Three Colourful Days – a photo reportage

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After months of anticipation, the day had come…
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… the participants arrived and gathered at the OIB for a cozy get-together, eating hot food…
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… before bracing the storm and making their way to Karantina…
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… where divercities kicked off on 12 December 2013…
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… with a rich programme.
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Fortunately not only the speakers had found their way to the Philka building…
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The first panel, “Claims and Agency”, started with an introduction by discussant Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj…
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… before Roman Stadnicki took the floor…
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… to talk about “The Emergence of Urban Activism in Cairo since the 2011 Revolution”.
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Next speaker Omar Nagati introduced “competing narratives inscribed on Cairo’s urban landscape”, and presented some of CLUSTER’s findings that have recently been published in “Archiving the City in Flux”.
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Hiba Bou Akar spoke about “Beirut’s Geographies of the ‘War Yet to Come'”.
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The discussion was lively…
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…people had questions…
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… and comments…
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…and questions and comments…
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… while some were immersed in fascinating literature.
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[no comment :-)]
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The panel continued, this time moderated by Mona Fawaz. Maryam Amiri spoke about “Tehran Urban Space under the Rationale of Sales Price”
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… and Nada Moumtaz about “Practices of Commoning: Public utility and religious interest in the waqfs of contemporary Beirut”.
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The talks stimulated more questions and comments…
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… and questions…
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… and comments…
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… and questions…
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… and comments.
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A deserved break led downstairs to a visitor from the Bus Cemetery who had been brought back to life.
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Captain Pop was waiting to greet the passengers and take them on an imaginary bus ride through Beirut…
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… protected by many.
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The afternoon panel discussion revolved around Beirut’s urban future, with Nadim Abu Rizk, Amira Solh, Omar Abi Azar and Vladimir Kurumilian, moderated by Rami Khouri.
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Despite the cold we hadn’t lost our audience.
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A heated discussion…
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… kept everybody warm…
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… and focused.
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The next day started with Dictaphone Group’s “This Sea is Mine”…
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… although the fishing boats had to remain in the port due to Storm “Alexa”.
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The talks continued in the afternoon at Zico House, starting with Nazanin Shahrokni’s “A Gender-Divided City? An inquiry into the spatial politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran”
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… followed by Mathew Gagné’s “Expanding Queer Spaces in Beirut: Mobile communications technologies and contestations to heteronormative space”
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… with the provocative discussant Robert Saliba.
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After a short break the session continued with Nahid Siamdoust’s “Tehran’s Soundscape and the Public Sphere”
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and Akram Rayess and Mazen Haidar’s “Pubic Sounds, Private Spaces: Towards a Fairouz Museum in Zoukak el-Blat”
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before the floor was opened to questions..
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and comments and questions…
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and questions and comments…
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… and comments and questions…
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… and questions…
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and comments.
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Dictaphone Group presented some of their projects at the end of the day, with Tania El Khoury
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Abir Saksouk-Sasso
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and Petra Serhal.
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After some more discussion…
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and more…
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and more…
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… it was time for dinner!
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Day 3 started with an introduction by Ghassan Maasri…
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… Lord of the Mansion…
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… the venue for the day.
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Anton Escher moderated the first two talks of the last panel “Open Air Spaces of Gathering: Norms and Practices”…
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with Lucie Ryzova talking about “Strolling in Enemy Territory: Contested spaces and spatial practices in Downtown Cairo, a historical analysis”…
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and Soraya Batmanghelichi on “Red Lights in the Park”.
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The critical audience…
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… again participated widely…
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with comments and questions…
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and questions and comments…
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and comments and questions.
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Rana ElNemr presented her image-based “Olympic Garden” project…
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…before a lavish lunch prepared with love by Food Heritage.
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The final session was moderated by Mona Harb…
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and despite the after-lunch hour we had a full house.
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Maïa Sinno started the panel with “The ‘Gulfization’ of the Cairo Downtown ‘Corniche’ Behind Differentiating Social Practices”…
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followed by Abir Saksouk-Sasso’s “Contesting National Authority in the Construction of Public Space: The making of communal spaces in Beirut”
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and the last talk “Rethinking Public Space in Beirut since the Ta’if Agreement: From the reconstruction-reconciliation discourse to ‘sphere-building'”, by Konstantin Kastrissianakis.
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There were more questions…
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and questions…
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as it got colder…
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and colder…
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and colder…
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… in fact, freezing!
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Anton Escher wrapped it all up.
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“Is it really all done?!”
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Goodbye and see you again!