Deviations, an Atlas of Beirut

Project and publication

2012, Beirut

Pub. PlanBEY

In Beirut addresses do not really exist, and maps are not used at all. The common means of orientation are the descriptions of itineraries and surrounding landmarks.

Beirut’s mental maps reflect the collective perception of the urban space, its invisible but yet present social/geographical boundaries, its unwritten rules, the ongoing transformations of the urbanscape – including disappeared landmarks.

‘Take a left in forbidden direction at the TV station that was burnt during the war.’
Deviations, an atlas of Beirut is the result of systematic walks across the whole city, from quarter to quarter. Lupo recorded the directions given over the phone by inhabitants describing the exact location to her colleague, who ‘will pick me up as I am lost’ - she was pretending.

She photographed them while giving the directions, drawing invisible mental maps in the air. These reports became an ‘atlas’ documenting the local perception of the topography, a polyphony surrounding the impossibility of mapping Beirut.