Walid Raad (Ra’ad) born 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon, is a contemporary media artist.
The Atlas Group is a fictional collective, the work of which is produced by Walid Raad.
His works to date include video, photography and literary essays. All, in one way or another, deal with the contemporary history of Lebanon with particular emphasis on the wars in Lebanon between 1975 to 1991.
The work is also often concerned with the representation of traumatic events of collective historical dimensions; and the ways film, video, and photography function as documents of physical and psychological violence. He is also a member of the Arab Image Foundation.
Raad received his BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989. He went on to complete his MA and Ph.D. in Cultural and Visual Studies at the University of Rochester in 1993 and 1996, respectively.
His works have been exhibited at Documenta 11 (Kassel), The Venice Biennale (Venice), The Whitney Biennial (New York), The Ayloul Festival (Beirut, Lebanon), Home Works (curated by Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon) and numerous other festivals in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
He lives and works in New York, where he is currently an associate professor at the Cooper Union School of Art.
Raad’s video works include Talaeen a Junuub (Up to the South) (Salloum/Raad, 60 min., 1993), I Think It Would Be Better If I Could Weep (6 min.18sec., 2000) a collection of video shorts titled The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs (Raad, 18 min., 1996–1999), and Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (Raad/Bachar), 18 min., 2000).
Mixed-media projects include The Atlas Group:
Documents from The Atlas Group Archive (1999 to the present), The Loudest Muttering Is Over: Documents from The Atlas Group Archive (2001 to the present), and My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair (2004).
He also founded The Atlas Group in 1999, an imaginary foundation whose objective is to research and document Lebanon‘s contemporary history. The Altas Group is primarily presented through lectures that include films, photography exhibitions, videos, and a variety of documents from the group‘s archives who contains authored, found, and newly produced files. More recently, certain sections of the archive have been the object of a number of installations in museum spaces.
Under the name of Atlas Group, Raad made a series of books published by Walther König: a sort of imaginary collection of Dr. Fakhouri’s found notebooks reports on Lebanon’s 14 year war.
As a member of the Arab Image Foundation, Walid Raad has co-curated with Akram Zaatari the exhibition titled Mapping Sitting: On portraiture and Photography, an investigation in Arab photography and its relationship to questions of identity.
In June 2009, “The Atlas Group (1989-2004)” exhibition opened at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. Undertaken by Raad, the project aimed to research and document the contemporary history of Lebanon, specifically the years between 1975 and 1991. The exhibition – consisting of installations, videos, and photographs – attempts to draw awareness to the various ways in which history is told, organized, and sometimes manipulated.
Raad has collaborated with Chinese American artist David Diao, and their work was shown in fall 2012 at Paula Cooper Gallery.
- Hasselblad Award. 2011
- Alpert Award for Visual Arts from the Herb Alpert Foundation. 2007 (Winner)
- Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for 2007 (First Prize)
- Rencontres d’Arles (2006), “Lauréat d’Aide au projet” (Help for a new project), Arles
- Camera Austria Award (2005)
- Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival. 2002 (First Prize)
- Vidarte 2002 Festival, Mexico City, Mexico. 2002 (First Prize)
- Oneiras Film and Video Festival, Lisboa, Portugal. 2002 (First Prize)
- Media Arts Awards, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany. 2002 (Special Prize)
- Black Maria Festival, 2002. (Juror Citation Award)
- Video Ex, Zurich, Switzerland, 2001. (First Prize)
- Oberhausen Film and VideoFest, Oberhausen, Germany, 2001 (Rhineland Award)
- San Francisco International Film Festival, SF, CA, USA, 2000 (Certificate of Merit)
- 5th Biennial of Arab Cinemas, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2000 (Special Jury Prize)
- VideoEx, Zurich, Switzerland, 2000. (First Prize)
- 8th Biennial of the Moving Image, Switzerland, 1999. (Grand Prize)
- Beirut Film Festival, Beirut, Lebanon, 1999. (Best Short Film and Best Scenario for a Short Film)
- Black Maria Film and Video Festival, New Jersey, 1999. (Director’s Citation)
- Missouri Video Festival, St. Louis, MO, 1998. (Award of Accomplishment Experimental)
- New England Film and Video Festival, Boston, MA, 1997. (Best Conceptual Innovation Award)