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It takes balls to try to make an exhibition out of Baalbeck. How do you paraphrase a location that's hosted 10,000 years of more-or-less continuous human habitation and the centuries of labor, commerce and superstition that sustained them, one that's been appropriated by various imperialist narratives (from sometime before the Roman empire to sometime after the nation state), inspiring mounds of cultural production and exhibition (from the sacred architecture that helped legitimize Roman conquest, through Europe's Orientalist fantasies and the various strains of archaeological and historical knowledge instrumentalized by imperial Europe, the Ottomans and the Lebanese republic, to the tourist industries that help service the whimsies of globalization)?The first gallery is dedicated to the 10,000 years of human habitation, commencing in A.D. 9,000, summarized by a timeline running across three of the room's four walls, the mass of text sometimes accompanied by a photo or sketch of a significant object.It's in this sector of "Eternity" that visitors will find a gallery dedicated to the Baalbeck International Festival and its long history of cultural exhibition.Then, finally, "Eternity" shows the human face of contemporary Baalbeck in the form of seven video testimonials from individuals and couples from various sectors of the town's demographic.Many will find "Eternity" incomplete, but what exhibition isn't.
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