interviewed by Predrag Pajdic, February 2007

How do you identify yourself?

I know what I am not; and what I am is always under construction.
I am not a liar, I am not a teacher, I am not a business man, I am not a talented football player, I am not a politician, I am not a lawyer, I am not a computer, I am not a system, I am not an airplane, I am not a bullet. Whatever I am is an attempt to become and not to be.

Well, but I also know that you are an artist, filmmaker/director and an academic. You've also completed your PhD in Switzerland last summer and studied with Slavoj Zizek, among others. I probably wouldn't be wrong if I say you are a Lebanese cultural Superman. How do you manage all this? What is your secret?

We manage to live in this part of the world, and this by itself is an art. The secret lies in the way you look at it and on the other hand, the way we look at Superman. Definitions have different meanings depending how close or how far you are from the center, from the police, and from freedom. We try to live, as artistic as we can afford and/or as artistic as it can get. The secret lies in the question, the answer is just an opinion.

If you have to describe Lebanon to someone who has never been there, what would you say?

…the moment you arrive, I will show you what is not Lebanon. And if you decide not to arrive, Lebanon will remain as it has been viewed, a place of all and no possibilities. Only when you are here, can I show you; and thus we can feel. Lebanon, under all circumstances, must be felt more than anything else, for maybe there is nothing specific to show or tell about.

You just completed the films 'You Can Come In', 2007. What is the film about?

The film is an invitation to share with those who lost their homes, due to Israel's failed invasion of south Lebanon in July 2006, the concept of owning, living in and describing the home. It is an attempt to come into the details of those who lost their homes and show what it means to talk about and describe your home, or the ruins of it.

You Can Come In
, 27 min, 2007, video still
Courtesy of the artist

Before the war, walking into people's houses was a norm. During war it became a necessity.