Je d’histoires (2006-2007)

 Interactive Multimedia Installation 

Texts of the interactive video installation

The weather is gorgeous here you know

The light, so unique, eases my sadness

The prospect of the sea, beyond the disfigured shore,

carries me far and away

I could not live elsewhere

I thought about this for months

Yesterday I didn’t think of it anymore

Now I do not fear any longer. I wait

I no longer keep track of the days, of the hours

Today I love you

I only think of the you that moves me, overwhelms me

Yesterday I was a drifting soul

rehearsing the joyful scene of our meeting,

the one that would have brought us together with conviction

How much longer will I have to wait?

I cannot stop myself from thinking about it

I do it secretly, to protect myself

To protect us

This time, I hesitate to talk about it

What if it weren’t the right time?

Today is no day for heroism

How many are we in this solitude?

If only you could see the trace of light

How it enfolds a borderless cloud

Its incandescent contours blurred

as it blends in with other clouds

I hear the sound of the rough sea

I see the soldier, in position since morning

I see him looking at the sea

He has no other choice but to watch the waves

Awaiting nothing, but in charge of guarding the horizon

The enemy will come perhaps

The enemy is there

2. Outside, the buildings, hundreds of them,

bathed in pink light

surround the calm sea

I cannot stop myself from thinking about it

Yesterday all seemed so peaceful

He, she, have just died, last week, a month ago, tomorrow

They haunt us

Every step, every gesture counts. No more heedlessness

I see the unsolvable, the inscrutable

Every act is crucial to a future I may not know

I dream sometimes of dying a martyr, an eternal heroine

How many are we in this solitude?

It took us years to regain some form of peacefulness

Today we understand

The war was not over, we just did not know it

How much longer will I have to wait?

Waiting that is no longer waiting

Since time has ceased to pass

I don’t keep track of the days, of the hours, anymore

I could tell you the hours tick away terribly slowly

I could also tell you they just fly by

I cannot remember what I was doing before it all began

A sense of frailty overcomes me

I do not want to go on

I am afraid of killing. I crave it. I shudder

The city is deserted

Few noises interrupt this alien calm

Everything becomes possible and nothing too

I will not leave

3. I cannot remember what I was doing before it all began

I do not fear anymore. I wait

I recall images of those torn, battered figures

I insert my face, my body in their place

Am I wounded or dead? No, wounded

I scream. I do not want to have both my legs amputated

I howl, I cry. Nothing to be done. They must amputate

He had no face left to cry, the bomb beheaded him

I insert my body in his place. I die

and then, the explosion

I only faint in this version, I do not die

I recall the bodies

The fragments of bodies strewn around me

I relive thousands of times this instant of rupture

that plunges me into the void

I cannot feel anymore, the pain is pure

There must be pieces of my body missing

Pieces of my being surely

I do not recognize anyone

Later I am told and it comes back to me

You next to me, motionless, dead

It was your body I saw

How can I forget you?

I want to

I am ready to destroy everything, even you

What if it weren’t the right time?

I do not believe in eternity anymore

I do not want to go on

You slip away. I overflow in your presence

We are the same

I will never live here again

I will not love you anymore

Je d’histoires (2006-2007)

Interactive Multimedia Installation
Commissioned for the Lebanese pavilion in Venice Biennial (2007)
Conceived, written and produced by: Lamia Joreige
Software and interface by: Tarek Atoui
Music by: Discipline, Charbel Haber & Whisky Matador (Tarek Atoui)

‘Je d’histoires’ plays multiple stories. Visitors are invited to construct their own visual story from an array of video images, texts and music. They become actors in the narrative process, each time renewing it.

Among the videos presented are landscapes, urban views of Beirut and Super 8 found footage. The texts are letters about love and war. The music features sounds playing on repetition, melodious tunes, and lyrical sequences.

The presence of the visitor is recorded through a microphone and its sound stored into a database to be later transformed and re-injected randomly – like an irruption or a ghost sound,  during the playing of a sequence. The visitor affects the playing: If they produce loud sounds while watching, they will provoke the disintegration of the image. Hence, their presence becomes imprinted in the sequence, making it unique.