Wafaa Bilal, an artist in Chicago (IL, US), has a Web site where visitors can aim a gun that shoots paint balls. Cute, hunh? Well, Mr. Bilal lives in the room where the visitors can shoot the gun. People from around the world are shooting.
Bilal will confine himself to the gallery space. During the installation, people will have 24-hour virtual access to the space via the Internet. They will have the ability to watch Bilal and interact with him through a live web-cam and chat room. Should they choose to do so, viewers will also have the option to shoot Bilal with a paintball gun, transforming the virtual experience into a very physical one. Bilal’s self imposed confinement is designed to raise awareness about the life of the Iraqi people and the home confinement they face due to the both the violent and the virtual war they face on a daily basis.
Apparently, members of Mr. Bilal’s family have been killed over the past couple of years in Iraq.
Mr. Bilal calls his installation the “Paintball Project,” but it’s also known as “Domestic Tension” and it’s linked from “Crudeoils.” Whatever is its official name, there’s not only the live interaction, but also asychonous communication via a blog. In addition, Mr. Bilal has posted videos on Youtube (link for archive).
Flash of the electrons to Keri Lydersen’s Antiwar Art in a New Medium: Paintball-on-Web from the Washington (DC, US) Post for the lead. In addition to the Post, the installation has attracted a lot of attention: Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, CBS in Chicago, NBC 5 (IL), New Kerala (India), and (no surprise) Fox TV news..