Relaying Memory through a Generated Environment

A Critical Recreation of Prisoners’ Sense-Perceptions in Khiam Detention Centre


  • Ahmad Beydoun Independent




Khiam Detention Centre (KDC), a detention camp established by Israel in South Lebanon in 1985, is currently under heavy political interference that aims to manipulate and monopolise the writing of its burdened history. The preservation of memory of events that took place in this prison needs to be urgently addressed in the face of multiple attempts of its erasure and biased revisions. This study surveys three types of media sources that contain the memory of KDC: 1) interviews conducted with former prisoners; 2) the data-archives of a radio programme called Nahnu Bikhayr Taminuna Ankom(We are alive, tell us if you are) and 3) the built environment mapped with a sonic device. The extracted memories are then transcluded to a generated environment that virtually relays the mnemonic site of KDC. This project was done out of an urgent need to preserve KDC’s media imprints that are prone to erasure and modification. KDC is situated on the border of South Lebanon, a territory whose land and electromagnetic field have been occupied by state and non-state political actors. Since the claims of technological sovereignty inside the territory are tenuous and rife with the risk of political manipulation, I chose the space of the internet as provisionally more inclusive environment to host the virtual environment of KDC. Through three media sources, the generated environment allows users to experiment with the limitations and imposition of sound, allowing the critical recreation of the KDC site.


Reconstruction of memory, technological occupation, border territories, electronic surveillance.

Author Biography

Ahmad Beydoun, Independent

Ahmad Beydoun (b. 1994, Beirut) is an architect and researcher who frequently operates in artistic settings. He completed his Bachelor of Architecture at the Lebanese American University and the École Spéciale d’Architecture. He is interested in developing research-based projects around collective memory in situ and in generated environments, critical cartographic and pedagogic practices that resist the carceral continuum in architecture and urbanism. Currently, Ahmad is building a repository for the decaying Khiam Detention Center to publicly perpetuate its infamous memory in the face of recent attempts of erasure and biased revisions of its history. He has previously worked as an architect at DW5 Bernard Khoury Architects where he was involved in a multidisciplinary range of work from research projects, to concept discussions, to the illustration and production of digital images and drawings. His research-based projects have been supported by and presented in Technical University of Delft, Art Jameel, Beit Beirut, Hammana Artist House and the internet.


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