Nucho, Joanne Randa

Approve Date
Grant Year
2014

Preliminary abstract: This ethnographic film entitled 'Zawarib Bourj Hammoud' or 'The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud' is an experimental, collaborative piece that incorporates the experiences, memories and visions evoked through the materiality of urban infrastructures in Bourj Hammoud, a diverse working class suburb of Beirut, Lebanon that is home to Armenians, Lebanense of various sects, migrant workers from around the world and, most recently, Syrians displaced by conflict. From new bridges and roads that have created emergent boundaries in space between zones of sectarian belonging and otherness in the context of ongoing conflict, to the tearing down of the final remaining refugee camp that housed some of the first Armenian refugees to Lebanon in the 1920s and 30s, to the scars of conflict all around in the form of bullet holes in walls and crumbling electricity infrastructure, my film will make vivid the inseparable processes of building a city and producing a sense of sectarian belonging. The film will incorporate footage shot in Lebanon between 2008-2011 with a further month of shooting in 2015 in order to explore the ways in which my interlocutors have experienced rapid change in the district as the conflict in Syria has led to a massive displacement of Syrians to Bourj Hammoud. The film will incorporate interviews, observational footage, reenactments staged by my interlocutors, as well as maps drawn by participants of 'disappeared spaces' in order to produce a filmic documentary about how layers of time and space can quickly transform what appear to be deeply entrenched sectarian processes in urban neighborhoods.