The subject of Beirut Lab: 1975(2020) – a film installation at UC Irvine’s Room Gallery – features contemporary film essays produced by artists living and working in Beirut, a site where time bends and curves, as in a Gödel universe. Here, as elsewhere, historical events are what semioticians call a “sliding signifier,” an image-unit that floats between the past, present and future, then back again in one’s mind. Counter-intuitively, Beirut is also a city where particular events function as a kind of collective caesura – an historical blank space – within cultural consciousness. The most prominent of these events being the Lebanese Civil War, 1975-1991, which has (and continues) to provoke critically minded artists to engage in a type of hermeneutic aesthetics of past moments in time. For instance, artists of one generation, who were in primary school in the seventies, wrangle with screen memories of that moment, which can neither be completely remembered nor forgotten. Alternately, a younger generation of artists attempts to untangle that which they never knew themselves but which they have inherited as a gap in Lebanon’s state sanctioned national history. But, already, this generational schema is a bit too tidy. For there are those artists in the region whose artwork critically investigate the more general question of memory, history and, therefore, temporality, by subtending the perspectival positions of the aforementioned generational lines. The film essays featured in Beirut Lab: 1975(2020), showcase all three such perspectives.