Ever since he was a teenager, Eliot Nasrallah has been dreading the conjecture of a last travel to the country of his origins. The political and economical instability of Lebanon frightens, for the goodbyes it predicts. His grand-father and his family have done it before, waving their hand, fear at the fingertips of a nation conceded to its destruction.
He knows the scarcity and evanescence through their stories, the inaccessibility of a place, the unspeakable powerlessness, the pain in their chest as they were narrated.
Between 2015 and 2019, Eliot has been photographing his moments spent in Beirut. Images are captured to extract fragments of reality, array of pebbles slipped into a memory box to not be forgotten, to keep them forever and beyond. Pieces, extracts, whole worlds. 2020, Beirut explodes before his eyes for the first time. The idea of a last travel is no longer one. Noises become silence. Then resonates a few word of N. Those of a fading memory, of a country, slowly silenced by illness.
The days following the blast, Eliot repeats this photographic act, fear at the fingertips of a statue carried away by time. Capturing as a mean to get closer to him, gently, in the remaining moments. Lebanon is out of reach, but N. is still here. The back and forth to his home accelerates. He knows it, the daily life they have left is fleeting. He carries within him the warmth, the smells, the colors, the sounds of the his country. The urge surges to breath his life and their union before he vanishes. La dernière visite narrates the close connection between N. and Lebanon.The seized images enable an enduring contemplation at the connection between these two monuments.
What is there to do when facing the impossibility to go back to a country? How could images prolong or rewire the access to a memory which, likewise, seems momentarily suspended?
The series of images from this project comes as a meeting point between two last visits: Lebanon’s growing state of confusion, and the memories of N. blurred by Alzheimer’s disease.
Confronting different images, the corpus intents to deploy a multitude of stories and interpretations regarding an imaginary come back to Beirut. In the core of this research, the apparatus intervenes as an actor, enabling to get closer together with capturing what seems to progressively become blurry.
La dernière visite offers various observations onto the fragility of an archive, both personal and collective. A research in which the fragments of memory tend to reveal the stories of their own disappearance…