interviewed by Predrag Pajdic, February 2007

As I understand it, the current situation in Lebanon is very tense. What are your thoughts?

My thoughts are focused on my artistic practice or on whatever I am doing as long as I am able to carry on with it, in spite of the prevailing general tension.
I know the tension is very high and widespread, and I don't want to give way to it, because all the events of the recent months are to a certain extent a direct result of a tension that has been deliberately built up.

I try to be outside of the rhetoric of argument and counter-argument, and this is the kind of dialectics that is dominant in the situation we are in now.
Like many people here, I am tired of conflicts, conflicts that have occupied my thoughts and emotions for a long period of my life; conflicts in which I have no participation in making, perpetrating or alas, more often than not, in ending.
To be honest I dislike much of that's going on in this country and I've sort of dis-involved myself from it, because I was rather emotional in regards to anything that concerns Lebanon, so the feeling of being powerless in spite of a lot of efforts to participate in the dynamics of the place made me slowly and steadily withdraw. I feel that to have myself engage completely in the dynamics is a possibility but all my 'floaty' reflective side defends very firmly its position!

What strikes me most, despite this situation, is the very strong Lebanese art scene. It is certainly one that has already made a significant mark on the international art stage. While visiting last year I was overwhelmed with the amount of work produced recently, even under the most difficult circumstances. Is it because art is a way to avoid the tension as you say? Or is it something else?

It has been difficult for me to create in tense situations, especially recently.
In order to create the tension I seek in my art I need a certain degree of quietude.
It's true a lot has been produced in Lebanon under very difficult circumstances, it's not because it's a way to avoid tension, you don't have to expressly create energy for that purpose, if the energy is there it will be released whether there is tension or not, whether it's a very difficult situation or not.

Personally during the July '06 Israeli aggression on Lebanon (during which many artists sought to express themselves through their video work), after two days of much strain on my nerves I felt I needed to do something, just anything to position myself at a small distance from what was happening and still be in our reality, so I put myself behind my camera for a few days, it gave me an impetus but I was quick to put it aside and go through the situation without it. In fact it wasn't a means to avoid tension but rather a way to pass through it with less damage… yet I wasn't up to expressing myself there and then through it, or even telling or informing about what I was living.

What are your dreams, dreams for the future?

I sometimes loose them and when I look for them I realize they are still there but have been frozen somewhere. I've forgotten what they are but, all things said, I still have dreams that can be seen as naive! They resemble people's dreams everywhere in the world; dreams of using our energy in a constructive way, knowing this universe better as opposed to focusing on aggression etc.

However, these are wishes, not dreams. It's more difficult to dream than to wish, I suppose dreaming involves more investment than wishing. Based on the current situation in Lebanon, I'm having difficulties planning for the future, or at least imagining or projecting this country's future, nonetheless I still have dreams to be able in the near future to 'unfreeze' whatever dreams I've had in regards to it.