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Friday, December 19, 2008

Shoot an Iraqi



A stunning program yesterday on KPBS about an installation/performance by artist Wafaa Bilal which took place in 2007 in an internet gallery in Chicago. Wafaa Bilal made himself the human target for a live internet shooting gallery. People around the globe took aim and fired real paintballs at him for a month.

From Bilal's website:
"Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun

Wafaa Bilal's childhood in Iraq was defined by the horrific rule of Saddam Hussein, two wars, a bloody uprising, and time spent interned in chaotic refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bilal eventually made it to the U.S. to become a professor and a successful artist, but when his brother was killed at a U.S. checkpoint in 2005, he decided to use his art to confront those in the comfort zone with the realities of life in a conflict zone.

Thus the creation and staging of "Domestic Tension," an unsettling interactive performancepiece: for one month, Bilal lived alone in a prison cell-sized room in the line of fire of a remote-controlled paintball gun and a camera that connected him to internet viewers around the world. Visitors to the gallery and a virtual audience that grew by the thousands could shoot at him 24 hours a day.

The project received overwhelming worldwide attention, garnering the praise of the Chicago Tribune, which called it "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time," and Newsweek's assessment "breathtaking." It spawned provocative online debates and ultimately, Bilal was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Artist of the Year Award."

I visited theworld.com to get the video.

Thank you Kevin for your comment. I did not know about the book and I am very interested in reading it. I ordered it on Amazon.

1 comment:

Kevin Freitas said...

I just bought the book (same title) the other day chronicalling this fascinating and tragic performance (in a chicago gallery) and life of the artist growing up in Iraq. Read it!