The postcard, though long outdated as a form of efficient long-distance communication, persists as a souvenir or travel memento acquired at landmarks, museum, and edifices of high symbolic value. After a site is visited, the postcard remains at hand for easy photographic recall. Inversely, an architectural rendering precedes the physical edifice and its existence is teleologically justified in the construction of that edifice.
A combination of the two is one of peculiar temporality: the past future in the rendering becomes a stand-in for the simple past of photography. A viewer may remember a future.
The project visualizes, in the form of a postcard rendering, remixed permutations of two landmark herein described as extra-state: Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark and the Aishti Foundation. In both projects, museum/curatorial experiences are integrated within larger complexes containing other activities: war memorial at Mleeta and high-end mall at Aishti. The extra-state descriptor is applied to the Mleeta Landmark due to its status as an artefact belonging to a political party that engages in organized activities with political ambitions that are not merely state-centric, and go beyond gaining power within the state structures such as parliament. These activities include the establishment of welfare programs and health institutions that act complementarily if not as full replacement to those of the state. In the case of the Aïshti Foundation, what can be said of it also applies to the general Foundation typology, which has been cast as a viable heterodox replacement to the national-museum model in situations of starved public funding. The reasoning behind a high-end corporation’s establishing of a Foundation runs the spectrum from elevating public image via association with artistic and cultural production, to legal tax-breaks resulting from the establishment of a legally philanthropic organization, to purported tax-evasion schemes.
An analogy is drawn between the border conditions of the two buildings and their respective sitings on the physical and metaphorical limits of the nation-state. The Mleeta Landmark is located on a former frontline separating Israeli-occupied territory from sovereign Lebanese land. This choice of location questions the role of the Lebanese state and its army in constructing its own border and asserts the Hezbollah’s contribution to the bordering process. Similarly, the foundation is also located on an edge: the coastline. This fact is lettered in neon on the building façade in a hedonistic declaration of belonging: “You belong by the sea.” This phrase and the seaside qualities of the venue and its associated mall and restaurant are frequently re-iterated in advertising visuals, conjuring images of a maritime cosmopolitanism and the concomitant lifestyle of luxury and high culture. Where Hezbollah ideology breaks out of the nation state and into enclaves of autonomy, Aïshti aesthetics and identity seek to break out onto a frictionless corporate internationalism.