The first of a few follow-up posts pertaining to today’s class (Week 3). Here is the Atlas Group, a project by Lebanese artist Walid Raad.

It’s a complicated website, mirroring the labyrinthine structure of bureaucratic archives. Have a look around.

And back in the Atlas of Transformation, you can find some words on the idea of ‘the archive’, and on Raad in particular, by Karl Lydén:

“It is not so much a sublime poetics, an overwhelming mass of documents, or the transformation of the viewer into an archival researcher that best characterize Walid Raad and the Atlas Group’s work. Rather, it might be something in line with the archive as producer—that is, how the archival modes of classification, collection, and systematization inherently produce and shape the meaning of the archived material. Through more or less absurd classifications of violent historical material related to the wars that have been waged in Lebanon over the last three decades—such as My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair: Engines (1996–2004), which shows car engines seemingly out of place in the streets of Beirut, photographed and carefully described in terms of location and date, revealing that the engines are all that remains of cars that have been blown up, possibly killing people—Walid Raad and the Atlas Group perform a critique of the mechanisms of the archive, and make visible both the power associated with the act of classification, and the arbitrary, totalizing, and productive nature of the categories it creates.”

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