Mayssa Kanaan is a designer/artist from Beirut. After graduating from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture and working at a design studio, she pursued an MA in Contemporary Art Practice to deepen her understanding in public sphere practices and theory.
Her distinction-awarded dissertation, “Notes on Activating an Archive”, looks into the different archival practices from Egypt to Palestine. Throughout her academic years, she participated in group shows, such as the female-led exhibition, Mal(e)feasance at the Ugly Duck, London, and is currently working on a range of collaborative projects, such as FIENDS and JAM (@jam_issues).
Following a research-based practice, Mayssa has been exploring different forms of archiving and publishing, as well as structures of display, by focusing not only on her work’s local agenda but also into wider contexts that expand its political engagement.
More recently, she has been working on a nomadic library which includes an eclectic collection ranging from newspapers to personal objects found in abandoned houses around Beirut, as well as audio recordings highlighting the importance of oral narratives. The work manifests itself in different physical and digital forms by experimenting with radio-like episodes and informal on-site installations.
The digital platform can be reached using this link.
The website is best supported on google chrome. It could take up to 3 minutes to load.
For tablets or mobile devices, be sure to flip to landscape mode.
City Library for Common Collections
City Library for Common Collections (CLCC) is a nomadic library holding collections of objects, images, newspapers and more, personally gathered from abandoned houses around Beirut or given by residents of old neighborhoods. The online platform urges people to go through its collections, visualize and listen to how old neighborhoods are growing, think of different ways of displaying eclectic archives and most importantly, share their objects and knowledge on existing ones. The library’s intent is not only to be part of a larger movement taking a step in getting to know our multiple histories, but also move forward from institutional archives.
For full access to the website, click on the link found in the 'statement' section above.
Walkthrough 01. Collections
Walkthrough 02. Collections
Each object is accompanied by a narrative about the house it was found in, its old inhabitants and/or the context of the neighborhood which all relate to the city’s social and cultural heritage.
To look through the collections, visit the website using the link found in the 'statement' section above.
Medium:Digital media with collected images and recordings.
Walkthrough 03. Sidewalk Radio
Walkthrough 04. Sidewalk Broadcast
The Sidewalk Broadcast, شاشة الرصيف , is a series of investigative videos showing 3D maps, collages and timelines. The episodes intend to highlight the process behind discovering abandoned houses and objects, while relating it to Beirut’s neighborhoods. The first episode, titled ‘Finding Fafi’, investigates the trail that led me to Fafi’s shop – a jewelry shop from the 70s in Geitaoui, Beirut.
To listen to the radio show and watch 'Finding Fafi', visit the website using the link found in the 'statement' section above.
Medium:Digital media with collected recordings and footage.
Walkthrough 05. Network Neighborhood
To share objects, visit the website using the link found in the 'statement' section above.
Manual 01. Main Structure
Manual 02. Large Trunk Add-On
Cart/Arabayeh is conceived as a place to explore growing and changing collections. As such, its design encourages user feedback and personal alterations in order to continuously explore different ways of sharing eclectic archives. Wholly made out of cardboard, the structure and its add-ons can easily be built by following the how-to guide and using tools widely found in most households.
To download the manuals, visit the website using the link found in the 'statement' section above.
Cart/Arabayeh is in collaboration with Ramzi Alieh, artist and architect based between Boston and Beirut.
Issue 03. Economies
Issue 03. Economies
Issue 03. Economies
The journal operates within a relatively tight, common public, yet simultaneously has the scope to go beyond. It is a fleeting object of intense, cooperative musings. The monthly issues explore divergent themes; from senses of futures and fictions, to the complexities of economies, to our collective understanding of nationhood and democracy. In this way, FIENDS becomes a material space of collective thoughts and common concern within CAP, and subsequently catalyses discussions in the pressing matters of publics, politics, identity and engagement that the group naturally share.
FIENDS is in collaboration with Jamie Steedman, Paola Estrella and Toby Tobias Kidd.