For six weeks in February and March, visitors to Jeremy Deller’s show at the New Museum, It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq, could speak with an alternating cast of soldiers, journalists, scholars, and Iraqi nationals and refugees about the situation in Iraq and the country’s culture and history. The exhibition also featured a car that had been mangled by a suicide bomber attacking a famous book market on March 7th, 2007 (38 people were killed in the explosion).
When the show at the New Museum closed, Deller – together with Iraqi artist and translator Esam Pasha, US veteran of the Iraq War Sergeant Jonathan Harvey, and Creative Time curator Nato Thompson – towed the car on a flatbed trailer from New York to Los Angeles on a three week road trip, making numerous stops along the way to discuss the war with people across the country.
Deller, together with Emanuel Almborg, has recently finished a film featuring six of the participants in this complex and ongoing conversation reflecting both on their experiences in Iraq and on their discussions with visitors to the show. The film can be seen on Emanuel’s website.