The Arab British Centre and Dongola Limited Editions are pleased to invite you to the UK book launch and photograph display of The Distance is Always Other, a collaborative photography artist book by British photographer Chris Coekin and Lebanese photographer Noel Nasr, with text in English and Arabic by Lebanese author and poet Fadi Tofeili. The book, published by Dongola Limited Editions, Beirut, and designed by renowned Iranian graphic designer Reza Abedini, is an artistic exploration, grounded in archival documentation, highlighting socio-geographical transformations in Lebanon over the past forty years.
Open for three days only, this free event showcases The Distance is Always Other publication alongside a selection of photographs of Lebanon from the present day and from the 1970s, in both two and ‘three-dimensions’.
Wednesday 5 December, 6:30pm-9pm: Launch Event (Free, drop in)
Thursday 6 December – Friday 7 December: Display Open 10:30am – 4:30pm (Free, drop in)
Thursday 6 December: Artists Talk with Chris Coekin and Noel Nasr 6-8pm (Free, Eventbrite RSVP essential)
About the Project
“In 1973, two American tourists, set out from the Phoenicia Hotel on the coast of Beirut, Lebanon, intent on reaching the famous ancient ruins of Baalbek, known colloquially as ‘the Sun City,’ in the northeast of the country. They photographed their journey using a stereo camera, a device that captures dual images simultaneously, then produces a single image which, when viewed through a stereoscope, appears luminous and three-dimensional.
The resulting photographs were set aside, a typical treatment of such vernacular ‘vacation’ photographs, dismissed as traces of everyday life, until put up for sale online. In 2016, Chris Coekin uncovered this online ‘archive,’ and embarked on a project that imbued the photographs with new meaning and value. In collaboration with Noel Nasr, they set out on an investigative journey to explore the historical narratives and layers of the archived images. Playing with the mechanisms of the stereo camera’s dual lenses, Coekin and Nasr used vintage analogue cameras, each photographer capturing an image of a space from the same vantage point, one taking the place of the left lens, and the other acting as the right lens. The two resulting photographs were then combined to create a single image.
Through their process of experimentation, the photographer duo exposes the instability within the Lebanese landscape. They provide crucial evidence of the social, demographic and architectural changes caused by the lengthy civil war and subsequent reconstruction, and examine the spatial changes within the Lebanese landscape over time, revealing underlying shifts in the country’s social fabric.” – Abed AlKadiri, Dongola Limited Editions