Iraqi Equation

… in the exhibition, the viewer is compelled to question which information actually feeds our own impressions of the current situation in Iraq. Isn’t it true that images in the media are our sole source of insight into the alleged reality there?
The review of the recent show Contemporary Arab Representations. The Iraqi Equation in KW by Catherine David (general project description) on quantara.de (link) finally concludes that the seemingly random combination of painting, photography, literature and media art conveys as a whole above all one thing: that Iraq’s cultural scene finds itself in an inevitable, aggressive dialogue with the western world.

It is indeed not easy to find the line and focal point of the show within the installed excerpts. Though it is not too difficult to figure that generally there is a need for various political/cultural statements – as there hardly is any chance to escape and reflect aside the media controlled stream of news mainly coming from western sources. That comments might come as inherent to artistic expressions is just a nature of the whole thing.
It is the selfdrawn task of the show to focus on a creative culture despite the dramatic situation the country is living through which – as pointed out – gives no reason to ignore the creative achievements, ideas, and difficulties that have shaped Iraqi culture in the past decades – … Still most of the presented works take up their view from an exiled position. Just the two younger contributors – the filmmaker Oday Rasheed and artist and blogger Raed behind Salam Pax can offer an access from living and working within their country. Generally the comment which establishes the thread along the show attempts to construct itself is to question truth and impression the images reaching the west create:

The images and news that have reached us since the Gulf War, since the invasion and occupation of Iraq, depict the extremely complex political, but also cultural and social situation of the country in extremely simplified form. … (link)

I don’t want to disagree, but surely there are more voices already coming along like for example streamtime (which provides also quite a collection of links) or from my own linklist bagdad burning … etc.
Also to remind that the attacks on Bagdad shed some light on the around that time occuring newer webformats of blogging which enabled to get some rare (unembedded) and isolated (Bagdad blogging) voices heard in a time when almost every news came via embedded views.

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