Visite #3

2023, UHD video, stereo, 54 minutes
A small river flows from a stalactite cave in the mountains north of the city of Beirut in Lebanon. This rivulet, in the middle of a mountain range, has been an important landmark in the country’s turbulent history – a barrier that, once crossed, virtually signified the conquest of the land. Each of the conquerors over the past 3,500 years or so left a stone tablet on a hill here to mark their invasion.
At a busy crossroads, as if it were yesterday, Napoleon III marks his successful military intervention. Climbing up a flight of steps, one passes the stone tablets of Ramses II and the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
A multi-lane coastal motorway, linking the cities of Beirut and Tripoli, now passes this place as a matter of course. As is the case in most landscapes, sooner or later remote-controlled mini-drones can be observed to appear out of nowhere and take on an increasingly menacing presence.
The particular spot is presented as a monument representing both pride and the fear of war in a troubled country. This video does not explain all of this; but on the contrary, it slowly introduces a panorama in several sections, each in the form of a twisted figure eight.
In the soundtrack of the video, the live street traffic of the location generates percussive sounds, triggered by volume and pitch. These are complemented by polyphonic and overtone-rich buzzes, which in places swell into distinct ‘drones’. These sounds have been processed using techniques familiar from musique concrète. Only in brief moments do they reveal their origins in real stringed instruments. All elements are arranged in long repeated intervals that vary until the end.