|'The truth will be known when the last
witness is dead'.
featured - March 05
The Atlas Group
How do we write the history of
Atlas Group is a framework Walid Raad has created for exploring
how evidence is used to invoke the beliefs that become history.
Combining images collected from popular media with narratives
explaining their possible meanings, he explores the mutability
of history and the authority attributed to knowledge production.
Where do we look for the evidence that becomes history? Which
stories are told, and who gets to tell them?
Raads subject is the Lebanese civil war. By making
documents that are aware of that which is left out of the official
history of the war, he wants to depict war's more elusive aspects.
To accomplish this he turns to surprising sources.
of horse-race finishes cut out from a Lebanese newspaper
and taped to a series of yellow notebook pages, are the central
part of the piece Missing Lebanese Wars, presented
in The Atlas Group archive as a part of the notebooks of "the
famous Lebanese historian, Dr. Fadl Fakhouri". The story
is of a group of historians who gathered every Sunday at a Beirut
racetrack to gamble. Although they did not gamble on the races
themselves; they bet on precisely how many fractions of a second
before or after the horse crossed the finish line the photographer
would expose the frame. Along with the newspaper photographs
- which never quite capture the precise instant of victory -
the notebook pages include numerous pencilled details; notations
about the race's distance and duration, the historians' bets,
short descriptions of the winning historian etc.
Everything is a little off
How do we handle that which is already impossible to handle?
"Missing" in the title of this piece should be read
as a play on "presence" in poststructuralism. Everything
is a little off, a little late, or a little early. 'Missing'
has this idea of longing for, yet the inability to arrive. It's
as if you're always longing for that which you missed.(Raad)
This false binary between fiction and non-fiction
When Raad combines fact with fiction, his aim is not to deceive
or dissemble. In Raads words: "It's not about treating
the details as either real or fictional. Whenever either one
happens, I'm disappointed. But it teaches me about the weight
of this false binary between fiction and non-fiction and the
difficulty of playing between them." Raad does work with
the antithesis between fiction and non-fiction, the invented
and the real, but he does so in the awareness that no historical
essence may be won from it. The real could be the fictive. The
fictive could be real.
Evidence of what cannot be known
Raad's fictive historian, Dr. Fakhouri, is also credited for
a series of film stills in The Atlas Group archive, called Miraculous
Beginnings. Fakhouri is in this piece said to have exposed
a frame of film "every time he thought the wars had come
to an end." A history of a war should also include evidence
of frustration and uncertainty, proof of what cannot be known,
but only longed for.
Looking at people trying to understand
way Raad is representing the history of the Lebanese wars, is
by putting attention not to what "happened", but to
what people look at in trying to make sense of what happened.
A part of the piece My Neck Is Thinner than a Hair
includes a series of photos of people looking at the remains
of the 245 cars used as bombs and set off during the Lebanese
civil war. Watching these pictures of groups of men who have
gathered to look at the outcome of car bombs, we are also left
looking at the ways newspapers are (not) looking at the events
they are supposed to document.
Atlas Group Archive | ~ | Galerie
former featured nothings
POTENT NOTHING OF CYBERSPACE - this virtual reality in which
we now are taking part ...
BOMB PROJECT is an impressive on-line archive of nuclear-related
links. In addition to images and information resources, government
and non-gevernment sites, it makes accessible declassified files
produced by the nuclear industry itself.
51 is America's most popular "secret base." This non-place
is not shown on maps and until this day the US Air Force
has refused to acknowledge its existence. The artist and
experimental geographer Trevor Paglen examines this kind
of nowhere-places through the fragmented documents that
restricted landscapes exude.
BIG NOTHING - 36 museums, galleries, science centers and
performing arts groups in Philadelphia, US, is this summer
addressing ideas of nothing, nothingness, and negation!
DESIRE FOR A TOTALIZING VIEW of our world is omnipresent.
But, according to Bruno Latour's webbased work Paris:
Invisible City, such attempts at complete cartographic
indexes on the contrary might hinder vision.
A LEGAL BLACK HOLE - The Guantanamo prison camp is a territory
beyond the reach of any law and outside the jurisdiction
of any court.
CREED: WORK NO. 79: 'SOME BLU-TACK KNEADED, ROLLED
INTO A BALL, AND DEPRESSED AGAINST A WALL
TO NORWAY! Issak Kiflu has been living in Norway for ten
years, but formally he does not exist.
CHAIR - by Heidi Rødstøl.
Installation in living room, paint on carpet, variable
YEAR OLD GANGA NEUPANE IS STATELESS Like several million
persons worldwide Ganga Neupane has no citizenship. Being
stateless means not having regular citizenship rights.
OF STREET LAMP FOR PLACING OF TIRE - On November 27, 1996,
Andreas Slominski upr ooted a lamppost in order to place
an abandoned tire around it. The tire was then later stolen.
HAS STOPPED ALL REFERENCE TO "NUMBER KILLED"
in official releases. The preferred word "casualties"
conceals responsibility and makes moral questions into
non-issues. Moreover the number of casualties is a non-subject
in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
DAY - exposes the environmental and ethical consequences of
OF ANTIMATTER - CERN have announced that they have passed
through nature's looking glass and created atoms made of antimatter,
or anti-atoms ...
ARE NON-PERSONS - taking photographs that could "humanise
or personalise" asylum seekers has been banned by
former defense minister Peter Reith's office in Australia
- WHAT IS NOT? - a story about an encounter and about trying
to differ between fact and non-fact ...
RIGHT NOT TO BE BORN - the French parliament has passed
a bill that states that "nobody can claim to have
been harmed simply by being born". the extraordinary
bill was a response to a conviction by the French supreme
court that is said to have established the right not to
be born ...
CHILDREN - who were born out of nothing during the 31 days
of Mars 2002 ...
I KNOW / SOMETHING I DONíT KNOW - by Graham Gussin
OF TERROR AND RESPONS ON TERROR - the World Trade Center - Afghanistan
and on ...
AT ROOSEUM, Malmö's Center for Contemporary Art, 3 November
- 16 December, 2001. works by 35 artists exploring notions
of invisibility, imagination and dematerialisation ...
EVERY TENT; THE OTHER!
- consisting of two Irish green, empty tents, one raised outside
Atelier 35 in Bucharest, and one inside the gallery space
HYPER-METAPHOR; UK, RAISING TENTS
- containing, among other things, a motorway, ten tents, a
text discussion and an internet diary ...
suggestions is gratefully accepted!