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The Mantle

Hale Tenger, Beirut (still), 2005-2007

Video 3 mins 47 sec, Music by Sertar Ateser

The image in Hale Tenger’s video work “Beirut” (2005-2007) does not constitute an aesthetic experience as much as it construes the possibility of latency; something that can unexpectedly awake and haunt the viewer not immersively, but an extension of the world as the site of significance and significant.3 As the image moves—the sequence is not temporal but semantic—the poetic disclosure begins through staging a site of memory: Tenger filmed the windows of the once glamorous St. Georges Hotel in downtown Beirut, as it laid in wait for repairs still half-damaged from the war. The windows are wide open and a soft breeze blows into the curtains, creating almost synchronized wave-like motions. This idyllic scenario of glowing light does not attempt to tamper with the violent history of the site but contends with the difficulty of making violence a checkpoint for memory.

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