For Christmas, here's another story about my father, Elias Abu-Saba.
Dad had this friend, David Hodge, who is a filmmaker and video artist here in California. Mr. Hodge was doing a piece on Impermanence as part of an artistic tribute to the Dalai Lama, and asked Dad to give his thoughts in a long video interview.
Hodge used Dad's voice in an installation of 16 I-pods broadcasting the words of 108 people, playing simultaneously in a large room. Read about it here: Impermanence: The time of man.
Last May, months before his death, Mom and Dad got to view/hear the installation. Mom says that Dad was particularly articulate and that his words were really moving. He didn't know he was dying when he made the interview or when they listened to the whole piece; he was diagnosed with cancer two months later.
I hope I get to experience this unusual art installation devoted to impermanence and to peace.
My father did some amazing things in his life, but this one surprises me. Even after his death, he still gets to tour the world, talking, in an avant-garde performance piece using I-pods. That would be my dad, an earthy peasant poet immortalized in the latest technology. He had this paradoxical quality of being cutting edge and completely old-world at the same time. Part of him loved the land, olives, and history, and part of him loved computers, engineering, new architecture, and gadgets. Both of these aspects are very Lebanese. You can see this paradox at work in Beirut today - and all over Lebanon.
People are impermanent. Love the ones around you because tomorrow they will be gone. Everything changes, everything passes.
Merry Christmas, everybody. And Dad, wherever you are, we love you and think of you each day.
Update: read the comments for links to the virtual tour of the art gallery, and more info on the main show. The video installation is part of a large group exhibit including Laurie Anderson, Bill Viola and Jenny Holzer. I am just staggered.