The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs

Walid Ra'ad

1999, 18:00 minutes, colour, Arabic, English


The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs is a three part video project that investigates the possibilities and limits of writing a history of the Lebanese Wars (in three parts), Secrets in the Open Sea and Miraculous Beginnings (in two parts). All are short fake documentaries, hysterical symptoms of sorts, that present imaginary events constructed out of innocent and everyday material. The tapes document fantastic situations that beset a number of individuals during the civil wars. The tapes do not document what happened, but what can be imagined, what can be said, what can be taken for granted, what can appear as rational, sayable and thinkable about the wars.

Part 1. Missing Lebanese Wars (in three parts) depicts events inspired by the diaries of Zainab Fakhouri, Dr. Fadl Fakhouri's wife. Until his death in 1993, Dr. Fakhouri was the foremost historian of the Lebanese civil wars.

Part 2. The events depicted in Secrets in the Open Sea are inspired by the research conducted by a Lebanese institute on a number of large blue photographic prints that were found in the intelligence headquarters of militias that had been active during the Lebanese civil wars.

Part 3. Miraculous beginnings (in two parts) concentrates on a very bizarre roll of film found among the papers of Lebanon's late President Elias Sarkis and on the events surrounding the dismissal in 1996 of a Lebanese security agent from his duties as a surveillance officer.

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