Beirut Bodies in Public

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It’s not every day that you see young people walking the streets of Hamra, sketching on pieces of paper while following a woman pulling a cart on a bicycle.

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I wasn’t sure what to make of them until I stumbled upon their cart again set up at AUB this afternoon:

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The performance is called “Naked Wagon” and it’s part of a three day conference taking place at AUB called “Beirut: Bodies in Public”– featuring academics and artists from around the world looking at public performance in Beirut and elsewhere and the discourse that surrounds it.

Unfortunately, two days have already passed but there are still plenty of talks tomorrow and other related upcoming events, including an installation in Martyr’s Square and a picnic on the corniche. Check the schedule on their website here.

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Participants also get free passes for bike rentals in Beirut, located at the end of the booklet.

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For more about the Naked Wagon, which is encouraging public performance in the city, check their Facebook page here.

I think encouraging public performance in Beirut is a fantastic idea, especially because public performance has been banned in some parts of the city. A couple of years ago I documented a man who was aggressively harassed and then physically hauled off by members of both the Lebanese army and police just because he was singing out loud to a crowd in downtown Beirut.

Let’s hope efforts like Naked Wagon and other performances related to this conference help change attitudes.

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