AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Beirut: a topos for Arab modernities

قلب المدينة017.jpg

توما، ن. وحلاوي، غ. (2007). قلب المدينة. بيروت: دار قنبز.

Comics by their very structure and construction, move away from the fixed gaze present in the classic centralized aesthetical perspective of a classical novel say, and demand from the viewer a different way of looking, a kind of loose and moving gaze. This gaze is not dissimilar to that of the urban "flaneur", thus reflecting an integral restlessness and layered way of looking, that is characteristic of the gaze of the modern individual in the modern urban metropolis.


Rima, B. (1995). Beyrouth. Bruxelles: Plan BEY.

In fact, a strong interaction or symbiosis exists between comics and the urban space as the embodiment as well as the center of modern culture and life in the 20th and 21st century, where what Roland Barthes has called the "mythologies" of our modern ordinary unfolds.

بيروت رياق012.jpg

بيروت-رياق، رحلة مصورة لمحطات السكة الحديدية – تحرير لينا غايبة – 2013

Comics can enrich our understanding of space: they often portray a space that is at the same time continuous, but punctured by memories, past layers of existence, stories that emerge from the past erupt or stick onto the present, like layers of paint which are hard to chip off: comics capture our quintessential non-sequential modern space, and the battered modern present of our modern way of life, and in this case, of our modern beloved and battered Beirut.


Abdelrazaq, L. (2015). Baddawi. Charlottesville, Virginia: Just World Books.

A space that is punctured, a space that is absent, yet ever present, just as in the longing of an exile: a space that is left behind, but that constantly shapes one's present and one's future, a space that is hated, yet pined for, and ever kept present through memory, longing and unfulfilled desire. Ten years can be recalled and recounted as if they were a second; the well-defined time of the exile's departure takes on cosmic dimensions, and becomes a space to inhabit, endlessly. Time and space layer themselves in a haphazard, subjective manner, away from a well-defined physical temporal duality or linear sequence.

i rememebr Beirut023.jpg

Abirached, Z., Gauvin, E., & Graphic Universe (Firm) . (2014). I remember Beirut.

38 rue022.jpg

Abirached, Z. (2006). 38, rue Youssef Semaani. Paris: Éditions Cambourakis.


Kerbaj, M. (2013). Lettre à la mère. Paris: l'Apocalypse.