Ours is a noisy modernity, suffocating in the din of cars, ventilators, and subliminal vibrations, and as such silence is a vaunted commodity. Tony Chakar and his collaborator Nadim Mishlawi imagine how such a civilization looks from the outside. Their newly-commissioned audio installation inhabits Graz’s iconic Hotel Daniel, built in 1955 as a prototype of a maritime loggia hotel of the kind later spread through South-Eastern Europe in the 1960s, incongruously located on Graz’s busy Europaplatz. It tells the story of a person from the future who travels back to our time in pursuit of a promise made by certain hotels in the mountains of Lebanon, offering a retreat from the noise of the city and a place where people can live in harmony with nature, a “return to the village of sorts.” The person from the future lives in a world that is sonically radically different from our own, and so the incessant hum of machines everywhere seems impossible to escape. Chakar and Mishlawi amplify what we have stopped noticing and wonder whether there is a way to unlearn what we have been taught by modernity.
Tony Chakar in collaboration with Nadim Mishlawi
Tony Chakar (1968, Beirut) is an architect, writer, and artist. His transdisciplinary practice explores the intersection of political, mythological, and popular imaginaries that overlap on the surfaces of buildings and urban structures. Chakar lives in Beirut. His work for steirischer herbst is made in collaboration with Nadim Mishlawi (1980, Beirut). Mishlawi lives in Beirut.