War Diary: The End of Innocence

23 May, 2021

Abandoned Dwellings. Tableaux, BF335-Ras Beirut 2012 (Photo courtesy Gregory Buchakjian).

Aban­doned Dwellings. Tableaux, BF335-Ras Beirut 2012 (Pho­to cour­tesy Gre­go­ry Buchakjian).

The Opera Nation­al du Rhin’s annu­al Arsmon­do fes­ti­val fea­tured Lebanon in 2021, all online dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, and among the pieces com­mis­sioned was an opera-video per­for­mance, based on the jour­nal of a Pales­tin­ian fight­er found by a Lebanese pho­tog­ra­ph­er, Gre­go­ry Buchakjian, in an aban­doned house in Beirut after the civ­il war. Buchakjian has done exten­sive work on Beirut’s archi­tec­tur­al his­to­ry and her­itage, lead­ing to Agen­da 1979 by Buchakjian & Cachard.

Arie Amaya-Akkermans

“To say noth­ing, do noth­ing, mark time, to bend, to straight­en up, to blame one­self, to stand, to go toward the win­dow, to change one’s mind in the process, to return to one’s chair, to stand again, to go to the bath­room, to close the door, to then open the door, to go to the kitchen, to not eat nor drink, to return to the table, to be bored, to take a few steps on the rug, to come close to the chim­ney, to look at it, to find it dull, to turn left until the main door, to come back to the room, to hes­i­tate, to go on, just a bit, a tri­fle, to stop, to pull the right side of the cur­tain, then the oth­er side, to stare at the wall.” 

Agenda 1979  is a video by Valérie Cachard & Gregory Buchakjian, with music by Sary Moussa, 2021.

Agen­da 1979 is a video by Valérie Cachard & Gre­go­ry Buchakjian, with music by Sary Mous­sa, 2021.

So goes the first stan­za in Etel Adnan’s poem “To Be In A Time Of War” (2005), which sum­ma­rized the use of a note­book, jour­nal, or agen­da, in times of dis­as­ter, in times of war. A sit­u­a­tion when time becomes so dis­en­tan­gled that these pages are a win­dow into the real­i­ty of the world, where you are still able to num­ber things, count them, orga­nize them, insert them into the con­tin­u­um of life. 

So many of these diaries exist for Beirut. And there will cer­tain­ly be more for Gaza.

But there’s one diary, unlike any oth­er: The Agen­da 1979, at the heart of an epony­mous exper­i­men­tal opera by the Lebanese trio, artist Gre­go­ry Buchakjian, play­wright Valérie Cachard and musi­cian Sary Mous­sa. This is not the pas­sive account of an observ­er, wait­ing time out, and watch­ing events unfold; it is not an account about war, but a man­u­al on how to make war. This might sound uncan­ny, but the real events are less cred­i­ble, less con­vinc­ing, less con­clu­sive, than any imag­i­nary plots. 

There’s a date: July 29, 2012. Buchakjian and Cachard entered (read: tres­passed into) an apart­ment in a build­ing on Rue Jeanne d’Arc, plot 335, in Ras Beirut. It was one of three iden­ti­cal build­ings, in the French man­date archi­tec­tur­al style of the 1930s, and the only one which was acces­si­ble, since it was aban­doned after shelling in 1989. Inside this derelict apart­ment, two Pales­tin­ian lives coin­cid­ed, though it was unknown whether they had been neigh­bors or lived in the same apart­ment at dif­fer­ent times. 

The first was Adnan K, who was born in Pales­tine in 1947, grew up in Amman, attend­ed the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty of Beirut, and left Lebanon at an unknown date to set­tle in Cal­i­for­nia. The sec­ond was Abu Said, to whom an office agen­da for the year 1979 was addressed to, by Abu Awd, a mem­ber of the Gen­er­al Com­mand of the Al Assi­fa Forces with­in the Pales­tin­ian Lib­er­a­tion Orga­ni­za­tion. This agen­da, the Agen­da 1979, is a man­u­script mem­o­ran­dum writ­ten in Ara­bic, con­tain­ing detailed descrip­tions, tech­ni­cal instruc­tions and step-by-step graph­ic sketch­es: Weapons oper­a­tion, home­made assem­bly of explo­sives, artillery bal­lis­tics and com­bat procedures. 

