warehouse warehouse

Resilient Weeds – a Botanic Archive

by Marwa Arsanios,  commented by Anneliese Ostertag


“Resilient Weeds” (2016, Beirut) is a series of drawings that document flora and fauna that survive the toxicity of garbage dumps. The drawings are part of the installation “Falling is not collapsing Falling is Extending”, which maps the urbanization and capitalization of Beirut since the 1990s. the installation takes the spaces of different garbage dumps around the city of Beirut to look at the accumulation of waste and its relation to strategic real estate development. it is made of different elements; sculptures and topographies, drawings and a film that come together in one spatial installation Rubble is used as a material on garbage dumps, mixed with waste in order to build land extensions that are then turned into real estate havens. It has been one of the strategies used by real estate development in order to gain land and privatize the seashore.

The series of drawings of fauna and flora takes the ecosystem of the garbage dumps in order to map out the living beings around these spaces. The topographies work as a botanic archive, a mapping device for the different dumps and a forecast of future privatization.

“Matter, like meaning, is not an individually articulated or static entity. matter is not little bits of nature, or a blank slate, surface, or site passively awaiting signification; nor is it an uncontested ground for scientific, feminist, or marxist theories. matter is not a support, location, referent, or source of sustainability for discourse. matter is not immutable or passive. it does not require the mark of an external force like culture or history to complete it. matter is always already an ongoing historicity.” (Karen Barad, Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter)

„Matter is not simply „a kind of citationality“ (Butler,1993,15) the surface effect of human bodies, or the end product of linguistic or discursive acts. Material constraints and exclusions and the material dimensions of regulatory practices are important factors in the process of materialization. The dynamics of intra-activity entails matter as an active „agent“ in is ongoing materialization.“ (Karen Barad, Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter)

“Boundary-making practices, that is, discursive practices, are fully implicated in the dynamics of intra-activity through which phenomena come to matter. In other words, materiality is discursive (i.e., material phenomena are inseperable from the apparatuses of bodily production: matter emerges out of and includes as part of its being the ongoing reconfiguring of boundaries), just as discursive practices are always already material (i.e., they are ongoing material (re)configurings of the world. […]The relationship between the material and the discursive is one of mutual entailment. Neither is articulated/articulable in the absences of the other; matter and meaning are mutually articulated.” (Karen Barad, Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter)

Marwa Arsanios (1978) lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. She obtained the Master of Fine Arts from University of the Arts, London in 2007 and was a researcher in the Fine Arts Department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie until 2012. In 2007 Arsanios founded 98weeks with Mirene Arsanios, a research project, artists’ organization and project space. It is conceived as a research project that shifts its attention to a new topic every 98 weeks. Focusing on artistic research, combining both theoretical and practical forms of inquiry, 98weeks’ projects take multiple forms such as workshops, community projects, seminars, reading groups, publications and exhibitions. Arsanios exhibited her artistic work at NGBK, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, in Berlin and M HKA, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, in Antwerp. Furthermore her work was shown at Art Dubai in the Bidoun Lounge (Art Park 2009), at the Forum Expanded of the Berlinale (2010), at Tokyo Wonder Site, Institute of Contemporay Art and Cultural Exchange (2011), the 12th Istanbul Biennale (2011) and at the Venice Biennale (2013). Her videos were screened at several festivals such as the Rio de Janeiro film festival in 2010, the e-flux storefront in New York, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.