- portal to nothing - the portal to nothing

go to the search center

find nothing in the search center
the nothing of the month
guide to nothing
add to nothing!
in the Qur'an
in international news
in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
'The truth will be known when the last witness is dead'.
Walid Raad

go to the first page
nothing featured - March 05
   The Atlas Group

How do we write the history of uncertainty?

The Atlas Group : “Missing Lebanese Wars” (Detail)The Atlas Group is a framework Walid Raad has created for exploring how evidence is used to invoke the beliefs that become history. Combining images collected from popular media with narratives explaining their possible meanings, he explores the mutability of history and the authority attributed to knowledge production. Where do we look for the evidence that becomes history? Which stories are told, and who gets to tell them?

Raad’s subject is the Lebanese civil war. By making documents that are aware of that which is left out of the official history of the war, he wants to depict war's more elusive aspects. To accomplish this he turns to surprising sources.


The Atlas Group : “Missing Lebanese Wars” (Detail)Photographs of horse-race finishes cut out from a Lebanese newspaper and taped to a series of yellow notebook pages, are the central part of the piece “Missing Lebanese Wars”, presented in The Atlas Group archive as a part of the notebooks of "the famous Lebanese historian, Dr. Fadl Fakhouri". The story is of a group of historians who gathered every Sunday at a Beirut racetrack to gamble. Although they did not gamble on the races themselves; they bet on precisely how many fractions of a second before or after the horse crossed the finish line the photographer would expose the frame. Along with the newspaper photographs - which never quite capture the precise instant of victory - the notebook pages include numerous pencilled details; notations about the race's distance and duration, the historians' bets, short descriptions of the winning historian etc.

Everything is a little off

How do we handle that which is already impossible to handle? "Missing" in the title of this piece should be read as a play on "presence" in poststructuralism. Everything is a little off, a little late, or a little early. “'Missing' has this idea of longing for, yet the inability to arrive. It's as if you're always longing for that which you missed.”(Raad)

This false binary between fiction and non-fiction

The Atlas Group : “No, Illness Is Neither Here Nor There” (Detail) When Raad combines fact with fiction, his aim is not to deceive or dissemble. In Raads words: "It's not about treating the details as either real or fictional. Whenever either one happens, I'm disappointed. But it teaches me about the weight of this false binary between fiction and non-fiction and the difficulty of playing between them." Raad does work with the antithesis between fiction and non-fiction, the invented and the real, but he does so in the awareness that no historical essence may be won from it. The real could be the fictive. The fictive could be real.

Evidence of what cannot be known

Raad's fictive historian, Dr. Fakhouri, is also credited for a series of film stills in The Atlas Group archive, called “Miraculous Beginnings”. Fakhouri is in this piece said to have exposed a frame of film "every time he thought the wars had come to an end." A history of a war should also include evidence of frustration and uncertainty, proof of what cannot be known, but only longed for.

Looking at people trying to understand

The Atlas Group : “My Neck Is Thinner than a Hair” (Detail)Another way Raad is representing the history of the Lebanese wars, is by putting attention not to what "happened", but to what people look at in trying to make sense of what happened. A part of the piece “My Neck Is Thinner than a Hair” includes a series of photos of people looking at the remains of the 245 cars used as bombs and set off during the Lebanese civil war. Watching these pictures of groups of men who have gathered to look at the outcome of car bombs, we are also left looking at the ways newspapers are (not) looking at the events they are supposed to document.