We know lit­tle else about either Abu Said or Abu Awd, but this is of course not the known modus operan­di of Pales­tin­ian or Lebanese mili­tias, and more of an account by some­one who received train­ing in an artillery school, with the pre­ci­sion of an engi­neer, involv­ing math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions and chem­i­cal reactions. 

Oth­er doc­u­ments found in the apart­ment point us in a spec­u­la­tive direc­tion: Six post­cards depict­ing paint­ed inte­ri­or views of the Her­mitage Muse­um in Leningrad, two repro­duc­tions of post­cards depict­ing wilder­ness in the USSR and a repro­duc­tion of five stereo slides depict­ing sights of Leningrad. Was Abu Awd per­haps trained in the Sovi­et Union?

One of the slides depicts the Quay with Sphin­x­es on the Uni­ver­sitet­skaya Embank­ment of St. Peters­burg, the two ancient Egypt­ian sphin­x­es acquired by Andrey Muravy­ov in 1830 dur­ing a Holy Land pil­grim­age, on behalf of Emper­or Nicholas I, at the height of the Euro­pean Egyp­to­ma­nia led by the dis­cov­er­ies of French ori­en­tal­ists.  These slides, along­side a type­writ­ten text by Buchakjian, briefly telling the sto­ry of Adnan K and the two Abus, with a suc­cinct descrip­tion of the agen­da, were exhib­it­ed in Beirut in 2013, but the phys­i­cal agen­da was missing. 

Sto­ries begin to inter­weave: A bomb­ing took place on Rue Jeanne d’Arc, in an attempt to assas­si­nate a Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tant in April 1982, report­ed by the pho­to­jour­nal­ist Georges Azar, but as it turns out, it was­n’t the same per­son, who was instead in the build­ing across the street. Anoth­er jour­nal­ist, Nora Bous­tany, offered Buchakjian to help track down Abu Said. But he refused. There’s just so much one can dig with­out becom­ing one with the exca­va­tion site. 

Here, in the present, we read from Etel Adnan’s poem again: 

“To put things in order. To find a 1975 diary. To read at ran­dom: “Back from Dam­as­cus”. To read, fur­ther: “Sun­day the 12th. Mawaqif meet­ing.” To leave the note­book on the table. Turn the radio on KPFA. To absorb the news like a bit­ter drink. To cre­ate ter­ror, that’s war. To wal­low in cru­el­ty, con­quest. To burn. To kill. To tor­ture. To humil­i­ate: that’s war, again and again. To try and break the iron cir­cle. To go down­town, at least, to park on Caledonia.” 

When Gre­go­ry Buchakjian set him­self to map and doc­u­ment through pho­tog­ra­phy the aban­doned hous­es of Beirut in 2009, the most cru­cial piece of evi­dence in the puz­zle of the city’s absurd, pro­tract­ed past, he soon found him­self inside a chess board: The more he dug out of the archae­o­log­i­cal record of the past and present, the deep­er the drilling core became, and the more truth merged with fic­tion. The depth of the abyss only enlarged in time. No soon­er than many build­ings were doc­u­ment­ed, they became emp­ty plots overnight, rapid­ly trans­formed or gave up to an archi­tec­tur­al destruc­tion more intense, faster, than that of armed con­flict — the many recon­struc­tions of Beirut. 

Around 2011 Buchakjian and Cachard began not only to doc­u­ment the aban­doned hous­es, but also to col­lect archives: They care­ful­ly sort­ed out through any mate­r­i­al indi­ca­tions that could give some clues as to who the dweller was; util­i­ty bills, post­cards, let­ters, pho­tographs, busi­ness cards. What kind of evi­dence for our lives would we leave behind if we left our homes in a haste, forever?

Inside  Agenda 1979 , from the video by Valérie Cachard and Gregory Buchakjian, music by Sary Moussa, 2021.

Inside Agen­da 1979, from the video by Valérie Cachard and Gre­go­ry Buchakjian, music by Sary Mous­sa, 2021.

Some ques­tions are to remain unan­swered. Is the per­son alive? Do these aban­doned doc­u­ments tell a sto­ry that they want­ed to for­get when they hur­ried out? Or are these pre­cious mem­o­ries for some­one? And the val­ue of the pho­to­graph­ic doc­u­ment itself: Are these pho­tographs tak­en by Buchakjian real­ly documents? 

