Silently Swallowed_ Installation_ Van Dyke Observatory_ American University of Beirut_ 2012_ 01_ 05

In a crowd of lights, it is hard to see,
what once stood still, sparkling alone, is now lost.
Undermined by a constellation of bulbs, light bulbs
O” tries hard, but its eyes crisscrossed,
can’t focus on the only light it was designed to meet.
It starts degenerating, drowning in a polluted sea of lights, of bulbs.
It needs a star to regenerate; a star, nothing else.
So there, metal planes start folding,
Carrying a message meant for the bulbs to read.
Paper cuts, cut through the bulbs, swallow the light out of its views.
Would the star dare appear again?
But the star still silent, dared never to appear again.

 Poem by Thea Hallak

2.0m x 2.0m x 0.6m . Full Scale. 2.0m x 4.0m x 4.0m

Reinforcement steel bars . 69 Light Bulbs . 200 Steel Planes

The Lee Observatory is the oldest astronomical observatory in the MiddleEast, established by Dr. Cornelius Van Dyke in 1873. 38m in altitude, and topped with an observation dome, the observatory stands today dysfunctional in the middle of the American University of Beirut campus.

Why did the observatory fall into disuse?
This question acted as a catalyst that 
sped up our conceptual thinking about this installation. The reason behind the dysfunctionality of the Observatory was light pollution, imprisoning it in an enclosure surrounded by illuminated urban space. Forming a field of thrown metal planes, the Observatory seeks revenge and attempts to damage the lights. 

Project Team_Ghaith Abi Ghanem, Jad Melki, Maya Saadeh, Rhea Hindi
Project Developed in Conceptual Studio_ FAAH 218_ Instructed by_ Cornelia Krafft

Photography_ Alia Haju