lilienthal, Rabih Mroué, Anna Wagner
Curation projects Ensemble Modern: Jaan Bossier, Uwe Dierksen, Christian Hommel
Direction PERFORMING SOLIDARITY & Young Professionals Encounter: Anne Schulz
Artistic collaboration: Friederike Kötter
Curational collaboration performance & visual arts: Christine Tohmé
Collaboration dramaturgy: Anna Mohrdiek
Project coordination: Carmen Salinas
Production management performance, visual arts, disourse, music: Adnan Abbas, Anne Kleiner, Friederike Kötter,
Production management projects Ensemble Modern: Ina Meineke

“This Is Not Lebanon. Festival for Visual Arts, Performance, Music and Talks” is a cooperation project of the Frankfurt LAB with Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Ensemble Modern in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Lebanon, supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Ensemble Modern Patronatsgesellschaft e.V. The discourse programme is supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb). The residencies within the framework of “This Is Not Lebanon. Festival for Visual Arts, Performance, Music and Talks” are part of “Frankfurt Moves!”, a cooperation of the KfW Stiftung and the Frankfurt LAB to promote international emerging artists in the field of dance and performing arts.