At the con­clu­sion of Buchakjian’s project, he and cura­tor Kari­na Helou, were prepar­ing for a major exhi­bi­tion at the Sur­sock Muse­um in Beirut, “Aban­doned Dwellings, Dis­play of Sys­tems,” and while dis­cussing the archival mate­r­i­al to be includ­ed in the exhi­bi­tion, the infa­mous agen­da came to mind. Ulti­mate­ly, the artist decid­ed not to include it, in spite of its unmatch­able impor­tance as a doc­u­ment, because he deemed the mate­r­i­al too vio­lent, and think­ing that it was per­haps unnec­es­sary to reac­ti­vate past trauma. 

The agen­da remained in a dor­mant state. Yet, as a part of the Sur­sock exhi­bi­tion, Buchakjian, Cachard and Mous­sa col­lab­o­rat­ed in a short video, “Archive,” in which they laid out vast amounts of the archival mate­r­i­al and sort­ed it out, unsure whether it was a per­for­mance or a foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tion. The agen­da reap­pears here as a sheer object among many, lost in an inter­minable stream of assem­bled traces — an assem­blage with­out any par­tic­u­lar direc­tion. Dor­mant, how­ev­er, means also latent, ready to awake at any time. 

And then, anoth­er date, the ulti­mate date, after which the mea­sure­ments tra­di­tion­al­ly applied to war became use­less. August 4, 2020, short­ly after 6 pm, the event hori­zon of Beirut. An explo­sion unlike any oth­er, when a cache of approx­i­mate­ly 2,750 met­ric tons of ammo­ni­um nitrate pre­car­i­ous­ly stored in the port of Beirut, set off an explo­sion so mas­sive that it destroyed large sec­tions of a city, then still only par­tial­ly rebuilt. A grand finale; to explode what had explod­ed once before, to explode what had­n’t fin­ished being rebuilt. Accord­ing to sci­en­tists, the Beirut blast was so large, so dev­as­tat­ing, that it dis­turbed the upper atmos­phere above the city and changes were observed in ionos­pher­ic elec­trons, com­pa­ra­ble only to recent­ly record­ed vol­canic explosions. 

What could these num­bers mean here? What does war mean any­more in the face of this impal­pa­ble destruction? 

Etel Adnan answers ret­ro­spec­tive­ly in her poem: 

“To pro­gram chaos, to make sure that it will be a killer, to pre­vent a coun­try from being man­aged decent­ly: that’s the day’s pol­i­tics. To per­vert lan­guage, per­vert the chil­dren’s eyes, cor­rupt and destroy, that’s the new order. To dis­trib­ute evil with spe­cial­ly built machines […] To destroy both the inner and the out­er wall. To inhab­it the city which has been con­quered by mur­der. To add ruins over ruins. To be jeal­ous of Baby­lon. To spray hatred on its corpses as well as on the liv­ing. To burn live mat­ter. To water the palm trees with fire; that’s a bar­bar­ian’s job…”

Only now, Agen­da 1979, the note­book unlike all oth­er note­books, would rise to the occa­sion, to match the event unlike all oth­er events. Agen­da 1979 was about to awake from its dor­mant state, not in the form of a hand­book of war­fare and com­bat, but as an ele­gy.  

After hav­ing found Buchakjian’s book Aban­doned Dwellings that accom­pa­nied the Sur­sock exhi­bi­tion, Chris­t­ian Longchamp, the direc­tor of pro­grams at Opéra Nation­al du Rhin, in France, con­tact­ed Buchakjian to invite him to par­tic­i­pate in the per­form­ing arts Fes­ti­val Arsmon­do 2021, ded­i­cat­ed each year to a dif­fer­ent coun­try, and for this year devot­ed to Lebanon. The pan­dem­ic forced the fes­ti­val online, in a more inter­dis­ci­pli­nary form, across music, opera, film, lit­er­a­ture and the visu­al arts. 

Another peak inside  Agenda 1979 , from the video by Valérie Cachard and Gregory Buchakjian, music by Sary Moussa, 2021.

Anoth­er peak inside Agen­da 1979, from the video by Valérie Cachard and Gre­go­ry Buchakjian, music by Sary Mous­sa, 2021.

