Last month, we introduced the Atlas Hotel, an ongoing multi-disciplinary project by the Lebanese artist Cynthia Merhej. In this second visual instalment, Cynthia recalls her first encounter with the world of the Atlas, and her early imaginings of Aziza and Nasser, who would become the protagonists of her developing narrative.
I entered the world of the Atlas Hotel with ease. As I began to explore it, I found that every room and corner of the hotel held a story that would bring me closer to unlocking my characters and discovering their histories.
In the bar, a band known as the Ramses Five played a cosmic fusion of oriental jazz. In the luscious gardens, a famous actress posed dramatically for her portrait in the morning tabloid. On the balconies, secret rendezvous took place, to the xylophonic tinkling of glass from indoor parties.
During my visit, I managed to retrieve the hotel sign and the guest book. I am studying them carefully, and finally begin to construct the story of my two main characters, Aziza and Nasser.