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Mapping The Atlas Group Archive


Mapping The Atlas Group Archive

Connelly, Adrienne (2012) Mapping The Atlas Group Archive. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis explores Walid Raad’s The Atlas Group, a fictional foundation started in Beirut in 1999. The study takes the video document Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (English Version)_#17 and 31 (2001) as a case study to examine Raad’s two contradictory claims about his project: first that the documents in his archive should be considered as hysterical symptoms and second that the project examines the limits of what is sayable and thinkable in relation to the Lebanese civil war(1975-1991). Drawing on the writings of Sigmund Freud and Cathy Caruth, section one considers psychoanalytic conceptions of hysteria as a response to unprocessed traumatic experience. The second section looks at the exclusionary Orientalist discourse of the “Western hostage crisis,” constituted in part by the captivity memoirs published by American hostages held in Beirut in the 1980s, and considers how Raad’s video constitutes what Jacques Rancière terms an act of political subjectivization whereby Bachar’s speech becomes intelligible. The third section looks at these issues in direct relation to the archive and the Iran-contra affair. This thesis argues that The Atlas Group archive is not hysterical, rather the documents are examples of the symbolization of trauma, which is a necessary part of healing, and that through the project, Raad demonstrates the potential of archives as both metaphor and model for contemporary artists interested in engaging with issues of history, memory, and politics.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Connelly, Adrienne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 April 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Huneault, Kristina
Keywords:The Atlas Group, Walid Raad, Western hostage crisis, Iran-contra affair, Archive, Trauma, Discourse, Lebanese civil war
ID Code:973773
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 18:06
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:37


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