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‘Notebook Volume 38’ is part of a groundbreaking project by Walid Raad, in which he created a fictional archival database to explore the nature and memory of documentation. This archive, entitled the ‘Atlas Project,’ houses a number of contradicting documents related to the history of Lebanon. One such work, ‘Notebook Volume 38’ is attributed to fictional historian Dr. Fakhouri, and documents every car bomb that exploded from 1975-1999 during the Lebanese Civil War. Each page notes the make, model, and color of the car in Arabic as well as the details and casualties of each explosion. Seemingly simple, the project’s effect is overwhelming, forcing the viewer to contend with the realities of war while questioning the reliability of the materials before them.
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van Alphen, Ernest, 'Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in the Age of New Media,' London: Reaktion Books, 2014, pl. 75
Walid Raad (Lebanese, b. 1967) explores the intersection of Middle Eastern history, culture, politics, and art throughout his artistic process. Often appearing as mixed media, film, or photography, his work is greatly informed by his upbringing during the Lebanese Civil War, and focuses heavily on the creation of narratives and memory within the context of conflict. He is globally recognized for his ‘Atlas Group’ project, a fictional archive filled with contradicting accounts of Lebanese history. His work has been exhibited internationally at MoMA, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Venice Biennale, Documenta 11, the Whitney Biennial, and many more. Raad won the Hasselblad Foundation International Award for Photography in 2011, and is a published author.