Issue 2: Feminisms

Public Directory, Beirut

Rheim Alkadhi

Let me show you how a city like Beirut adores hir autonomous regions. Let me tell you how a public directory longs to slip outside the relics of gender and into the sovereign margins. From nomenclatures, proportions, tissues, folds, and bends, we expound outward, from multiple points of interest. You are here. Points of interest follow:

The Kingdom

First, pass over the kingdom barefoot, burying your nose in the overgrowth, inhaling the smell of hair, skin, and membrane. Draw your breath past endless ruins of empire, linger there for lifetimes (condensed), and watch history crumble once and for all. Steal glances at the sea with wild eyes as you wait at the intersection of transoceanic currents. Then, cross over to watch the crown’s unseating.

Crown / Revolution

It might be long, drawn out, its breadth incalculable. It exists only to unseat the crown. It is deep velvet lavender, sharp like the prick of a dial, round as a convex clock face, inexact in its potential, but always infinite in electrical propensity. You must call it by name: revolution. Look at the diagram again: autonomous regions flank revolution. They surge like mounting vistas; sometimes they are weighted and descend like balls. To reach them from here, withdraw intermittently from the center.

Interior Ministry

Having passed through the areas above, you will no doubt be called to pay a visit to the interior ministry. It is formality, they will say, to secure the reproductive genital function. You will need to answer oppressive bureaucratic questions, but subvert their purposes by entering the ministry with the tip of your tongue, and then push two or three fingers over the threshold. Things will become simple and complicated at the same time, hinging on wit of words, feelings, and saliva.

“What is your purpose here?”
“Geography. Mobility. I adore you.”
“How long will you stay?”
“I will try this time for eternity.”

Theatre / Musical Interval

You are here. Try and stay this time for eternity. Or, at intermission, hop on public transport and head north along the coast. On your way back, revisit the part with the overgrowth, and arrive in time to perform the unseating of the crown yourself –to no uncertain applause. A musical interval burrows along the contours of your body. Don’t think to preserve its sentiment; when it’s over depart swiftly, and continue further on.

South / Anus

Travel south, and further south. You are here. Mouth declares cahoots with anus, they share an unspoken language, you know. You are beside yourself. Still, nod to the plastic arts of all sizes, colors, shapes, and nod to your finger training into the muscle tissue guarding the anal entrance. The muscle tissue will undoubtedly relax; you are south for pleasure, after all. House lights dim over splitting seconds until they are extinguished completely by reason of the day’s electricity cuts. Lick with your tongue the infrastructure from behind, in the direction of revolution.

Public Directory is a micro-performance comprising the act of opening a book to a particular page in public space. The project was originally developed on the streets of downtown Amman, where used books are pawned along the gritty arcades behind the Malek Hussein Mosque.