chapter  7
12 Pages

Cultural Infrastructure for the Margins: A Machinic Approach to Nahr Beirut

ByLee Frederix

In broadening the definition of infrastructure to include social and cultural networks within the city, this chapter1 takes inspiration from recent Western models of landscape analysis in addressing a case study of the marginal territories of contemporary Beirut. Attempting to investigate both socio-economic and spatial aspects of marginality, the work conceptualizes the Nahr Beirut [Beirut River], not as an environmental entity, but as an edge condition and as the potential site for operational strategies in the development of a cultural infrastructure. The work posits that the countercultural contingent of Beirut’s art community, by definition relegated to the social margins, could be accommodated within the physical margins of the city and that a cultural infrastructure, an active network catalyzing the rehabilitation of the city’s derelict peripheral spaces, could help to revitalize the role of art in contemporary Beirut.