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Abdul, Lida (1973-)
What we saw upon awakeningDate: 2006
Movement: Conceptual art
Theme: Other/Unknown theme
Museum: Private collection
Location: No info
In a monumental projection, What We Saw Upon Awakening (2006), Abdul documents a surreal performance of destruction of the ruins of a building. The performance begins with a close-up of men dressed in traditional black clothing, moving with Herculean effort. As the camera moves out, we become aware that the men are holding white ropes and pulling on the ruins of a house (one that was destroyed by a recent bombing in Kabul). Over the course of six soundless minutes, we watch this group in a dance that is poignant and futile â€“ their actions a sorrowful metaphor for the attempt to survive amidst the ravages of war. The performance ends with the burying of a white stone that is perhaps an act of closure or a moment of communal healing. The ritual and repetition of their actions, combined with the looping of the work, seem an acknowledgment by Abdul of the fate of Afghanis: despite their striving to gain control through acts of sheer resilience and compulsive gestures, she points to the complex processes of survival and recovery.
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