A Distant Face: Inside Beirut's Postcard City

Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The International Journal of the Humanities, 2008, 6 (6), pp. 1 - 10
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This paper focuses on the various semblances of the postcard in Beirut. It traces the path of the postcard in order to arrive at the paradox of its enduring colonial legacy. Taking Barthes notion of the photograph as `a certificate of presence, the paper explores the boundaries between photograph and postcard in representations of Beirut. It focuses on the exchange between the `postcard city and the city itself that takes place in the evolution of the postcard from black and white photograph (old postcards of Beirut) to iconic colour landscapes (classic tourist postcards) The text is staged as a set of postcards: the practice of writing is spatialised and the paper is inflected with the iconography and the vernacular of the postcard. By spatialising the textual and textualising the visual, the paper attempts to negotiate the boundaries between critical theory and cultural practice and to raise questions about representation, memory and history.
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