Let's Be Honest. The Weather Helped I, 1998/2006

Installation view: Atopia. Migration, Heritage and Placelessness. Works from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection, Museo de Arte Moderno Bogotá (MAMBO), Bogotá, Colombia, 2016
Photo: Sebastián Cruz Roldán & Santiago Pinyol

Set of 7 archival inkjet prints
46.4 x 71.8 cm (each, unframed), 47.8 x 73.8 x 4 cm (each, framed)

The collection of documents archived by Walid Raad and The Atlas Group is a mixture of uncovered and constructed evidence whose authenticity, authorship and even dates are constantly subject to doubt. In blurring the line between historical facts and constructed narratives, Raad investigates how the history of Lebanon – and specifically the long violent period of the Civil Wars – is written and represented. In Let’s Be Honest. The Weather Helped I, Raad records the locations of bullet holes with colored dots on a series of black and white photographs. The colors of the dots correspond to the colors of the bullets’ tips, which he later learned are color codes devised by manufacturing countries to mark their cartridges.

“Like many around me in Beirut in the early 1980s, I collected bullets and shrapnel. I would run out to the streets after a night or day of shelling to remove bullets from walls, cars, and trees. I kept detailed notes of where I found every bullet by photographing the sites of my findings, and by placing colored dots over the bullet holes in my black and white photographs. The color of the dots corresponded to the mesmerizing hues I found on bullets’ tips. The colors were also faithful to the distinct code devised by manufacturers in different countries to mark their cartridges and shells. Over the years, and to complement my collection, I purchased bullets from vendors on the streets, seeking out the entire spectrum of colors that adorned the tips of the 7.62 X 43 mm. cartridge used in AK-47s or of the 5.45 X 45 mm. cartridge used in M-16s. It took me 25 years to realize that my notebooks had all along cataloged the 23 countries that had armed or sold ammunitions to the various militias and armies fighting the Lebanese wars, including the U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, Switzerland, and China.” – Walid Raad

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]

This biography is from Wikipedia under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License