Re-Conceptua lisations of Public Spaces

What are the practical and symbolic meanings and uses of public spaces and how is the notion of ‘public’ re-conceptualised in periods of crisis? How do people react when public spaces are at stake and how do they claim them when they are threatened for economical and political reasons?

The War of Kings and Pigeons, 2014, a short movie shot in Beirut will be screened as part of this round table. Dalieh is a natural stretch of coast – one of the last accessible coastal areas in Beirut, inhabited by fishermen and their families. This popular recreational area is under threat of being privatised and closed off from the public.


  • Io Chaviara

    (artist and co-funder of TWIXTlab / Greece)

    Chaviara will refer to the ways in which art is used by artists or non-artists as a means of intervention, interruption, destabilisation or subversion in public spaces in Greece and abroad.

  • Khaled Malas

    (architect / Syria & USA)

    Malas’ presentation focuses on two recent projects that examine alternative narratives of modernities and creative resistances. These projects stem from a firm conviction that architecture can perform a transformative role and that it is capable of transcending the often-unquestioned distinctions between building and monument.

    In Syria, site of multiple cycles of excessive violence and where the land is at stake, the comprehension of past struggles in/of space and its meanings becomes essential. As such, these projects attempt to forge new ways of building in accordance with the circumstances of the Syrian context today.

  • Abir Saksouk

    (architect and urbanist, co-founder of Dictaphone Group / Lebanon)

    In 2013, Dictaphone Group edited the autumn edition of ArteEast’s online magazine, discussing the issue of access to the sea and public space in several Arab cities. They collected contributions from activists, artists and researchers from Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Palestine. By reflecting on each of these contributions, Abir Saksouk will discuss why the fight for public space is significant in the context of Arab cities, with a focus on Beirut.

  • Ghassan Maasri

    (architect and co-funder of Mansion / Lebanon)

    With Beirut loosing much of its public spaces to corruption, the market, sectarianism and with the systematic dismantling of social and cultural infrastructures like neighbourhoods, theatres, radios, unions and so on, safeguarding new cultural agendas, collaborations, gatherings and production outside of the market, governmental and non-governmental control became scarce and fragile.

    Depending on established infrastructures of activist, social and artistic networks in need of sheltering and free space for production, Mansion requisitions the role and definition of private space in times of crises, and the lack of public space  in general.