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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

TV Personalities: An Al Mutannabi Inventory

These are some early spreads from the TV Personalities book I'm making for An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street. Al Mutanabbi Street was where the booksellers of Baghdad used to gather, a street that came under increasing threat after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Then in 2007 it was bombed, its shopkeepers and customers targeted in a celebration of brutality and ignorance. 

The pictures are from British Television, and refer to events between 2000 and 2006. The texts are fragments of books I read from 2008 to the present day, little slivers of clarity that provide a narrative to events where there are no heroes, only victims of violence, opportunism and still more ignorance.

It seemed fitting to me that these words, sentences and paragraphs should keep an integrity and provide a context for the TV images - a context that is somehow more perspicacious and truthful than that provided by the original broadcasters at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. You can blow a book to bits, but still the truth will out. That's what I like to think anyway.


Deborah Parkin Photography said...

That's what I like to think too. I love this idea Colin - would really like to see this book in the flesh. I was heavily pregnant with Abe when I sat down at lunchtime saw the breaking news of 9/11 - soon after that I had a baby boy - tv was always on, allowing me some semblance of the outside world (you feel really cut off when you first have a baby) - it seems mad to think of teletubbies & war in the same context - but when I think back to that time - that is exactly the images that would flicker in my mind - this was our (tv) culture of the time. I think this is a wonderful project - & although struggling with getting a perfect book made myself, I am so pleased to be a part of something so positive.

colin pantall said...

Thanks for putting me on to it, Deborah. It's always good to have something to aim for and this is such a great project. Nothing is going to be perfect, least of all mine.

911 and Teletubbies is a great combination - I've got all these ridiculous fake photos from the time of Issy in a high chair with Katherine reading the paper and Saddam's statue toppling over. Dodgy as you like!