© W. Raad
Photo courtesy of Haus der Kulturen der Welt
The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Tony Chakar, Bilal Khebeiz: My Neck is Thinner Than a Hair: A History of the Car Bomb in the 1975-1991 Lebanese Wars_Volume1: January 21, 1986
BERLIN • House of World Cultures • Ongoing
|My Neck is Thinner Than a Hair: A History of the Car Bomb in the 1975-1991 Lebanese Wars_Volume1: January 21, 1986|
On 21 January 1986, a car bomb exploded in the Furn Ech Chuback district of Beirut, one of 245 that were to shake Beirut at regular intervals during the years of civil war. Walid Raad, Tony Chakar and Bilal Khbeiz's on-going exploration of contemporary and historical events in Lebanon focuses on these car bombings, creating a fictive documentary on the make, model and colour of each car used as a bomb. Since the cars were European, Japanese and American, they started their project in the countries producing those cars and engines - in Germany, for instance, concentrating primarily on the luxury Mercedes 200 and 220 models from the late 1970s.
Walid Raad's instalment project began with the fetishistic relation between the cars details and the bombs, as city dwellers struggled to identify suspect vehicles. This fetishism was equally present in Lebanese press news reports, not only publishing photos of mutilated bodies of the victims but also showing the craters left by the blasts. Engines and axles tended to be used to identify the vehicles, since they were the only parts to survive the explosion intact - even when found hundreds of meters away, frequently on someone's balcony or roof.
Walid Raad is generally recognised as one of the most outstanding artists from the Arabian world. His works have been shown in Germany at, for instance, Documenta11 and IN TRANSIT 03. He enquires into the social, political, economic, military, technological, psychological and knowledge theory levels of war, investigating the public and private discourse generated around these car bombs. He now presents his initial findings from his detailed detection work in his own idiosyncratic way, creating an installation at the interface of lecture, performance and video, oscillating between detailed documentary and ironic distance. This instalment of his project forms only a part of his on-going research on and into the broader context of the events, experience, forms and objects around the car bombs in Lebanon's civil war.
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