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Posted inArt

Unmanned Archival Vehicle: Wafaa Bilal at Driscoll Babcock

For whom do images of a conflict zone, as those Wafaa Bilal has recreated in his Ashes Series, bear witness? How is this memory constituted? In his first solo show at Driscoll Babcock, the artist and NYU professor takes as his starting point newswire photographs of destruction in Iraq, transforming them via scale reproductions into dioramas where bodies are traded for a volcanic scattering of human ashes.

Posted inArt

How Violence Has Become Shielded by Virtual Distance

BERKELEY, California — On BlueServo, webcams are streaming live webcams stationed at potential border-crossing hotspots on the line between Texas and Mexico. Anyone in the world can go to BlueServo and guard the border virtually, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. If a viewer was to spot suspicious activity they can report it to the local authorities, all without leaving the comfort of their keyboard. In my mind, BlueServo connected immediately to the work of NYU professor Wafaa Bilal.

Posted inArt

Scripted Wars, Towers of Power

The United States, under the leadership of George W. Bush, launched its unprovoked, premeditated invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. On November 20, 2004, the Museum of Modern Art opened its 630,000-square-foot Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building.

Posted inArt

Seeing Through the Crowds Part III at the 2011 Venice Biennale: The Unofficial Exhibitions

During the Biennale, innumerable numbers of events take place outside of the official Biennale grounds of the Giardini and Arsenale, especially from countries that couldn’t afford pavilions inside the Arsenale. They either rented out abandoned spaces near it, like the Iraqi pavilion did, or, if they couldn’t afford that, asked friends who own a little art gallery in between gift shops if they could use their space. Here are some oddities of note.

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Seeing Through the Crowds at the 2011 Venice Biennale Part I: The Giardini and Pavilions

Editor’s Note: Peter Dobey published a series of photo essays (1, 2, 3) about this year’s Venice Biennale at the beginning of June. This is a long-form essay (to be published in three parts) that explores the work at the Biennale.

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PARIS — It is difficult to write about Venice, just like it is difficult to really SEE Venice. Individual experiences of art fade away into the oversaturation that is the Venice Biennale in the same way the city of Venice is sinking into the Adriatic. There is the ontological experience of Venice and the problem of one’s ability to encounter it. Then there is the physical impossibility to see everything the Biennale offers you and all the things it doesn’t, especially when in Italy.

Posted inArt

Dread Scott Is Bringing the Wars Home

I encountered Dread Scott’s curious flag project, “Flags Are Very Popular These Days” (2011), on Facebook and was fascinated by its simplicity. Last month, the artist placed the flags of four nations (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) on overpasses in upstate New York. These symbols of pride for four Muslim-majority countries— two of which America is currently (and officially) at war with — must have felt jarring to passersby who may not have been able to recognize their meaning or discerned their origins.