Installation's Application URL

Installation Statement

This installation looks at the dark rationality of suicide bombers. Rarely just ignorant religious fanatics, they are often educated people from sensible backgrounds. Underneath their suicide vests and bomb belts they are the same flesh as you. Stripped bare of their identities and their troubled motivations - robbed of their camouflage, kaftans and burkas - they are just men, women and children, humans driven to an inhumane act by something we do not fully understand.

But who chooses the suicide bomber? Who selects the next murder-suicide? Who sends these evil weapons into battle?

In Sri Lanka, the Black Tigers hold a lottery to see which of them will be sent on the next suicide mission. In Palestine it can be as simple as the next angry young man who walks in and asks for a bomb vest. In this installation it is you.

Suicide attacks are nothing new. Since the dawn of ideology, people have been sacrificing themselves to kill their enemies.

In Biblical times, for example, Samson collapsed the temple of the Philistines from the inside; during the Crusades, a Templar warship self-detonated in the middle of a Saracen fleet in the Mediterranean; and in World War 2, Japanese Kamikaze pilots were the divine wind hoping to blow the US Navy out of the Pacific.

But modern suicide bombing is different. More ruthless, less directed, it is an expression of rage and terror. Civilians are being deliberately killed. No longer are they innocent bystanders. They are targets. And they are also weapons.

Because anyone can be a suicide bomber. And anyone has been.

Since the first modern suicide bombing in 1981, we have seen people from all walks of life - men, women and children - turn themselves into walking bombs.

The Western World has sanitized and glorified most violence for the purposes of entertainment, but in the brutal, real world of asymmetric warfare there is no saved game, no second life, no repeat showing at the weekend. The deaths are real, the bloodshed irreversible. There is no going back once the decision to detonate has been made.

With just a click of a button, as easily as you click this mouse, somebody, somewhere, makes a decision to end their life and the lives of those around them. In many conflict-torn countries, it is easier to buy a bomb than it is to buy a computer.

In Iraq in May 2007, 302 people were killed by suicide bombs*, nearly 10 people every day. And that's just in one month in Iraq, the most heavily militarised and occupied country in the world.

Suicide bombers cannot be defeated by conventional armies. They cannot be controlled by force. They cannot be predicted.

They can be anyone.

*, minimum estimate.

Installation Description

The installation comes on a small computer with a touchscreen. The computer is built from component parts strung together in a bomb-belt on a sexless mannequin. The touch screen is on the mannequin's chest. Wires run everywhere. The computer is the bomb.

Small cards are placed next to the installation for people to take away. They are fake membership or business cards highlighting the potential for desperate acts within all of us and inviting people to URL to re-view the installation.

Documents to download

Adam Buczek CV (word doc)

Richard Beer CV (word doc)

Work statement and description (word doc)

©2008 Adam Buczek & Richard Beer