Bordered by the Mediterranean sea and home to numerous rivers and groundwaters, Lebanon is considered a water-rich country in an overall arid region. This heritage has always been at the heart of strategical geopolitical struggles as well as corrupt local politics Immediately after the civil war, the coastline became the site of real estate speculations as illegal constructions started popping up. From an ecological standpoint, the water is heavily polluted from chemical spills, untreated sewages and the garbage that overflows from neighboring leaking landfills. The seashore is a tool of power and the government lets it deteriorate to justify its future privatization Through the study of two bodies of water, namely the Beirut river and The Lebanese Mediterranean sea, Tabet comments on the neoliberalist politics that transformed the Lebanese waterscape by mapping its microbiological content The river and eleven fragmented seas examines the water bed at its microscopic level using color film as a bacteria incubator where microorganisms collected from the water itself can grow and alter the chemistry of the medium. In The River, Tabet collects samples from multiple locations along the river, isolates them on agar plates, identifies 120mm film that acts as a mirror them then re-incubates them onto to the river’s microcosm Similarly, In Eleven Fragmented Seas, Tabet travels the lebanese from South to North, withdrawing a water sample every twenty km and inoculating it onto large format color film. A photographer and medical biologist, Lara Tabet crosses forensics bacteriology with landscape photography.
Bacteria on acetate | Scanned and printed on textile
Archival pigment print
Lara Tabet is a practicing medical doctor and visual artist based in Beirut. Her work has been featured throughout the Arab world, USA and Europe. Tabet received grants from AFAC and Mawred. She was the recipient of the Sursock Museum Prize and was awarded the Arte East fellowship. Her artistic practice is informed by her background in pathology and investigates the relationship between the individual and public/private space in connection to gender, sexuality, and identity.