“Popular Legacy” is a study for a memorial. The exhibition and accompanying publication, Information Center, are composed primarily of reproductions of documents taken from an abandoned Iraqi embassy in former East Berlin, and materials related to the history of memorialization in Germany and the bureaucracy governing that process. “Popular Legacy” is also a study for what is not, cannot, and perhaps should not be a memorial. The exhibition and this publication consider the way in which historical meaning is consolidated and fixed to certain symbols, documents, monuments, ruins, procedures, and discourses; how that meaning might be loosed from such forms, circulated by other means and to divergent ends. The title “Popular Legacy” is taken from a magazine of folklore produced by Iraq’s Ministry of Culture and Information in the 1970s and 80s.
“Popular Legacy” consists of five chapters.
Source Decay (Iraq and International Politics, 1981), diptych with found object and archival inkjet print in hinged frame, 23 x 32 cm, displayed on book mount.
Source Decay (The History of the Liberation, 1988), diptych with found object and archival inkjet print in hinged frame, 31 x 48 cm, displayed on book mount.
Source Decay (“The first batch of refrigerators produced by the company that can compete with foreign-produced refrigerators in specifications and durability,” publication and date unknown), diptych with found object and archival inkjet print in hinged frame, 22 x 58 cm, displayed on book mount.
The Nation Must Be Taught to Be Terrified of Itself, historical terms from the discourse around memorialization in Germany printed on four vinyl banners, 61 x 183 cm each; filing cabinets with faux-marble finish, size variable.
A False Sense of Continuity, two double-sided screen prints on plexiglass, 61 x 61 cm each.
Information Center, twenty-page newsprint tabloid, 28 x 43 cm.
Uncorrected Proofs, the first iteration of a print-on-demand library consisting of reproductions of books taken from the abandoned Iraqi embassy in former East Berlin. Books can be purchased and PDFs of individual books can be downloaded by clicking on the titles below.
Republic of Iraq Ministry of Information, Al-Faw: The History of the Liberation. Baghdad: Dar al Ma’moun Publishers and Translators, Al-Huria Printing House, 1988.
Khomeini Covers Defeat by Crime (publisher and date unknown)
Saddam Hussein, The Arabs and the Leading Role in the Message of Islam. Baghdad: Al-Huria Printing House, 1983.
Libyan National Movement, The Voice of the Vanguard, 1981.
Republic of Iraq Ministry of Information, Writing on the Banks of the Euphrates. Baghdad: 1975.
Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, An Introduction to a Collective Endeavor. Riyadh: The Printing Press of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, 1987.
The Euphrates Crisis: History and Figures. Baghdad: Dar al Thawra, 1975.
The Central Office for Guidance and Media, The Arab Revolutionary. Baghdad: 1989.
Republic of Iraq Ministry of Information, Confrontation and Liberation. Baghdad: Al-Huria Printing House, 1978.
Almost All Right (The Symbolism of the Ugly and Ordinary), color video, silent, 3:30, with text by Robert Venturi and John Ruskin.
Marking the Site of the Original Event, archival inkjet print, 55 x 110 cm.
“Popular Legacy” was produced under the auspices of the art and research program of Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, and exhibited there from July 13 until September 30, 2012 (see below for installation documentation). Information Center is designed by Alex Lesy. The archival footage of East Berlin’s Palace of the Republic in Almost All Right (The Symbolism of the Ugly and Ordinary) is used courtesy of the DEFA Foundation. The Nation Must Be Taught to Be Terrified of Itself and A False Sense of Continuity employ digital adaptations of standard West German typefaces (Times, Futura, Cst Berlin West OT) and derivative East German typefaces (Timeless, Drescher Grotesk, Cst Berlin East OT). Information Center utilizes Times New Roman, designed by the British foundry Monotype in 1932; Timeless, the East German derivative created by Berlin’s Typoart in 1982; Drescher Grotesk, produced by Arno Drescher for Typoart in the 1930s and later used in East Germany as a substitute for Futura; Cst Berlin East and Cst Berlin West, designed in 2000 by Ole Schäfer and Verena Gerlach after the street signs characteristic of those cities and used courtesy of FontFont. All work was made in 2012.