group show: opera austria - museo luigi pecci - Prato, 2005


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Searching "extraordinary rendition" on, 2005/06

wall painting, certificate of authenticity (acrylic paint on wall - dimension variable, here over 5 meter high)

('extraordinary rendition' is a program by the CIA to interrogate people in countries other than the USA. - in most cases this involves

torture and murder)

<wall paintings are part of my work since the late 1980s>


Homeland Security I - V, 2004

dvd, 5 clips, less then 2 min




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Homeland Security, I - V, 2003 dvd;

each video segment is less then 2 minutes long.

This video series represents a continuation of my language based video works entitled "Basic Feelings" and "Basic Conflicts" . The principle is always the same: a given sentence is uttered by me in all 11 of the languages I have been learning so far. In a situation comparable with that of a language lab, I repeat the same sentence in all these different languages touching on humor, absurdity and paranoia. With this new set of "homeland security" clips, filmed as police mug shots, I am making references to the newly created department of Homeland Security, that is most likely to bring us some kind of a quasi-totalitarian Big Brother police apparatus. Our homes will be subject to digital data mining and endless profiling - in a phrase: "homeless security," since it is becoming harder to feel our homes are actually home.
My 'homeland security" sequences start with Arabic, a language I have been learning only since 2001 and then ends with the more familiar ones. The sentences are simple and express a degree of paranoia: "I am not a terrorist" (1), "I am not a religious fanatic" (2), "I don't give money to terrorist networks" (3), "I don't know how to build bombs" (4) and "I am not downloading dangerous information from the Internet".
Rainer Ganahl


Each segment is individual but can also be shown together.











Bicycling Damascus is my second video - after Bicycling Tirana - for which I visit a city with a bicycle. I bicycle against the traffic while filming without holding the steering wheel. I drive for 90 minutes around this ancient city filming directly across the steering wheel thus rendering it into cross hairs. This brings me through a variety of different neighborhoods and places that give a cityscape quite surprising to see. This risky and unlawful engagement with the bicycle, the city and my camera creates an anti-gravitational epic of traffic jams, busy people and a colorful middle eastern street live in a country, the US State Department considers to be involved with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

(Syria indeed does have very bad human right reports and still has to come to terms with the massacre of Hama, a rebellious city where president Assad ordered 1982 the killing of around 40.000 inhabitants.)

The bicycle is not only my unique vehicle of transportation but also my urban eyeglass - some extension of my visual and acoustic organs. As such it is a real social urban interface. I'm a bicycle rider since early childhood. My first birthday present I remember was a bicycle. I have never stayed in a place for long without a bicycle, including in Tokyo where I was harassed daily by the police for riding a bicycle. (I was considered a bicycle thief).

The bicycle I used in Damascus was lent to me. I hired it for half the price of a new Syrian bicycle. The bicycle was lent to me by a tailor. Syria has a beautiful domestic bicycle production. They all look the same but don't even function as new one's in the shop. The more useable bicycles are now imported from China. (I hope I don't offend anybody with my comment but unfortunately, that was my experience: Ii fell in love with the local 'every body the same bicycle' but I came to understand that it was nearly impossible to ride them, nothing functioned properly - that kept me from buying one, from exporting one)

A part from this lousy = expensive = lending practice, the bicycle lent to me was very bad. Not only did it have barely any breaks but also, the bicycle was shaking to the point of falling off. It took me about one hour to get used to it. Riding without holding the steering wheel requires a bicycle that is stable and predictable, in particular if one drives dangerously.

This bicycle was shaking nonstop and performed quite dangerously. I had a couple of quasi-accidents and falloffs.

In the end I survived.. - voila la video (close window to return)

(an extract of 3 min - the total is 90 min - unedited)







differnt neighborhoods.. some can be very wealthy ... (if Bush invades Syria, they would be turned into "green zones")