By Joseph Chahfé, May 2012
Wednesday May 9, 2012 Starting 6:00 pm
The bar code has become the icon that is most present in our world today. We see it everywhere, on merchandise, objects, and on whatever we use in our daily lives. It is there to identify each unique element. Even we, as individuals are identified with a bar code, as in our passport. We are all branded which allows the system to control our history of activities.
Through diverse communication media, the government and business organizations around the world accelerate consumption, a conspiracy where we have become the pawns of the game. Especially with advancing technology, our global economic system creates an addiction to consumption. An individual’s identity depends on the social and cultural environment, the family milieu, the surroundings, and the place where one is brought up. Furthermore, the identity evolves from personal experiences and social displacement. Civil identity (technical identification) is necessary in a civil order to manage our society as a group within the borders, in a geographical territory to limit and identify our space.
A civil identity such as a birth certificate or other, alone, cannot determine our social belonging. It is not our origins. Our identity stems from our memories through all their senses. We are our memories, but our native land is not what defines us. We are made out of all the lands we have inhabited, all those which have filled our senses. Each one of them is a fragment of our essence. They make each one of us unique. The fragmented mirror bar code is a self-reflection of our fragmented identity. The physical confrontation of the viewers facing a bar code reflects their image and standardizes a commercial imposed political identity. They can either assimilate or ask questions, reflect or do their own social investigation. It is our destiny as humans to be constantly confronted with mystery, the unknown, the necessity of reinventing ourselves.
Born in Lebanon in 1959 and received a Bachelor Degree in Plastic Art in 1989 from the University of Quebec in Montreal. He currently resides and works in Canada. His numerous collective exhibitions with Galerie Janine Rubeiz have included Europ´Art (Geneva 1999); Art Paris, Carousel du Louvre (1999) and Star´t 2001 (Strasboug – France), ” Visages Francophones ” in Cahors (France 2002) and The Gallery in Cork Street (London 2004). In April 2010, he participated in the exhibition “Convergence – New Art from Lebanon”, at the Katzen Art Center at American University in Washington DC. He has widely exhibited in Lebanon, mainly at Janine Rubeiz Gallery since 1997 and abroad in Canada and in Colombia.
(information and pictures kindly provided by Galerie Janine Rubeiz)