In the framework of the International Museum Day organized by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the National Museum of Beirut presents the launch of Mathaf Mathaf | Chou Hayda, a commission by the Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA) , at its premises on May 18, 2018.
Mathaf Mathaf | Chou Hayda is an audio guide project by contemporary artist Annabel Daou. It was commissioned by BeMA – spearheaded by the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL) – in collaboration with Temporary . Art . Platform (TAP) with the partnership of the Ministry of Culture / Directorate General of Antiquities and the National Museum of Beirut.
Mathaf Mathaf is a project that falls in line with BeMA’s objectives to make art accessible to all in the framework of its outreach mission. The different programs set by BeMA aim to implicate diverse communities and do not solely target the regular museum-goers, in order to raise awareness of the importance of museum culture and modern and contemporary art, in conversation with an existing national archeological museum.
Chou Hayda, an audio guide by Annabel Daou
Launch Date: May 18, 2018
Available online and at the National Museum of Beirut until December 30, 2018
In November 2017, several groups of people took part in accompanied visits to the National Museum with contemporary artist Annabel Daou during which they were asked a series of questions, prompting them to reimagine the histories and purposes of objects in the collection.
This collaboration captures language from the various participants’ responses and reworks them into a script that has been partly recorded by professional actors, Julia Kassar and Georges Khabbaz, whose performed voices enable the institutional authority in the audio guide, while the smart, funny, and wildly historically inaccurate responses of the participants subvert it.
The stories, images, and recordings will be available on a dedicated website; accessible to all, and even downloadable on a smartphone or tablet, so that anyone can use the audio guide and take a tour of the museum’s objects, from the viewpoint of people just like them.
Chou Hayda is a culled experience of the present moment at the museum, facing these archeological objects with a contemporary view, bringing them into our lives now, and leaving a piece of our lives within their story.
The project explores the ways in which the art object and artefact is imbued with social, political, moral, and personal meaning as it is received across time and within shifting cultural contexts. It also playfully challenges the authority of official history; inviting imagination, speculation, and misunderstanding.
Chou Hayda positioned the museum as a space that includes not only the voices of the artists, artisans, curators and historians but of the visitors who view and experience the collection in the present. By doing so, it tired to activate a practice of museum culture by having a contemporary artist invite people to enter the National Museum and highlights the importance of contemporary discourse and practice to complement the types of collections accessible.
For International Museum Day 2018, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has chosen the theme “Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics.”
The objective of the International Museum Day is to provide a platform for museums around the world to engage with their publics and highlight the importance of the role that museums play in society.
Museums are an inherent part of the communities in which they are set; whether in the cultural landscapes, their geographies, their social and economical contexts, or their natural environment; and it has become integral to understand the depth of the connections that they make. By reaching out to new publics and giving them authority in the voice they give to the objects, the role of the viewer and the expert has shifted, allowing for a new approach at looking at the archeological artefact.
Curator: Amanda Abi Khalil
Assistant: Nour Osseiran
Artist: Annabel Daou
Sound Design: Nadim Mechlaoui, DB Studios
Visual Design: Eena Daou
Graphic Design: Raafat Majzoub
Media Relations: Soapbox
Videographer: Lea Cremona
With the voices of: Georges Khabbaz, Julia Kassar, and the people of Beirut