The politics of ruin

An interdisciplinary study day featuring lectures by Camille Ammoun, Gregory Buchakjian, Shereen Doummar and Edouard Souhaid, as well as film screenings by Joyce Joumaa and Didier Faustino. The day will be moderated by Daniel Meier, researcher at the Pacte laboratory (CNRS) and lecturer at Sciences Po Grenoble.

Saturday, June 10

The aim of this interdisciplinary day is to show how ruins can be a vehicle for artistic, architectural, urban and sociological discourse. The idea is not to consider the ruin solely as an element of nostalgia, but as an element producing a discourse on the present and the future, in the image of the exhibition’s scenography. In order to offer the public a multi-disciplinary vision of the notion of ruin, a number of speakers from different fields will take part in the day-long event.

The study day is moderated by Daniel Meier, researcher at the Pacte laboratory (CNRS) and lecturer at Sciences Po Grenoble.

You can take part in one of the lectures or the whole program.

Booking Download the program


"From resilience to subsidence" – Lectures

By Camille Ammoun, writer and political scientist, International House of Writers in Beirut

“Subsidence (sub-si-dan-s’) s.f. Geological term. Action of descending below the level; subsidence.” Dictionary of the French language, Émile Littré.

In French

"L’inertie du vide" – Projection

The film “L’inertie du vide” is an experimental documentary that examines the political and cultural forces at work on the site of the International Fair, designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1962, in the city of Tripoli, Lebanon. Produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture © CCA.
For more information, visit

Projection in English with French subtitles

"Mutable Cycles" – Lecture

By Joyce Jouma, artist, winner of the 2021-2022 Emerging Curator Residency Program at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCC)

In this presentation, Joyce will expand on her documentary film produced by the CCA, To remain in the no longer where she provides an in depth study on the precarious state of the concrete structures that belong to the Oscar Niemeyer unfinished fairground in Tripoli. Interested in drawing parallels between the site in crisis and the current economic crisis, Joumaa invites us to situate this fairground within the larger and ongoing socio-political context of Tripoli while thinking about how architecture stands in flux within these landscapes.

In English

"Architecture of the Territory : Constructing National Narrative in the Arab World" – Lecture

By Shereen Doummar et Edouard Souhaid, members of Collective for Architecture, Beirut

Architecture of the Territory examines the role that national narratives have in defining the Arab world through the use of architecture and urban planning. This territory, almost twice the size of the United States and home to 423,000,000 inhabitants, lacks sufficient and accessible research. In order to advance knowledge and critical thinking, this publication uncovers some of the mechanisms and narratives that have shaped the territory and its society. The selected essays, written by researchers and professionals, are the beginning of a dialogue, touching on themes such as agricultural strategies, imported housing typologies, the issues inherited from colonial borders, and the effect of politics on infrastructure projects and cultural heritage. While these critical contributions draw on local histories and context, they also run in parallel and contribute to the discourse on current global issues.

Langue de la conférence : EN
Questions : FR

"Inhabiting the debris among the ghosts" – Lecture

By Gregory Buchakjian, Director of the School of Visual Arts, Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, University of Balamand

“Why did you choose the abandoned houses?”; “I didn’t choose them. They chose me”. This dialogue, which opens the doctoral thesis on Beirut’s abandoned habitats, goes beyond the obsessive presence of ruins in the city to express the Sisyphean character of life in this territory, where everything is perpetually being built and decaying.

In French

Canary in a coal mine (2023) – Projection

By Didier Faustino, artist-architect, Mésarchitecture Paris-Lisbonne

Projection Canary in a coal mine (2023)
Lecture Exploring Dead Buildings – Ruins of the Future

Canary in a coal mine is part of the Exploring Dead Buildings series, a project combining artwork, performance and film around the exploration of a stillborn building, symbol of a social, political and economic utopia… After the building designed for the Ministry of Highways by George Chakhava in Tbilissi (Georgia) in 2010, and Vittorio Garatti’s ballet school in Havana (Cuba) in 2015, Didier Fiúza Faustino created this third opus in Beirut, in Khalil Khoury’s Interdesign building for his eponymous company. It follows a man wearing a strange cage, wandering in the company of a canary, scouting the remains of a finite world and another to come, where humans and non-humans cohabit and collaborate.”

In French