Uncle Sam chatting with Iraq

Published on by The Inquirer

As the medias are hyperboling  Iraq and the rising death counting in the papers.It's  quite uneasy  to connect with a country to which we are paradoxically and inextricably tied.

Deller - a 42 well-known in Britain for his intense video and performance pieces who won the nation's 2004 Turner Prize, awarded annually by the Tate Gallery in London to a British artist under 50 - provides us an opportunity for the people here to engage in conversations with eye-witnesses from the region, to see the evidence that is so often left in the aftermath of wartime tragedies, and to play a role in this interesting experiment around the art of human interaction that is journeying across the country.

“I have read a ton of books and articles about the war,” Deller says in his artist statement, “but short of going to Iraq itself, there is no substitute for meeting someone who has actually lived there or been there.
March 31, 2009
6610 Delmar Boulevard St. Louis, MO

Talk and the exchange of information is what this piece is about. On hand to speak with passersby who care to talk will be Esam Pasha, an artist and formerly a translator for the chief adviser in the British Embassy in Baghdad and for U.S. forces around Iraq, and Jonathan Harvey, a veteran of the Iraq war and recently demobilized psychological operations specialist.

The group is traveling with a car destroyed in a March 2007 bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 30 people. "A conversation starter" said Deller.

Conversations About Iraq” does not promise to solve the problems between the U.S. and Iraq, rather claims that there is beauty that approaches art in human contact and intellectual exchange—that is, in simply talking amongst ourselves.

One of the most basic challenges of contemporary art practice is to forge a connection between art and what is going on around us every day, but while few people would deny that art comes out of life, there is still great skepticism surrounding the relevance of art to how we actually live.

Nato Thompson, Creative Time curator, will document the journey. A daily video diary and written journal entry will be posted on the project's Web site, www.conversationsaboutiraq.org


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