Monumental installation, A Monument for the Living is the exact replica of the Burj Al Murr tower in Beirut. Started a little before the beginning of the Lebanese civil war, the construction of this thirty-four floors building with seven basement floors and five hundred and ten windows has remained unfinished since 1975. During the conflict which stirred the Lebanese capital, this building that was originally meant to host a shopping mall and offices became a war building. Its strategic position with access to the city centre, together with its height, constitutes an undeniable asset for the armed militia who decided to occupy it. They used the upper floors as a shooting zone and the basement as a prison to keep hostages.
Although most of Beirut city centre was destroyed during the war or razed to the ground during post-war rebuilding, Burj Al Murr still dominates the city. Ten years after the cease fire, structural dysfunctions have been found in the reinforced concrete tower. It is thus impossible for the building to be converted, neither is it eligible for a demolition program. Located outside the building sites managed by the Solidere company (in charge of rebuilding the city centre), the unfinished tower remains indestructible. From this terrible memorial of war which reminds the inhabitants of Beirut of the horror of the confrontations, Marwan Rechmaoui has created a monumental work highlighting the persistence of this sad vestige within the urban development of the Lebanese capital.
Translated by Valérie Vivancos