Mapping Sitting
February 3, 2005 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Mapping Sitting explores the uses and traditions of photographic portraiture over the past century in the Middle East.
posted by scody (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love "reclining". But of course, as always, viewing old photos makes me want to cry. Strange, that.
posted by taz at 3:14 PM on February 3, 2005

posted by chaz at 3:41 PM on February 3, 2005

Interesting, that. What's most interesting to me is that these may be fact or fiction, or some interaction between the two. I only consider that because it's Walid Raad, whose work as "the Atlas Group" is partly about a half-fictional archive, "to research and document the contemporary history of Lebanon."

Raad's work -- at least as the Atlas Group, which is neither Atlas nor Group -- raises questions of whether every archive is at least half-fake, and whether every story, at least where history is concerned, is half-lie.

Looking at the Mapping Sitting, it was easy to imagine these being stories that Raad invented -- "surpriseurs," for example, shows nothing in Google. Hashem el Madani, by contrast, has many references. Not to say Google is the entire subset of human knowledge. And not to say that suspecting this work to be half-fictional is anything but a compliment.
posted by cloudscratcher at 3:58 PM on February 3, 2005

Wonderful find, scody. Especially if it's a half-fictional creation.
posted by mediareport at 4:58 PM on February 3, 2005

I think cloudscratcher's got it. The Google hits for the photographers in the surpriseurs section are exclusively references to this exhibit. I saw the Atlas Group exhibit at MASS MoCA last year and enjoyed it a lot; I think the use of photography to tell invented stories that shed light on history and our experience of it is great... just as long as it doesn't get mixed up with real history, which is always a danger in this age of postmodernism and historical ignorance.

Nice find, scody!
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on February 4, 2005

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