A tale of trash mountains, garbage rivers and migratory birds

dinner performance with Sandra Teitge
commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 13, Beirut

A tale of trash mountains, garbage rivers and mirgratory birds is part of a series of site specific dinner performances focusing on municipal waste managment. Bringing together experts and a general audience over dinner to engage in a debate moderated by a female tv-anchor.

Link to video:

In the framework of the ongoing garbage crisis in Lebanon, a crisis that can be read as a potent symbol of the country’s often dysfunctional infrastructure and sectarian politics, Franziska Pierwoss and Sandra Teitge organize a dinner performance that addresses the multiple layers of this situation.
Continuing the investigation into global structures of waste management that started in Mexico City in the spring of 2017, the dinner in Beirut equally invites members of the public and experts on this matter to converse over a menu specifically conceived for the context. During this culinary and discursive evening, questions of private and public responsibility, informal and formal economies, as well as associated phenomena such as international waste trade regulations along with affiliated violations will be raised and explored.

Franziska Pierwoss and Sandra Teitge personally locate and meet the so-called experts in preparation for these dinners and share the information gathered through these interviews and research during a workshop prior to the dinner with participants who then attend the meal as 'specially informed' public. Foutoun Raad a local female TV journalist known for her in depth reporting during the 2015 garbage crisis led the evening and challenged the guests with informed and pressing questions.In Beirut, due to the relevance of the topic discussions at the tables during the evening were intense and controversial, especially when (previously unannounced) a local TV station started recording the event for national broadcast.
In the months leading up to the performance Teitge and Pierwoss were meeting experts in the field of waste managment such as experts of the American University, local municipalities, ministry of environment, council for development and reconstruction, environmental NGOs, social entrepreneurs, investigative journalists, activists, lawyers, engineers and visited facilities treating waste in Saida, Beit Mery and Beirut. 

The menu in collaboration with local chef Joanna Debbas is reflecting on the waste crisis by serving highly polluted local produce. The traditional fish dish siyadiye is prepared with local fish which is loaded with mercury as a result of the ongoing waste crisis.
photography: Marwan Tahtah, Sandra Teitge