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MediaWatch:Art
Iraqi Diary
Artist Invites You to "Shoot an Iraqi"
Chicago Installation Allows Web Viewers to Splatter Wafaa Bilal With Paintball
05/24/2007 4:27 PM ET
CHICAGO - MAY 18: Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal keeps low to prevent from getting shot by paintballs as he moves around in his Domestic Tension exhibit at the Flatfile galleries May 18, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty
CHICAGO - MAY 18: Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal keeps low to prevent from getting shot by paintballs as he moves around in his Domestic Tension exhibit at the Flatfile galleries May 18, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal has now nearly reached the halfway mark of the 42 days he plans to spend allowing strangers to fire balls of paint at him over the Internet as the main attraction in his art installation "Domestic Tension."

When Bilal originally conceived of the project, he wanted to call it "Shoot an Iraqi," since that is part of point of the piece, but the owner of the Flatfile Galleries in Chicago wasn't entirely comfortable with the implications of such a name.

In Domestic Tension, viewers can log on to his Website 24 hours a day to interact with Bilal through a live web-cam and chat room, or to shoot him with a paintball gun.

Bilal designed his self-imposed confinement to raise awareness about the lives of Iraqi people and the home confinement they face due to the both the violent and the virtual war they face on a daily basis.

From his sparsely furnished virtual room, Bilal faces hundreds of paint ball pellets every day, mostly launched by anonymous viewers worldwide.

In a recent video blog, it appeared that the constant barrage of "gunfire" had begun to take a toll. Bilal looked exhausted, discussing how he was thinking to rig a rope to tie himself to the bed so he wouldn't wake up disoriented and sit up in bed--a move that puts his head in the direct sights of the gun.

Bilal fled Iraq during the Persian Gulf war, eventually settling in America.

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