Iraqi Artist Turns Saddam Hussein’s Propaganda Music into Pop, Jazz & Lounge-Style Love Songs

As ISIS car­ries out its reign of ter­ror in Syr­ia and Iraq, many diplo­mats prob­a­bly would­n’t mind rolling the cal­en­dar back to 2003 — to what now look like sim­pler times. If you’re feel­ing strange­ly nos­tal­gic for the Sad­dam era, you’ll want to check out videos from “Three Love Songs,” an art instal­la­tion staged in Doha (2010) and Lon­don (2013) by the Iraqi visu­al artist Adel Abidin. Here is how he describes the exhi­bi­tion:

 This piece exam­ines ter­ror and love, and how façades are played through song, specif­i­cal­ly Iraqi songs that were com­mis­sioned by Sad­dam Hus­sein, used to glo­ri­fy the regime dur­ing the decades of his rule. The instal­la­tion syncs three styl­ized music videos (lounge, jazz and pop) that each fea­tures an arche­typ­al west­ern chanteuse: young, blonde, and seduc­tive. Each video’s dra­mat­ic “look” cre­ates a dif­fer­ent atmos­phere but the songs ded­i­cat­ed to Sad­dam Hus­sein tie them togeth­er. The lyrics are sung by the per­form­ers in Ara­bic (Iraqi dialect) and are sub­ti­tled in Eng­lish and Ara­bic. The singers do not know what they are singing about, but they are direct­ed to per­form (though voice and ges­ture) as though the songs were tra­di­tion­al, pas­sion­ate love songs. It is this uncom­fort­able jux­ta­po­si­tion — between the lush visu­al roman­ti­cism and the harsh mean­ing of the lyrics, between the seduc­tion of the per­former and com­pre­hen­sion of the view­er — that forms the main con­cep­tu­al ele­ment of this work.

Above and below, you can see out­takes from the video instal­la­tions in “Three Love Songs.” You’ve got your lounge tune up top. Jazz and Pop below.



via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the CIA Turned Doc­tor Zhiva­go into a Pro­pa­gan­da Weapon Against the Sovi­et Union

Win­sor McCay Ani­mates the Sink­ing of the Lusi­ta­nia in a Beau­ti­ful Pro­pa­gan­da Film (1918)

Titan­ic: The Nazis Cre­ate a Mega-Bud­get Pro­pa­gan­da Film About the Ill-Fat­ed Ship … and Then Banned It (1943)

Don­ald Duck’s Bad Nazi Dream and Four Oth­er Dis­ney Pro­pa­gan­da Car­toons from World War II

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