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Disputed Territories (2014)

Anthony Barilla
Year Grant Awarded 2013

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State > TX Zip Code > 77004
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DISPUTED TERRITORIES is an “atlas” in narrative form based on my travel and research in the Balkans, Caucasus, Somaliland, Texas, and elsewhere. It consists of two parts: a book about disputed regions around the world, and a performance piece about that book, American power and responsibility, borders, and territorial conflict. DISPUTED TERRITORIES is the culmination of seven years of personal experience living in and visiting post-conflict regions.

The book is divided into sixteen sections, each examining a different aspect of historical and ongoing disputes in Yugoslavia, Mexico, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere. It incorporates maps, invented histories, extensive footnotes, and personal stories. Major characters in the book include the members of a traveling rock band, Stalin, a number of international aid workers, prostitutes, refugees, the Knights Hospitaller of Malta, Richard Francis Burton, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (the “Mad Mullah”), and my wife.

The accompanying performance piece takes the form of a staged book reading that justifies the creation of the atlas and apologizes for the author's inadequacies as an observer, artist, and citizen of the world. It is a topical work, addressing the United States' role in the world and the status of marginalized communities in our country and abroad. This theatrical performance will be presented in 2015 in a series of small, intimate salons. A very limited edition of the atlas will be produced and given to audience members.