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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Randa Mizra: Reflection on Wars - The Culture of Shock

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Randa Mizra
Reflection on Wars - The Culture of Shock

The Culture of Shock - Artist Statement (Sept 2007)
To regard the sufferings of people in conflict zones is a new form of virtual tourism.
"the culture of shock" is an ongoing project that points to the absurdity of our separate worlds and realities; disparate actions take place at the same time in different places.
The images reveal in a single frame how events are portrayed and how they are perceived. Passive news spectators are transplanted in the image. They become the image.
Abandoned rooms - Artist Statement (Sept 2007)
Abandoned Rooms is a series about fragmented lives, lives that are stuck between the reality of the changeover and the haunting ghost of the war. They speak of the past in the present, of presence in absence, of death and survival, of what is forgotten and what lingers, of what rots and is transformed in a country that keeps rising from its ruins.
During what is commonly known as the years of the civil war, waves of civilian migrants fleeing their devastated regions sheltered in various blocks of flats, rubble, abandoned apartments and chalets, luxurious villas, hotels and summer houses. The various Lebanese militias and foreign armies took over these constructions and turned them into housings or headquarters. Since the civil war ended in 1990, and until the foreign armies recently withdrew from the Lebanese territories ( 2000 for Israel and 2005 for Syria), most of these places were gradually being returned to their original owners. Despite the reconstruction frenzy that has gripped the country, strongly encouraged by the "postwar" governments, many of these monuments dotted across Lebanon are actually in ruins… They form the remains and traces of the war: scattered holes in the collective memory.
I entered these wrecks with a need entwined with the fear of returning to places steeped in the past. Stacks of lives awaited in the photographed rooms. Passing through these infinite spaces reveals the adventure and risk of a forced encounter with memory. In the destitution of what remains, repressed secrets rear up: present and imaginary dusts.
These monuments, with their multiple identities and histories, are an integral part of the urban landscape, standing like an abutment of the past against a period both stagnant and present, a reminder of an overhanging war.
I started working on the Abandoned rooms photography project in September 2005. The work was medaled at the 5th francophonie games in December 2005. It was also rewarded, the " no limit award" at Arles photography festival on the 8th of July 2006, four days before the latest destruction of Lebanon by Isreal, in what has been lately titled the July war. 



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