From 1960 to 1966, a group of university students from Beirut’s Haigazian University designed and tested a series of rockets that would be capable of reaching beyond the earth’s atmosphere. This talk examines Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s film, The Lebanese Rocket Society (2012), an experimental documentary that sheds light on the largely forgotten history of Lebanon’s curtailed space program. Putting this project into dialogue with recent theorizations of science fiction and anachronic time, I show how The Lebanese Rocket Society uncovers a foreclosed future that turns out to be stranger and more utopian than any pure fiction that might be offered in its place.
Chad Elias is an Assistant Professor in the Art History Department at Dartmouth College. A graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program and Northwestern University, his writings have appeared in such journals as Artforum, Film Quarterly, photographies and Tate Papers. His book, Posthumous Images: Contemporary Art and Memory Politics in Post-civil War Lebanon, was published in 2018 by Duke University Press.
Organised by Professor Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art)