Beirut Fillers: The Lebanese Language Turns Into An Art Installation

If you’re Lebanese, you definitely use words like euhhh, fa, halla2, enno among others while telling a story or having a conversation… it’s inevitable, right? These are just a few of the many fillers often used in the Lebanese dialect. Here we see these world fillers in in art form thanks to Tamara Barrage, a Lebanese designer and David Habchy, a Beirut-based visual artist.

The two collaborated to design Beirut Fillers, using language as material, the oral archive provides a fresh perspective on how Beirut city can be experienced, perceived and engaged with words often used as fillers in sentences. The two collaborated with digital fabrication and sounds materialization Dr. Raffi Tchakerian.

Here’s how the design describe Beirut Fillers…

[euhhh] In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word spoken in a conversation by one participant to signal to others a pause or a transition.

[halla2] In Beirut, in the specific context of our busy cosmopolitan urban lifestyles, we punctuate our conversations with fillers, sometimes to look for a word while switching languages, to sharpen a thought, or to react to daily stimuli.

As socially accepted buffer time, fillers play the role of sonic and oral translations of thought to speech. They materialize impressions, rather than meanings, into sounds. In this context, fillers are the manifestations of cultural and idiosyncratic oral patterns.

[enno] By extending the presence of fillers outside the space and time usually assigned to them, this project intends to magnify their echo to our ears, eyes and touch. The outcomes mould this oral archive into volumetric objects. On the one hand, through the editing of recorded conversations; on the other, by crafting tactile objects which texture is generated by the frequency and volume of their sounds.

[fa] The installation invites the audience to explore these words in a constructed sensorial environment.

The exhibition was part of the fourth edition, Dubai Design District (d3), Abwab which hosted a collection of design experiences drawn from five communities in the Middle East. The two Lebanese designers were invited from each place to collaborate and produce works situated in dedicated pavilions related to the theme: ‘Between the Lines’.

Comments are closed.