Hostage: the Bachar Tapes, 2001

Still: Courtesy the artists, 2006 | Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg & Beirut
Still: Courtesy the artists, 2006 | Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg & Beirut
Still: Courtesy the artists, 2006 | Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg & Beirut

Single-channel video installation, color, sound
16 min 16 sec

Hostage: the Bachar tapes (English version) is attributed to Souheil Bachar and is about the abduction and detention in Lebanon in the 1980’s and early 1990’s of western men like Terry Anderson and Terry Waite by “Islamic militants”. This episode directly and indirectly consumed by Lebanese, U.S., French, German and British political and public life, and precipitated a number of high profile political scandals like the Iran-Contra Affair in the U.S.
In Hostage this crisis is examined through the testimony of Souheil Bachar who was held hostage in Lebanon between 1983 and 1993. What is remarkable about Souheil’s captivity is that he was held for 3 months in 1985 in the same cell as five American men: Terry Anderson, Thomas Sutherland, Benjamin Weir, Martin Jenco, and David Jacobsen. In 2000 Souheil collaborated with The Atlas Group to produce 54 videotapes about his captivity. Tapes #17 and #31 are the only tapes Souheil makes available outside Lebanon. In the tapes, Bachar addresses the cultural, textual, and sexual aspects of his detention with the Americans.

Walid Raad (Ra'ad) (Arabic: وليد رعد) (born 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon) is a contemporary media artist. The Atlas Group is a fictional collective, the work of which is produced by Walid Raad. He lives and works in New York, where he is currently an associate professor at the School of Art at the Cooper Union School of Art.

His works to date include film, photography, multimedia installations, and accompanying public performances. All, in one way or another, deal with the contemporary history of Lebanon with particular emphasis on the Lebanese Civil War of 1975–90. The work is also often concerned with the representation of traumatic events of collective historical dimensions; and the ways film, video, and photography function as documents of physical and psychological violence.[1] He is also a member of the Arab Image Foundation.[2]

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