The Atlas Group : “My Neck Is Thinner than a Hair” (Detail)| The Atlas Group Archive | ~ | Galerie Sfeir-Semler |


former featured nothings :

"Hood" July 5, 1957, Operation Plumbbob, Nevada Test Site, Area 9aTHE BOMB PROJECT is an impressive on-line archive of nuclear-related links. In addition to images and information resources, government and non-gevernment sites, it makes accessible declassified files produced by the nuclear industry itself.
The Big NothingAREA 51 is America's most popular "secret base." This non-place is not shown on maps and until this day the US Air Force has refused to acknowledge its existence. The artist and experimental geographer Trevor Paglen examines this kind of nowhere-places through the fragmented documents that restricted landscapes exude.
The Big NothingTHE BIG NOTHING - 36 museums, galleries, science centers and performing arts groups in Philadelphia, US, is this summer addressing ideas of nothing, nothingness, and negation!
Bruno Latour: Invisible CityTHE DESIRE FOR A TOTALIZING VIEW of our world is omnipresent. But, according to Bruno Latour's webbased work Paris: Invisible City, such attempts at complete cartographic indexes on the contrary might hinder vision.
GuantanamoGUANTANAMO; A LEGAL BLACK HOLE - The Guantanamo prison camp is a territory beyond the reach of any law and outside the jurisdiction of any court.
Work No. 79: Some Blu-Tack kneaded, rolled into a ball, and depressed against a wall 1993 Blu-Tack, approx. 1cm in diameter © Martin CreedMARTIN CREED: WORK NO. 79: 'SOME BLU-TACK KNEADED, ROLLED INTO A BALL, AND DEPRESSED AGAINST A WALL
Issak Kiflu.  Photo: Trond ThorbjørnsenVACUUM TO NORWAY! Issak Kiflu has been living in Norway for ten years, but formally he does not exist.
Heidi RødstølLOST CHAIR - by Heidi Rødstøl.
Installation in living room, paint on carpet, variable dimensions, 2003.
Stateless24 YEAR OLD GANGA NEUPANE IS STATELESS Like several million persons worldwide Ganga Neupane has no citizenship. Being stateless means not having regular citizenship rights.
Andreas Slominski RAISING OF STREET LAMP FOR PLACING OF TIRE - On November 27, 1996, Andreas Slominski upr ooted a lamppost in order to place an abandoned tire around it. The tire was then later stolen.
feature PENTAGON HAS STOPPED ALL REFERENCE TO "NUMBER KILLED" in official releases. The preferred word "casualties" conceals responsibility and makes moral questions into non-issues. Moreover the number of casualties is a non-subject in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
feature BUY NOTHING DAY - exposes the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. ...
feature CREATION OF ANTIMATTER - CERN have announced that they have passed through nature's looking glass and created atoms made of antimatter, or anti-atoms ...
feature REFUGEES ARE NON-PERSONS - taking photographs that could "humanise or personalise" asylum seekers has been banned by former defense minister Peter Reith's office in Australia ...
feature WHAT IS - WHAT IS NOT? - a story about an encounter and about trying to differ between fact and non-fact ...
feature THE RIGHT NOT TO BE BORN - the French parliament has passed a bill that states that "nobody can claim to have been harmed simply by being born". the extraordinary bill was a response to a conviction by the French supreme court that is said to have established the right not to be born ...
feature THE 11,202,803 CHILDREN - who were born out of nothing during the 31 days of Mars 2002 ...
feature NOTHING I KNOW / SOMETHING I DONíT KNOW - by Graham Gussin ...
feature THE NOTHING OF TERROR AND RESPONS ON TERROR - the World Trade Center - Afghanistan and on ...
feature THE POTENT NOTHING OF CYBERSPACE - this virtual reality in which we now are taking part ...

feature NOTHING AT ROOSEUM, Malmö's Center for Contemporary Art, 3 November - 16 December, 2001. works by 35 artists exploring notions of invisibility, imagination and dematerialisation ...

- consisting of two Irish green, empty tents, one raised outside Atelier 35 in Bucharest, and one inside the gallery space ...

- containing, among other things, a motorway, ten tents, a text discussion and an internet diary ...


- suggestions is gratefully accepted!

foreningen av ingenting -  association of nothing
foreningen av ingenting -  association of nothing
the association of nothing

| welcome | center to nothing | nothing featured | guide to nothing | is initiated by the association of nothing, org. NO-982315999, updated 12 Aug 2004