YEAR ZERO: RECALL.RESET.RENEW

The product of interdisciplinary collaboration, the YEAR ZERO project comprises a dialogue between three thinkers – the artist, the mathematician and the philosopher – on the subjects of time, memory and the implications of the past for our present.

Originally the brainchild of Professor Dina Faour, Professor of Advertising at the American University in Dubai, YEAR ZERO presents artwork and installations that welcome the viewer to become a participant in a journey through memories of conflict, the solutions offered by such memories, and the very possibility of resetting to a ‘year zero’.

In tandem with creative works by AUD faculty Dr. Gerald Legé, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Sandra K. Alexander, Professor of Humanities, YEAR ZERO guides the participant through considerations of how such a ‘reset’ is possible and, if possible, what the ethical implications of such acts of remembering and resetting may be.

This is metaphorical journey through time and space that engages the visitor in the process of recalling the past, thinking about the possibilities of resetting our lives, and asking how might we renew, through remembering, our commitment to the present moment. 

How it all started.

 

 

 

In 2006, It was 1982, allover again.

 

It only took a few words for me to be transported back to my childhood years, 1982 in specific. Words I knew too well and tried too hard to forget.

 

Proximity, and the lack of it, did not seem to matter. In Australia, I was instantly back in Beirut, in our bathroom, hiding in the tub, listening to the same words and waiting for the bombing to stop. We had good reasons for why we hid in the bathroom. My baba said, the bathroom has the attic on top; This is 1 extra ceiling incase a bomb fell on the building. So all 4 of us would huddle in the bathroom, listen to the news and wait for the madness to stop.

 

Frankly, I had forgotten all about this, until I heard the news in 2006: Another attack on Lebanon. 3 words and the memories stormed back, leaving me shaken. You see, I had started my Year Zero in an attempt to move on. I didn’t realize how futile this attempt was, until 2006. Suddenly, I could recall detailed memories of the war, ever so clearly. I could even recall the birth of my Year Zero. in 1982.

 

In 1982, at the age of 7, I had solved the war, you see.

 

One night, in that tub, my dolls and I were listening to the radio and to the bombing outside. I heard a soldier crying on the news bulletin in grief for his partner, asking for the war to end. It hit me then. If he was crying and genuinely asking for the war to end, this meant we were not alone in these fragile moments.

 

This defined Moment Zero; a moment of absolute honesty, when emotions are so intense that priorities are suddenly clarified.

 

If we could capture such moments in each one of us and stop time right then, we would be able to intervene and erase all anxieties, hatred and negativity. We would preserve peaceful thoughts only. We would be able to reset time and launch a new start: Year Zero, where time is reset and life is renewed.

 

My work shares snapshots of my memory, interpreting words we regularly heard in the media and exchanged socially. The reality behind the typical happy family photos is recalled and revealed in interpretive photo-work, sharing stories of the past and revealing new meanings of these expressions, when context and memories are added to the mix.

 

As you go about my work, I hope you do take a pledge with me to begin your Year Zero.