Last year I interviewed an artist (Tania Bruguera) who'd played Russian roulette as an artwork—not once, but twice! No one I spoke to outside the art world seemed to get it, piling on incensed superlatives of outrage and accusations of insanity. Tania, very appropriately, called her performance “Self-Sabotage”. And recently, with what’s happening in Lebanon, I could think of no other work that sums up the situation there so succinctly and powerfully: the entire country is playing Russian roulette! Not once, not twice, not three or four or five times, but… But how do you even count this? By cars? By people? By days? And where do you even start? Every time I hear about another car bomb in Lebanon I feel like another gun went off at my temple. But it’s not my life that’s at stake here; it’s the lives of my loved ones. This time they’re safe, and the last time they were, too; and the time before that… But how many times can we all play this insane game of collective Russian roulette before we all lose together?
January 21, 2014)