06_This chair is not taken
Students: Leyla Oz & Malak Al-Faraj
The Beirut Hippodrome fails as a public space. The fact that it is the only open green space of its scale in the city is not enough to justify its allocation as ‘public’. Its functionality as an arena for leisure, namely in the form of horse races and cultural festivals, has established and upheld its prominence as a public space. The hippodrome is inherently dictated through predetermined instructions of usage which inform the social and ritualistic interactions occurring within its walls. Its institutionalised, controlled, exclusive, and hierarchical nature is further manifested through the procession of bodies that participate in the integration of mechanisms of power, leisure, money and political influence onto the public realm.
Public space in Beirut exists on the street. The object, the plastic chair, occupies the street as an act of resistance, reclaiming the street as public space.
As a tool for dismantling power structures, the plastic chair exposes the dominant orders and regimes that are maintained within the Hippodrome. An object of resistance and reclamation on the street, becomes a symbol of class hierarchy and division in the Hippodrome.