What t h e s t a t e o f m i n d is about

To Venice and Back… Again – Georges H. Rabbath from Sharjah Art Foundation on Vimeo.

March Meeting 2011

Ashkal Alwane 2012

l e t t e r f o r a n o t h e r

Dear Jad,

As I am writing these line I realize that others who would eventually read this letter would relate to the symbolic meaning to your first name.

As Akram’s ‘Letter’ is bound to represent this country at this year’s Venice Biennial, I cannot help but retrace the legacy that in my mind, might have contributed to making such a project come to light for Venice, now that the artist’s gallery marketing machine, and the Biennale’s media monster have always already alienated the artist’s work.

Next to such alienation, and hopefully working against it, is the overarching project of another artist that could have been launched back in 2004, by a letter nonetheless; one sent by both artists’ Gallerist to one Lebanese minister of Culture, and that itself became art in 2008.

{Walid Raad, “Appendix XVIII: Plates 16-18: A National Pavilion (2005)(Plate 16)”, 2008, 164 x 131,5 cm (framed), Archival Inkjet Prints}

In 2010, two other letters were sent to a makeshift committee trying to make it to Venice again, in 2011.

One letter signed by one; one of refusal to participate and urging said people to refuse the role they took upon themselves to fulfill; and one standing for acceptance, and urging for the people making the committee to accept their role, and offering within the letter the project to post letters on people’s doors. 

Looking back (to a discussion I had with the Artist, some months ago, before the announcement of his participation in Venice) and looking forward (to what can be done with a letter most probably dead on arrival, like a ‘lettre morte’ with opened in a place like Venice), and looking outside (as Joana Hadjithomas, who was the witness to the discussion with the artist, was going by the project space’s bay window), there is, in all evidence, room for future letters that will not have to be written by artists (an not to refusing people), but most definitely by people to refusing artists; artists who would refuse to go on being artists.

As I was asking Joana  «how come you end up exhibiting in Downtown Beirut after a movie such as your ‘Pink House’?» (and getting an answer along the lines: ‘one cannot keep fighting the same ennemy’; probably meaning ‘an enemy one cannot defeat’), in comes Akram, followed by Jalal  (a tale for another letter) and after some small talk, a question about participation in dOCUMENTA13 prompts a clear disapproval towards «parachuting people in Kaboul, and then flying them out again, as if they weren’t even there to begin with», and a growing desire to ‘give up on art’; a desire’s satisfaction that was to be put off to at least a year from then, as the artist quickly added, and was to be subsequently explained explained, since the artist had most definitely, already accepted Venice.

A decision to stop being an artist cannot be possible, or actual by the ‘artist’ himself as it would be taken by someone whose state is not of his own doing. This simply means that his undoing has to be by the hands of others. 

We should be those others. 

G. H. Beirut, May 2013

from G. H. Rabbath (Beirut & Venice)

Online Intervention in Creative Time’s Summit Venice, 2015


A Spectator’s Investigation

A Spectator's Investigation close up


On November 28, 6-9PM the exhibition ‘Art/World/Disaster’ will open, with a work by G.H. Rabbath in direct reference to Ai Weiwei’s ‘Citizen’s Investigation’ called ‘A Spectator’s Investigation’ and based on my ongoing project thestateofmind.be with which many of the ‘cultural workers’ in Beirut interacted or related to and subsequently became part of its ongoing narrative.

To quote Anton Vidokle: “It seems to me that art resides within and in between subjects” (2011, 2013). The posit is that art does more than reside, and is more of a resident program in one’s mind than just a simple idea as one would tend to think.

Here’s the Facebook event.


WalkSpace:Beirut-Venice in Photographs

Documentation of two derives which took place in Venice on the 2nd & 3rd June 2011 as part of the WalkSpace project.

WalkSpace: Beirut-Venice live feeds on Bambuser

WalkSpace 12pm Venice

The next WalkSpace takes place in Venice today the 3rd at 12pm starting from Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

Join us or follow us on latitude and twitter @allegora and bambuser broadcasting live at bambuser.com/channel/stateofmind


WalkSpace today 12pm

WalkSpace:Beirut-Venice is today starting 12pm from San Marco in Venice. All welcome meet in front of the cathedral follow us at @allegora on bambuser at bambuser.com/channel/stateofmind

WalkSpace:Beirut-Venice Live Broadcasts

During WalkSpace we will be broadcasting the event as it happens using Bambuser for video, Google latitude for locations and with geotagged tweets. We invite those not in Venice or Beirut to follow us virtually with the following services.

Latitude: We will be broadcasting out location in real time during the event using Google Latitude. To track the event first sign up for Latitude and send a request to share location to allegora.venice[AT]gmail.com, or alternatively email allegora.venice[AT]gmail.com and we will share our location with you. You do not need to share your location to follow us.

Bambuser: To view our live video feed simply visit bambuser.com/channel/stateofmind

Twitter: Follow us on twitter @allegora. We will tweet our progress and take instructions via direct message.

Home Is a Space Which Exists In my Head


My Childhood, my memories, my fears

Jamaica is my CATHOLICISM it reminds me of what class is all about- Division

Women keep the boundaries and men have the freedom to roam and move..

I want that reality…I want to be like a man…and have the freedom to caress any space I choose

Or I want to be mad so people don’t expect anything from me

The Bars of my window…..

Jamaica reminds me of grills and the constant prohibition of what you can and cannot do…because ladies just don’t do….and crime is right on the corner on the heel of your feet ..or so they say…and I wonder how do you live not knowing your neighbor…or having a look at the people around you…

Jamaica reminds me of God every time my Immaculate classmates write their faith as their line of reason…

And of my friends’ death Diane Smith and of loosing Georgia Nelson, two years ago, so young…and of my youth hanging out on the boats in Lime Key clumsily thinking I could be beautiful…


And then there is the guys, and the pervasive sexual energy in the air, where you wonder for one minute why can’t they talk to you without thinking that the bed is the next step

And what is the division between the dick and the vagina, and why it is such a space of difference

And it reminds me of my teasing them and taking them by the horns and playing with the bullshit as they fed me the line on equality for all—well yes then let us do a performative action if you are gamed..

HE chickened out and I think he thought that I was weirder than he had imagined…smiles…I had known this would be his response….


This is my heart- I left my heart in Ouidah…It is my soul- it is the core of what I believe life should be about- people, rythymn, spirituality and feeling

It is that red earth on the soles of my calves, and the hot breeze, and sounds that came sipping through the night calling me…it is those mellow songs I heard in the Vodoun couvent that night or LAMBERT when he touched ANDERS’ hand calling the twin and his happiness

In Benin- I lost my class, and became equal with the earth- it let me roam- it let me be free- and I was all alone—it made me confront myself and feel the reality of my humanity- and the wideness on what I could offer—

It filled me up for years——


It is my alienation—it is knowing that I am not like all the others but I have to fight just to be—-if I don’t I will corrode

It is my children, and their smiling and laughs that save me- they pull me into their worlds of play and I get lost—

It is ANDERS and his sound faith in me and his persistence and positivity that I admire

HE lights me up with all his imaginations and flight-in his mind I flow


West Africa is my sole- I don’t remember this type of happiness that I felt in JOAL it was exurberant and uplifting- nothing could bring me down

So what is my home it is just a space within my head, I enter it- and chose what compartments I want to look at during the day, it is a composite of many things that make me feel safe, close and warm…It is an imaginary field with lighted images in which to spring, a dive into my imagination and there are many homes of relief, beauty and pain…