From Ghossein’s archive

Sound recordings his parents sent each other across 15 years of civil war and political instability are the basis of the installation by Lebanese artist Ahmad Ghossein at Kunsthall Oslo.

Ahmad Ghossein. Photo: Benedikte Rønsen.

Wednesday of last week it was Ahmad Ghossein’s turn to present his work at Kunsthall Oslo’s marathon exhibition Run, comrade, the old world is behind you. More than fifty hours of sound recordings his parents sent each other from 1978 to 1989 are the basis of the installation My father is still a communist: Intimate secrets to be published.

When he began to go through the recordings, he found they concerned not only his parents’ circumstances, but also the political and social situation in Lebanon through more than fifteen years of civil war and political instability.

In the video work his mother has the main role, while the collages in the exhibition play on his own memories of his father. “I wanted to believe that my father was a war hero, and in a way he was, but the stories grew larger and larger in my fantasy. In Lebanon an entire generation has grown up in the absence of a father,” Ghossein says. Along with the video and collages, Ghossein has also exhibited parts of the original archive of recordings with English transcriptions.

The video work was first shown at the Sharjah biennial this spring and can also currently be seen at the film exhibition Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now at MoMA in New York.