Reflect­ing on how his prac­tice could be pre­sent­ed in some­thing like an opera set­ting (whether vir­tu­al or not), Buchakjian decid­ed to work on a new piece, with a very short dead­line, that would involve sound, or per­haps that it would be only a sound piece. 

He con­tact­ed Valérie Cachard and Sary Mous­sa to col­lab­o­rate again, and then, an oper­at­ic idea came into being: res­ur­rect­ing the agen­da.  Buchakjian’s ini­tial pro­pos­al was to read the entire con­tent of the agen­da in Ara­bic, into an opera of about four hours, clin­i­cal and neu­tral, over which the voice of Valérie Cachard and the music of Sary Mous­sa would over­lay. At first, the text need­ed to be typed since it was dif­fi­cult to read the fad­ing pages, rid­dled with tech­ni­cal terms. He typed and record­ed the con­tents cor­re­spond­ing to less than one month of the agen­da, and it was a 40-minute record­ing. Then he sent this record­ing to Cachard. She began build­ing the piece based on the read­ing, in the form of what she calls in the script, sound post­cards. She intro­duced sto­ries and con­ver­sa­tions she would tell some­one — Buchakjian, but this isn’t always clear. The final piece is close to 20 min­utes long. 

In the French script, the del­i­cate voice and mes­mer­iz­ing frag­ments of Cachard not only inter­fere with Buchakjian’s clin­i­cal read­ing, but pro­vide a dou­ble trace: These pre­cise instruc­tions for war, meth­ods, ana­lyt­i­cal skills, and mea­sure­ments, they are now events. Events that have tak­en place; at the edges of which they incon­solably sit (trans­la­tions mine):

first french text.jpg

“The diary you are hold­ing in your hands is from 1979
That was the year of my birth
I am the same age as the diary you are hold­ing in your hands
I was born on a Fri­day in the month of August.
The very same day, a man was under­go­ing train­ing in the Sovi­et Union. Like a stu­dious school­boy, he dili­gent­ly detailed the man­u­fac­tur­ing process of land­mines.
When I point­ed this detail out to you, if indeed it is a detail, you laughed and said ‘I am pleased to hear that your birth was mined.’ I laughed too.
That very same day, you were eight years old and from your Beirut bal­cony you could see the hills.
Lat­er As-Sai’qa tanks will set­tle on those hills.
As-Sai’qa means thun­der­bolt. 
Some­times a thun­der­bolt pre­cedes a kiss and singing in the rain.
Here the kiss­es are made of fire.”

It is a sound post­card not about the doc­u­ment itself, the arte­fact, but look­ing deep­er into the pos­si­bil­i­ties of real­i­ty —the event is always the cre­ation of new pos­si­bil­i­ties. What if this agen­da was not a harm­less arte­fact col­lect­ed from a pile of doc­u­ments strewn on the floor or for­got­ten in drawers? 

Cura­tor Kari­na Helou told me recent­ly: “Valérie and Gre­go­ry delved into this archive again, with­out the inten­tion to reac­ti­vate it, but on the con­trary, explor­ing the trail of vio­lence left by such inno­cent look­ing objects as this agen­da, which led to mon­strosi­ties being com­mit­ted and to the devel­op­ment of war­fare. Valerie’s soft voice, in dia­logue with Gre­go­ry who reads as a back­ground noise in Ara­bic the con­tent of the agen­da, marks the end of innocence.”

first french text 2.jpg

“You tell me it is a banal and ter­ri­fy­ing object.
You also tell me that this note­book con­tains what it takes to blow up a coun­try.
Do you think we need a note­book to blow up a coun­try, to blow up our coun­try?”
 
“You tell me that this diary is a time bomb.
You tell me that on Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 1979, they speak of the impor­tance of prop­er main­te­nance and stor­age of explo­sive mate­ri­als.
You add: ‘Mon­day, Decem­ber 24 can’t be a joke.‘
No it can’t be a joke.”

Imag­ine sit­ting at home, in the pres­ence of a hand­book for destroy­ing, bomb­ing, maim­ing and injur­ing. A hand­book with pre­cise instruc­tions, in which there’s no men­tion of a known ene­my, but an unknown oth­er, a gener­ic some­body, described in the pet­ty tech­ni­cal­i­ties of the dis­tance at which an anony­mous some­one should be in order to receive injury or retreat back to safety. 

