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Walid Raad

Walid Raad is the founding member of the Atlas Group, an imaginary foundation whose stated

mission is to archive the history and visual culture of contemporary Lebanon. Under this

institutional banner and in association with a cast of real and fictional collaborators, he produces

documents in a variety of media that address his nation’s recent past at oblique angles to

traditional historical narratives. Eschewing the conventions of political history, which tracks an

oscillating trajectory of victors and vanquished, Raad’s archive focuses on the banal details of

people’s lives in a state at war. The fact that these fabricated documents hew closer to “real life”

than officially sanctioned histories is just one of the many ironies that permeate Raad’s work:

The geopolitical history of contemporary Lebanon that was being written [in the years

since the wars ended] was leaving out so much of what I considered to be my experiences

of these events. The mere ability to be able to walk freely from West to East Beirut

unhindered by checkpoints is not an experience one would have had 15 years ago.