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Exhibition of Memorial Concepts

Artist(s): Ray Klimek, United States

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Proposal Title: Baghdad Cut, 12/10/2009, Photography

Proposal Synopsis: Prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq television news programs aired a series of images unusual for both their duration and their content. Partly obscured by network logos, bottom-of the-screen crawls, and talking heads or else reduced to insets, these images displayed views of Baghdad reminiscent of traditional topographical views, city portraits and panoramas. Nearly static, distant views of the city along with miniscule traces of everyday life, they were ultimately both sinister and poignant, suggesting the immanent fate of Baghdad and its fragility. As representations of military targets, they inadvertently revealed a quality of the everyday that had been missing from the political propaganda leading up to the war. Unlike more recent images of the war, these landscapes and fragments have been largely forgotten. “Baghdad Cut” retrieves these images to explore connections between landscape and video technology and to extract the apparent yet overlooked quotidian nature of the footage. I approach this project through extreme decontextualization, cutting the views from a matrix of commercial and political information. The landscape, often filtered through the eye of surveillance, thus points to a gap between the disparate experiences of viewers and viewed, between political/military representations and the vaguely sensed experience of the city’s daily life.

Artist's Biography: Ray Klimek was born in 1955 in the Anthracite region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. After teaching English for twenty years he studied photography at the International Center for Photography in New York and received his MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2006. An internationally exhibited artist, he is currentlt an Assistant professor of Art at Ohio University.

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