Shoot an Iraqi Art, Life and Resistance under the Gun

ISBN-10: 087286491X
ISBN-13: 9780872864917
Edition: 2008
List price: $16.95 Buy it from $3.94
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Description: 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 United States to become a  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publication date: 9/1/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.75" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.924
Language: English

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 United States to become a professor and a successful artist, but when his brother was killed at a checkpoint in Iraq 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 performance piece: 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 twenty-four 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 "breath taking." It spawned provocative online debates, and ultimately, Bilal was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Artist of the Year Award. Structured in two parallel narratives, the story of Bilal's life journey and his "Domestic Tension" experience, this first-person account is supplemented with comments on the history and current political situation in Iraq and the context of "Domestic Tension" within the art world, including interviews with art scholars such as Dean of the School of Art at Columbia University, Carol Becker, who also contributes the introduction. Shoot an Iraqi is equally pertinent reading for those who seek insight into the current conflict in Iraq and for those fascinated by interactive art technologies and the ever-expanding world of online gaming. Wafaa Bilal, a professor of art and technology at the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited his art worldwide and lectured extensively. He has been interviewed on NPR, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and the History Channel.

Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal has exhibited his art world wide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people, and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal's 2007 dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience, 24 hours a day. Newsweek called the project "breathtaking" and the Chicago Tribune called the month-long piece "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time," and named Bilal its 2007 Artist of the Year. Bilal has exhibited worldwide including in Baghdad, the Netherlands, Thailand and Croatia; as well as at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum and various other US galleries. His residencies have included Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California; Catwalk in New York; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.In fall 2008 City Lights published Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art and Resistance Under the Gun , about Bilal's life and the Domestic Tension project. Bilal is currently a professor of Photography and Imaging at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

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