A Beautiful Idea



This is an idea that artist Edwin Gardner has about filling all of Beirut’s bullet holes with lights. He explains:

‘All across Beirut you can find walls covered with bullets holes. Reminders of past violence, conflict and war. Moving through the city they are an all too familiar backdrop for any urban scene. This proposal that I called ‘bullet lights’ is reversing the meaning and experience of the ‘bullet hole wallpaper’ at diverse locations in the city. Introducing unexpected poetic moments of beauty. Beauty, ambivalently mixed with the physical testimonies of violence. The project doesn’t want to make a point it just invites people to look at things differently. Seeing things from more than one perspective is the starting point for empathy.’

I think it’s beautiful because it’s tragic and hopeful at the same time. And also that I can read my own meanings into it; like that that the light seems stronger than the bullet holes, which makes me think that the human spirit is strong enough to survive through any war time horror, and shine through the bullet holes long after the war has ended. It tells me: Bullets kill humans, but won’t kill humanity.

I also think it is great because it generates discussions. Not everyone is fond of remembering wartime in this beautiful way… Take a look at its post and comments on the blog UNBUILT. Here’s a part of a comment I fell for, because it talks about how you never feel closer to the human spirit then when you are in a place used to war (which I’ve felt myself in Israel):

‘[…]let me describe the picture i saw and felt: bombed houses, half of the wall missing, somebody fixed it with some concrete, but there is something strange in the picture, there are some flowers, in the window, you can see small children running, and laughing around the building, some lovely music coming from the radio set, an older man spots a couple of us staring in front of his house, comes up to us with a big smile, and let us in his home, four of us, total strangers, i have never felt something so human…’




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