Display’s creator lives under the gun controlled by Web viewers

Mark Caro in the Chicago-Tribune:

Screenhunter_05_may_11_2008“The first shot and the first hit I got, I said, ‘Why am I doing this?'”

But Iraqi-born Wafaa Bilal has specific political, emotional and artistic reasons for the painfully interactive anti-war installation he has set up in a West Loop gallery at 217 N. Carpenter St. Confining himself from Friday through June 15 in a room at Flatfile Galleries, the 40-year-old Chicago resident has rigged a paintball gun to a Web camera, a computer and a motor, so anyone who clicks on the exhibit’s Web site can aim and fire at him just about 24 hours a day.

The installation is titled “Domestic Tension,” though Bilal says he originally wanted to call it “Shoot an Iraqi.”

“Susan [Aurinko, the gallery director,] said, ‘No way,'” Bilal recalls.

Nevertheless, that’s just what people are doing. As of lunchtime Wednesday, Bilal says, about 1,850 rounds have been fired in the room, mostly at him, though sometimes his table lamp, computer and desk chair get attention as well.

More, including video, here.  [Thanks to Bryon Giddens-White.]