Then imag­ine this, in a coun­try that was already destroyed, more than once, more than twice, more than many times. But it’s not nec­es­sary to imag­ine. There’s a page for August 4, 1979, with a graph­ic chart that depicts some­thing like the pat­tern of waves trav­el­ing through a medi­um, or the dif­fer­ent points of con­tact in the sequence of a det­o­na­tion. But what do we know about bom­bard­ment any­way? Beirut has ever been only on the receiv­ing end, with­out a man­u­al of instructions.

Cachard inter­jects, 

first french text3.jpg

“Why do we do this?
Is it art?
Is it sur­vival?
Nowa­days is mak­ing art sur­vival?
Despite the lux­u­ry of hav­ing a full fridge, a com­fort­able bed, a pleas­ant apart­ment and some heat­ing?
I’m sor­ry but I’m hav­ing a real­ly hard time get­ting into it. Real­ly. It’s hard. I’m sorry.”

The événe­ment of Beirut is an ungras­pable sit­u­a­tion in which a mul­ti­ple (a term bor­rowed from Badiou, to refer to any­thing that is not a sin­gu­lar or the whole) does not make sense accord­ing to the rules of real­i­ty, and needs to be inter­vened, in order to change the rules of the sit­u­a­tion, and insert a pos­si­ble mean­ing that might trans­form this sit­u­a­tion into a real event. But how now? When the événe­ment has become a sin­gu­lar­i­ty? An absolute future with­out past, and with­out end.

There is here an incred­i­ble degree of sub­li­ma­tion in the con­trast between Buchakjian’s read­ing and Cachard’s loose poet­ry, a sub­li­ma­tion in the form of sur­ren­der. But what the artists are sur­ren­der­ing is not them­selves; it is the con­cepts, strate­gies, utter­ances and pos­si­bil­i­ties of rea­son, art and language. 

At some point in the nar­ra­tion both voic­es become mud­dled into a thick, unde­ci­pher­able cos­mic back­ground, drown­ing in the syn­thet­ic noise arrange­ments of Sary Mous­sa, some­where between lament, drones buzzing, com­po­si­tion and dan­ger warning. 

In front of us, the numb audi­ence, punc­tur­ing the sounds, there are images of the Lebanese skies, from Jabal Kneis­seh and Jabal San­nine, the two peaks dom­i­nat­ing Beirut, and the most ubiq­ui­tous theme in the his­to­ry of Lebanese mod­ern paint­ing. But what you can see is most­ly fog and clouds, an abstrac­tion, an approx­i­ma­tion to a place, or the vague­ness of an unde­fined, incom­plete event. How is it pos­si­ble to speak of war, of vio­lence, in the face of such inef­fa­bil­i­ty? The artists’ choice was not to address, but to point at some­thing, to attempt a def­i­n­i­tion in vain, and to make you a par­tic­i­pant in a search, in a futile search, a res­cue search with­out sur­vivors. The event of life, of the world, will have to be rein­vent­ed in its entirety. 

Time stands still in Agen­da 1979, or at least is bereft of direc­tion, tem­porar­i­ly, so that you can sink com­plete­ly, to the point of sur­ren­der­ing your own strate­gies of lan­guage and rea­son as well. 

From the blur of the moun­tain range, all that you can see of Beirut right there, some­times occa­sion­al rays of light emerge which speak to us direct­ly, in the lan­guage of rev­e­la­tion. They tell us that sal­va­tion is no longer pos­si­ble or avail­able, this time around, but maybe some oth­er time. This nega­tion brings to mind the words of Jacques Der­ri­da, in his obit­u­ary for Sarah Kof­man, after her untime­ly sui­cide in 1994: “This ray of liv­ing light con­cerns the absence of sal­va­tion through an art and laugh­ter that, while promis­ing nei­ther res­ur­rec­tion nor redemp­tion, nev­er­the­less remains nec­es­sary. With a neces­si­ty to which we must yield.” It is imper­a­tive to remain awake to the very end, or para­phras­ing Philip Azoury, in the absence of an entire event miss­ing, the next log­i­cal step is to recount a nonevent. 

