Wonder Beirut is a multifaceted project based on the work of a fictional Lebanese photographer named Abdellah Farah that the artists created as a cinematographic character and who, at the end of the 1960s, produced images that they would use in the project several years later.
Between 1968 and 1969, Abdellah Farah was commissioned by the Lebanese State to take pictures to be edited as postcards. They represented the Beirut Central District, mainly the Lebanese Riviera and its luxury hotels, which contributed to form an idealized picture of Lebanon in the 1960s and 1079s. Those same postcards are still on sale nowadays, although most of the places they represent were destroyed during the armed conflicts or by the reconstruction.
Starting in autumn 1975, Abdallah systematically burned the negatives of these postcards, in accordance with the damage caused to the sites by shelling and street fights.
Abdallah photographed each image after each new burn he inflicted on it, producing a series of evolving images, which is called the " process ". Two types of processes are distinguished. The first, called the " historic process " follows the events very faithfully, for example the battle of the hotels that occurred between 1975 and 1976. The second derives from the impact that Abdallah inflicted willfully or accidentally to certain images; these are grouped under the name " plastic process".
Catalogue Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige / JRP RINGIER Edition, 2013