Counter-actualization: The art of Wafaa Bilal

Jane Jagodzinski


In this essay I attempt to explicate the Deleuzian concept of counter-actualization as developed in his The Logic of Sense through the performative art of Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi born artist who now teaches at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. I try to articulate what Deleuze means by an event, and how we might come to understand counter-actualization that draws on the event as an ethical gesture that overcomes forms of ressentiment. I do this by carefully examining two performance pieces by Wafaa Bilal: Domestic Tension (aka,To Shoot an Iraqi) as well as …and Counting, which are intimately related to each other.

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