04_Four Modes of Souseveillance

Students: Mrugaja karandikar, Siddhi Chowgule & Ivy Bautista

Beirut, a city with a history of devastation by war and conflict for many years, thousands of other “green lines” have emerged. The city passively holds many margins along with the elastic tensions, clandestine to those external to it. Their memories expose the contestation for territory, power, and political monopoly, raising questions about its effects on their “identity,” while bringing to foreground the critical role that the constructed categorizations of “us” and “’ them,” “past” and “present,” history and atmosphere play, in the struggle to assimilate coexistence.

At the center of this lies the Burj-al-Murr, a tower abandoned along with its memories, whose complexities of relationships have been deserted through time. The tower exercises its power with the quality of panopticism and its subterranean depth, giving an expanse to view the obnubilate living city and the buried past one. It straddles the dynamics and tensions that the city is verbalizing with an understanding of its assemblage of spatial languages; it capacitates us to read what cannot be visually perceived in plain sight, following our ocular perceivers along the strings of the ventriloquists that hang up the gestures of daily existence.

Through exploring the spatial practitioners Counterspace, their methodologies aiming to highlight contemporary spatial narratives through architectural design tools, we have juxtaposed the real, seen, and hidden stories by uncovering the embodied memories as well as their transition through the ambiguous explorations in Burj al Murr, which can neither speak of reality nor unreality.


The scenes explore the translation of the perceptions in the spatial settings of Burj al Murr. The narratives of these perceptions are Burj-al-Murr's identity and its surroundings, where the interventions are the 'script' that aid access to these hidden episodes that lies beneath its visual context. The interventions in these systems intervene beyond shaping the physical building. They depict the transformation of the background of encounters and the transience that define memories and identities as the foreground to reveal the notion of presence and self-awareness as evidence of the passage of time.


The public space intervention stands at a place where death was pertinent, possessing a platform to assemble people, introducing an additive approach that would lead to a more preponderant benefit out of the minimum intervention by suggesting the concept of interactivity in public spaces and regeneration of identities while bringing transparency to the entire case. The possibility of human connection is presented in the physicality of intervention triggering people's minds to regenerate their identities.

The two-way surveillance demonstrated through the interventions unfolds the spatial hierarchy, exposing the past political monopolies while addressing the dialectics in conservation itself. They demonstrate what is involved in contextualizing and translating several obnubilate realities while acting as a matrix to foster spontaneous events in Burj's surrounding areas alongside the memories, not only from a historical perspective but also with the informal perspective of the past, present, and future inhabitants.

The streets depict spatial manifestation of the relationship between people and power that result from the stratification of consecutive political visions. The effective interventions and revealed layers engender the premises for an incipient practice of democracy, one interwoven with everyday life, providing an intense streetscape that awakens the potential for activities to shape the surroundings that will unburden the restrictions.

The interventions provide potency to expose views of the structure. They respond to the critique of the Burj being extravagantly closed off and offer implements for exposing the structure in a socially valuable way to its citizens while looking at the social and technological factors to enhance the tower's value with an accentuation on the experience of the space.

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