About this project:

Kabul: Selections explores the politics of choice during Afghanistan's first popular election by direct and secret ballot, the presidential election held in October 2004. The video, photographs and audio used in this web project were recorded in a two-week period around election day, October 8th 2004, by artist Mariam Ghani, with the exception of footage linked from the television page, which is used with the permission of the national broadcasting company Afghan Television and Radio. Painted images in the miniature style are reproduced from voter education materials distributed by the Joint Education Management Board before and during the elections.

Kabul: Selections is the fourth section of the kabul-reconstructions.net web project and the third installment of a three-part project, Kabul: Partial Reconstructions, which documents the post-conflict reconstructions of the city of Kabul since 2002 in roughly one-year increments. The first part of the project, Kabul: Reconstructions, looked at the city in a moment of literal reconstruction, premiered at Exit Art in 2003, and was originally active online from 2003-05. The second part of the project, Kabul: Constitutions, examined the construction of architectures of democracy through the place and process of the Afghan constitutional assembly, was first prototyped as an interactive installation at Eyebeam Atelier in 2005, and launched online in 2007. Kabul: Selections, the final part of the project, was first designed as an offline installation for at I Space in Chicago, and launched online in 2008.
*Please note that if you are viewing this project as part of an offline installation, external links will not load into the browser.*

A note on translation:

Most of the videos on this site include footage of on-the-spot translation of any Dari or Pashto conversations. In some cases I have also provided a second, summary translation in the HTML page introducing the video, where there is a conflict between the translation produced from the tapes and the translation provided in the moment. The translators for this project were Aziz Mohammed in Kabul and Bashir Tanin in Munich.

Technical requirements:

You will need the latest version of QuickTime Player (a free download), as well as pop-ups and scripting enabled, to view all the content on this site. A high-speed connection is recommended. (I am hoping to add lo-res versions of media content in another format sometime later in the year.) The site has been designed for screens with minimum 800x600 pixel resolution.


Robert Kluijver, Ingrid Rollema and the Gemak in Den Haag for the current installation fabrication and support; Ryan Griffis, I Space and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the original installation fabrication, coordination and general patience; the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society in Kabul, for the gift of their programs; everyone I interviewed for their generosity; Timor and Fawzia Alam for their help and support; Aziz for heroic driving; Tarek and Paul for riding shotgun; Kawun for the press pass; Hashmat for the trip to Logar; and Ed Potter for advice.

[close this window]