Translator’s Introduction: Pension Arts in Dubai, 2011

Installation view: Walid Raad - Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria, 2011
Photo: Jakob Polacsek | TBA21

Two-channel video installation (color, silent), paper cutouts on wall
28 min 16 sec (videos)
Overall dimensions variable

In 2007 Walid Raad initiated the art project "Scratching on Things I Could Disavow" about the history of art in the "Arab World", which leans on the recent emergence of a large new infrastructure for the visual arts in the "Arab World". These developments, when viewed alongside the geo-political, economic, social, and military conflicts that have consumed the region in the past few decades, shape a rich yet thorny ground for creative work. With "Scratching on Things I Could Disavow", Raad heeds the constraints and possibilities of this ground. "A Foreword" is part of this project.

In 2007, Raad was asked to join the Dubai branch of the Artist Pension Trust (APT). As a private company established in 2004 by entrepreneur Moti Shniberg and risk management guru Dan Galai. APT’s aims are to select and pool artists and artworks into investment and pension funds. APT, which has thus far established eight regional funds, is owned by MutualArt, a British Virgin Islands registered company whose assets in part include the website by the same name. The website is a usercustomized database of information about the art world: it permits its users to keep track of the art events that matter to them. To determine whether to join, Raad embarked on a three-year inquiry that sought answers to the following questions: Who is funding APT and MutualArt? And why is APT launching a trust in the Middle East, the Dubai Trust? These questions prompted him to research technological innovations in the areas of statistics, text and data mining, finance, the Israeli military and its complex links to the Israeli hi-tech sector. Moreover, they led him to further his ongoing examination of the emergence of a new infrastructure for the arts in the Arab world. – Catalogue “Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World”, TBA21, Vienna 2011; page 2

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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