Walid Raad was born in Chbanieh, Lebanon, in 1967. His work has been exhibited in prominent national and international exhibitions. Most recently, his work was the subject of “The Atlas Group: A Project by Walid Raad,” a one-person show at the Photo Espana 2009 at the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. Earlier this year “Scratching on Things I Could Disavow” was exhibited at REDCAT, Los Angeles. Raad’s work has also been presented at Documenta 11, Kassel (2002), Homeworks, Beirut (2005), the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennials, the 2003 Venice Biennale, the Kitchen, New York (2006) and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2006). In 2007 Raad was awarded the Alpert Award, presented by CalArts, Los Angeles and in 2009 he was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
Raad lives in Beirut and New York and has been an Associate Professor of Art at The Cooper Union’s School of Art, New York, since 2002.
Hostage: The Bachar Tapes is an experimental videotape about “The Western Hostage Crisis”. The crisis refers to the abduction and detention in Lebanon in the 1980s and early 1990s of western men like Terry Anderson and Terry Eaite by “Islamic militants”. This episode directly and indirectly consumed Lebanese, US, French and British political and public life, and precipitated a number of high profile political scandals like the Iran-Contra affair in the US.
In Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (English version) the “Western Hostage Crisis” is examined through the imaginary testimony of Souheil Bachar. Souheil Bachar was held hostage in Lebanon between 1983 and 1993. What is remarkable about Souheil’s captivity is that he was the only Arab man to have been detained with the western hostages kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s. In fact, Souheil was held for 3 months in 1985 in the same cell as five American men: Terry Anderson, Thoma Sutherland, Benjamin Weir, Marting Jenco and David Jacobson. – The Atlas Group. Courtesy of Anthony Reynolds, London
This document is attributed to Operator #17, a Lebanese Army intelligence officer who was assigned to monitor the Corniche, a seaside boardwalk in Beirut. From 1997 on, the officer decided to videotape the sunset instead of his assigned target. The videotape recounts the operator’s story and concentrates on the footage he was permitted to keep after his dismissal.
Courtesy of Paula Cooper, New York