When Gre­go­ry goes up to the moun­tains to film, Valerie writes, alter­ing the tem­po­ral­i­ty of the script, 

first french text 4.jpg

“Today you are in the moun­tains.
You search, you stop, you film.
You send me a mes­sage.
You are cold.
You are shiv­er­ing.
The land­scape is splen­did.
The cam­era is rolling.
The day is wan­ing.
The cold is bone chill­ing.
You remem­ber a paint­ing by Simone Fat­tal.
There is a moun­tain and some blood, a paint­ing inspired by the bat­tle of the peaks of Mount Lebanon.
Per­haps the bat­tle took place on Mount San­nine? 
 
You saw that paint­ing in her home.”

I keep won­der­ing if Etel Adnan had also seen that paint­ing, at the apart­ment they shared with Simone in Man­ara, when she wrote the last stan­za of the poem, or if she referred to one of her own: 

“To try and be dis­tract­ed by poet­ry, by trees. To see the trees grow, in a hur­ry. To appear and dis­ap­pear. To take refuge from bes­tial con­quest in false shel­ters. To chase the refugee, to flush him out of his new refuge. To lodge a bul­let in the head and back of a Pales­tin­ian. To add Iraqis to the butch­ery. To paint big can­vas­es with blood, then take a night train, then a plane. To dis­em­bark in Paris. To pick up the tele­phone, dial a num­ber for Beirut. To hear the friend say that a Pales­tin­ian news­man has been cold-blood­ed­ly shot by some earnest monothe­ist. To won­der on the neces­si­ty of God. To brush the prob­lem aside. To think of Cas­san­dra. To remem­ber the Ham­mura­bi Code. To sink in fat. To look at the nar­row and long road which leads the world to the slaugh­ter-house.” 

And so on. 

 

Fes­ti­val Arsmon­do will be online again for a sec­ond time, June 3 through 15, 2021, includ­ing Agen­da 1979.

Gre­go­ry Buchakjian (b. 1971), is an art his­to­ri­an and inter­dis­ci­pli­nary visu­al artist, he earned his PhD from Sor­bonne Uni­ver­si­ty and is the direc­tor of the School of Visu­al Arts at the Lebanese Acad­e­my of Fine Arts. His research and prac­tice deals with mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art in Lebanon with a focus of the city and its history. 

Valérie Cachard (b. 1979), is a writer and play­wright. She com­plet­ed stud­ies in French lit­er­a­ture and jour­nal­ism at St. Joseph Uni­ver­si­ty and the Lebanese Uni­ver­si­ty. She was appoint­ed in 2019 co-chair of the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mis­sion for Fran­coph­o­ne The­ater and is a recip­i­ent of the RFI-Théâtre Prize for her play Vic­to­ria K, Del­phine Seyrig et moi or la Petite Chaise Jaune.

Sary Mous­sa (b. 1987) is an elec­tron­ic musi­cian, active in the Lebanese under­ground scene since 2008. He released his first full length album Iss­rar in 2014, under the moniker radiokvm. His lat­est record Imbal­ance is root­ed in the sound­scapes of the coun­try’s unrest and his per­son­al rec­ol­lec­tions. Mous­sa has also com­posed music for the­ater, dance per­for­mances, short films and muse­um installations. 

Etel Adnan (b. 1925) is a writer, poet and painter, born in Beirut but based in Paris and the Unit­ed States, and arguably one of the most cel­e­brat­ed Arab Amer­i­can writ­ers liv­ing today. In 2020 she was a recip­i­ent of the Grif­fin Poet­ry Prize for her book Time. The poem “To Be In A Time Of War” appears her book In the Heart of Anoth­er Coun­try” (2005). 

Beirutcivil warEtel AdnanJacques DerridaLebanonReviewSimone Fattalvideo

Arie Amaya-Akkermans is an art critic and writer based in Istanbul, formerly Beirut and Moscow. His work is mostly concerned with the relationship between archaeology, classical antiquity and modern culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on contemporary art. His byline has appeared previously on Hyperallergic, the San Francisco Arts Quarterly, Canvas, Harpers Bazaar Art Arabia, and he is a regular contributor for the popular Classics blog Sententiae Antiquae. Previously, he was a guest editor of Arte East Quarterly, a recipient of an experts fellowship from IASPIS, Stockholm, and a moderator in the talks program of Art Basel.

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