interviewed by Predrag Pajdic, February 2007

When we met recently in Beirut, you told me that your work is about a 'one shot idea'. Could you explain?

This is the only way I know how to shoot a video: find one idea, and make just one shot to translate it. One on one.   

You also work with photography. Do you have the same approach?

Perhaps this 'one on one' method also works with photography, as I try to get rid of all the additives and leave the subject that I want to photograph alone in the middle of nothing.

What strikes me most about your work is that you are dealing with almost taboo issues in Lebanese Society. Your latest project 'Lata' is about foreign servants in Lebanon during the last war with Israel. Please tell me more about it?

When the disaster is doubled, the un-human become more un-human.  This was the situation of the foreign servants in Lebanon during the last war. How can you treat racism, during a devastating war?  

Who is Lata? What is her story?

During this last war, the people who had a foreign identity card were evacuated from Lebanon. A lot of them fled the country through evacuation. Poor people, mainly servants coming from poor countries such as Sri Lanka, found themselves stuck. Some of them fled the houses where they worked, and gathered near their embassies. Lata decided to stay. She used to gather with some of her friends on our balcony. Our balcony, my studio, where I made the photos 'Products of War'.

You are referring to the work depicting products that are related to a daily life under the war situation, like tined tuna fish. But what makes it even more appealing is that you also captured images of Israel's soldiers’ 'war food' like a vegetarian spread. Why did you put those two together?

To complete the cycle of war. My father rejected the idea that war had restarted in Lebanon, until the day when he arrived home with a transparent bag of tuna cans.  As if he was declaring: War has started.

, from the Products of War, series, colour photograph, 50x70cm, Saida, Lebanon, July 2006,
Courtesy of the artist

The day war ended, I went to Ayta El Chaab, where two soldiers had been kidnapped. The Israeli soldiers had invaded the village and stayed in some houses there. In one of the occupied houses, I found an Israeli food can: Vegetarian Spread. War had ended.

What is the situation like now in Lebanon?

(No answer)