Kilid, Installation. Aluminum Board, Colored Lightbulbs in Green, White, and Red, Keys, 640 x 260 cm

Kilid, 2004 FAR AND NEAR DISTANCE, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, Germany, شهرام انتخابی
Kilid, 2007 Krieg der Knöpfe, Landesgalerie Linz, Austria, شهرام انتخابی
Kilid, 2006 Krieg der Knöpfe, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, شهرام انتخابی
kilid, 2007, installation Buttons Århus Kunstbygning Center for Contemporary Art, Denmark, شهرام انتخابی
Kilid, 2005, installation Former GDR-Watchtower Berlin-Treptow, شهرام انتخابی
Kilid, 2004
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
Kilid, 2007
Krieg der Knöpfe
Landesgalerie, Linz, Austria
Kilid, 2006
Krieg der Knöpfe
Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Germany
Kilid, 2007, installation Buttons
Århus Kunstbygning
Center for Contemporary Art, Denmark
Kilid, 2005, installation
Former GDR-Watchtower
Berlin-Treptow, Germany

Click on Installation views to enlarge


Light, colour, hyperbolic scale: a monumental installation in the shape of a key with light-letters and objects inside it. I recall as many awful kitschy Christmas decorations in the front gardens of wealthy American homes in exclusive neighbourhoods. There, too, the American flag blatantly appears alongside Father Christmas. Light is a tool for perception, but it can also be used to deceive the eye. Colours are joyful aspects of everyday life, but they can also be used as symbols, and invoke a partisanship the consequences of which are often ill understood.
There is no direct causal relationship between such rallying lights and young people’s willingness to fight, kill and die for what those bright colours stand for that they loved as children. But Bush’s youngsters respond to that appeal, as do Allah’s adolescent fans. The keys lying around this gallery floor key us in on what happens between those two moments in life. The indirect link is seduction.
Many cultures have martyrs who have been seduced into willingness to die in the name of some grandiose power that shines brightly and beautifully with promises of belonging. To call this sordid waste of human life martyrdom points to something that is not exclusively a Muslim tool of seduction: the conjunction of religion and nation, the former misused as a promise that the latter cannot deliver. Paradise is one word for the fiction on the other side of the key, freedom another.

Mieke Bal is Professor of Theory of Literature and a founding director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).