A DIZZYING ARRAY OF COMBINATIONS
Commissioned by BEIRUT ART CENTER
Baris Dogrusöz has been encoding specific types of architecture into a visual lexicon since 2015, the year he arrived in Beirut. The artist has collected an
inventory of military artifacts called pillboxes*, which are concrete guard- posts that are observable around all sensitive institutional, military and private buildings alongside roads, bridge, borders and contested territories. These structures are often camouflaged to conceal their locations and to maximize the element of surprise.
They may be part of a trench system and form an interlocking line of defense.
Observing the ubiquity of these artifacts, the artist has undertaken a process of indexing the loopholes as if they were extropic masks", in other words, optical devices that remain open, never to be closed, and that strictly obey military logic. Whether in Lebanon, Syria, or Palestine the loopholes incarnate the physical representation of a territorial limit or the presence of a volatile force in control.
Beneath Crowded Skies explores the relationship between graffiti culture and the ongoing armed operations in the land of ‘The Fortress’. The archeological reports show how the residents of this ancient city purposefully left marks to
be recuperated by future generations; however, excavations also reveal other findings. The fluctuation of long-term and temporary residents of Dura-Europos,
the comings and goings of invaders, looters and armed militias, also resulted in inscriptions on the walls of private homes, temples, and religious places. Every individual who either helped to enrich or destroy this ancient land scratched their intimate thoughts or their political and social concerns onto the walls. By exposing and layering this multitude of voices, Doğrusöz intertwines the history and the present, and further locates visual traces as a site of political strategizing and disobedience.