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Domestic Tension
May 11, 2007 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Shoot an Iraqi live on the web. [With a paintball gun] Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, whose brother was killed in by an American soldier in 2005, makes a statement about virtual war in Chicago's Flatfile gallery. For the next 42 days, anyone can log in and chat with him. Or shoot him with a remote-controlled paintball gun. You can listen to him narrate a summary of the piece (and show the gun-firing robot) in this slideshow from the Chicago Tribune. If you can't log in, you can watch his video diaries here.
posted by blahblahblah (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a note to anyone who logs into the gun without listening to the slideshow - the gun really causes Wafaa pain: welts, bruises, even bleeding. Alternately, you can try to stop someone from firing by moving the camera away. Just thought you should be warned.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:35 PM on May 11, 2007


Wow. Wouldn't it be nice if he put it up the installation and the gun remained silent for the duration.

Sigh.
posted by kavasa at 5:40 PM on May 11, 2007


"**UPDATE 3.10.07** 4:30pm
Due to the overwhelming amount of individuals attempting to participate in Domestic Tension, our server may not connect. If this is the case, please be patient and try back later."


Fuck that, I am going out to shoot actual brown people. And not with a paintball gun, either.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:41 PM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


A very symbolic installation.
posted by bhouston at 5:50 PM on May 11, 2007


This piece has a lot more to say about the internet then it dose about international politics or human nature. I mean who doesn't want to shoot someone with a click of their mouse, he should auction off each shot on ebay.
posted by CaptMcalister at 5:51 PM on May 11, 2007


I'm coding a bot to shoot him all the time
posted by grobstein at 6:07 PM on May 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm sure the people whose brothers were killed in Iraq by Iraqis will take pity.
posted by smackfu at 6:07 PM on May 11, 2007


The Chicago Tribune slideshow was registration only for me - here's a bugmenot:

ctacta@mailinator.com
ctacta123
posted by malocchio at 6:12 PM on May 11, 2007


BUSH RESIGNS
posted by caddis at 6:14 PM on May 11, 2007


Meh. On the Jersey boardwalk, you've been able to shoot a live "Osama" or "Saddam" with real paintballs for years.
posted by Miko at 6:16 PM on May 11, 2007


I'm sure the people whose brothers were killed in Iraq by Iraqis will take pity.
posted by smackfu at 6:07 PM on May 11



Yeah because volunteering to invade other countries for a steady paycheck and a free college degree and then getting killed is the exact same fucking thing as an Iraqi getting shot to death on the way to work because he looked suspicious.

Christ, I thought libruls were supposed to be the whiny queens of moral equivalency.
posted by Avenger at 6:21 PM on May 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you understand.
posted by smackfu at 6:40 PM on May 11, 2007


Okay, okay smackfu: you've got me.

You're obviously performing some kind of post-post-postmodern street theater/internet performance where I'm supposed to be able to connect your mental dots that are conveniently spaced light-years apart.

Here I am, on metafilter and overthinking a plate beans. Touche.

Anyway, yeah "Shoot an Iraqi Live On The Web" is going to be the next American Idol for our delightfully dystopian future.
posted by Avenger at 6:50 PM on May 11, 2007


This piece has a lot more to say about the internet then it dose about international politics or human nature. I mean who doesn't want to shoot someone with a click of their mouse, he should auction off each shot on ebay.

the internet doesn't shoot people, people shoot people.

how far removed is this from this.
posted by geos at 7:02 PM on May 11, 2007


No thanks.
posted by Flunkie at 7:03 PM on May 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


This installation made me feel pretty depressed when I first saw it on BB. It begins to cross that video game/reality boundary that has been held up as why games don't create violent people (I'm not making that argument).
In a real way it is a microcosm of how people are able to internalize justification to inflict pain, if the person on the other side is an unknown person it becomes easy. It's very interesting and Bilal has done more with this one thing then that trapped-in-a-clear-hung-box guy will ever achieve.

I've tried to log in to deflect the shots, but as mentioned above it seems swamped.
posted by edgeways at 7:14 PM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the people whose brothers were killed in Iraq by Iraqis will take pity.

I'm sure a "shoot an american live over the web" would do pretty well around the world.

And anyway, only like 600,000 or so Iraqi's have been killed and everyone knows that American life is worth way more then 200 iraqis!
posted by delmoi at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2007


Thanks for that link, geos.
posted by anthill at 7:49 PM on May 11, 2007


You know, there's a difference between real and virtual, paintball and bullets.

It would interesting to see what happen if the installation said there were one real bullet in a chamber some where. Of course there wouldn't be, but would it 'cause people to fire more or less?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 PM on May 11, 2007


good point geos
posted by CaptMcalister at 8:08 PM on May 11, 2007


There was some performance peace from the 70's or 80's (sorry I cant remeber the artist) that involved a live audience posing the artist with a variety of of props including a loaded handgun. Eventually the one members of the audience steeped in and stopped the performance when the artist was posed aiming the gun at her own head.
posted by CaptMcalister at 8:14 PM on May 11, 2007


Pfff. Doesn't work well. Maybe it's Firefox.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2007


I looked it up and the artist I mentioned above was Marina Abramovic and when the performance was stopped all her clothes had been cut off and she was actually holding the gun in her mouth.
posted by CaptMcalister at 8:20 PM on May 11, 2007


So... he's in that room without a mask?

How does he not lose an eye?
posted by porpoise at 10:18 PM on May 11, 2007


Lets hope this doesn't get posted over at Free Republic.
posted by wfrgms at 10:29 PM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that link, geos.
posted by anthill at 7:49 PM


i forget which one I linked to, there is one where they go after a bunch of targets in a compound like it's a bonus round after defeating the big boss.

what is remarkable to me about the footage of American air attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq is just how bureaucratic the whole targetting process is and how completely unafraid the American controllers are. Sometimes they get overexcited during the heat of things with so many targets to choose from but never do you hear any the sense that they have any expectation of death on their side (which of course makes sense given the 'enemy')

I'm not so sure that the reality/unreality is what seperates what the US military does from the air and shooting an artist over the internet.

I think that arrogance, point and click death from maybe hundreds of miles away is maybe almost as much provocation as sexually torturing prisoners. The latter is merely an act of sadism if not in the practicioners then those who order them to do these things. the former is hubris 100 feet tall and golden. you can't help but want to pull it all down.
posted by geos at 11:31 PM on May 11, 2007


if the person on the other side is an unknown person it becomes easy

i'd be more likely to pull the trigger if it was someone i knew who volunteered to sit in a room and be shot by paintballs over the internet. i can't believe i am the only one.

but i guess the fun of an experiment without a control is that you can pull whatever you want from it.
posted by pokermonk at 11:36 PM on May 11, 2007


The thing hasn't worked since it went up, but he has everyone yapping about it.

And therein lies the real art.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:51 AM on May 12, 2007




and when the performance was stopped all her clothes had been cut off and she was actually holding the gun in her mouth.

What a depressing thread. Art as a psych experiment on human cruelty.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2007


I talked to Wafaa somewhat. Not a whole lot, because most of what I was trying to say got dropped by the server.

He has not chronographed the paint marker. He is also not wearing face protection in his video (just eye protection.)

The eye protection is built to stop a paintball traveling at 300 feet per second. But Wafaa doesn't know how fast the paintballs are going.

And he also doesn't have an easy-to-locate e-mail address so I can tell him this... :(

Until he has indicated that the paintball marker has been chronographed, I will not shoot.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:48 PM on May 12, 2007


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