Born in 1967 in Chbanieh in Lebanon, Walid Raad collects, modifies, and creates photographs, texts, and videos. He plays with the idea of the document, since to him, it relates to the stories of the community living on this territory The artist infuses his depictions with an intended blur to throw doubt on the notion of documentation itself and poses a profound question about how history is constructed. His method involves manipulative processes such as montage, hijacking, and displacement, which he uses to create his poetic, semantic distortions. Since 1999, his work on archives and memories through images has evolved around the Atlas Group, a fictitious organization, initiated and activated by the artist, which produces, conserves and studies documents about Lebanon contemporary history.
Exhibited: I Only Wish That I Could Weep, 1997/2002
The video footage, taken from surveillance footage of a seaside boardwalk at the Corniche, shows passers-by inexorably drawn to the setting and the glimmering horizon line. This document is attributed to Operator#17, a Lebanese Army intelligence officer who was assigned to monitor this area. From 1997, the officer decided to videotape the sunset instead of his assigned target. This videotape recounts the operator’s story and concentrates on the footage he was permitted to keep after his dismissal.