The works of Vartan Avakian (born in Byblos, Lebanon, in 1977) cut across different genres, ranging from video clips, installations and sculptures to photography and other media. He often works with natural materials which he transforms, preserving the history of these materials while turning them into novel objects. For his series entitled Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust, for instance, Avakian used dust particles collected at historical landmarks to create glittering crystals. In his work A Very Short History of Tall Men, he portrays leaders of failed coups d’état as little golden figurines. Although these figurines are in some way modelled on traditional monuments, they refuse to fulfil their representative function and instead become symbols of the protagonists’ failure. This kind of ambivalence is characteristic of Avakian’s entire oeuvre, making us acutely aware of the significance of history, culture and memory.