Kabul: Selections

Mariam Ghani, Kabul Selections, video still
scene at the Al Fatah polling station in a video still from Kabul: Selections, 2004/7

Kabul: Selections, the third part of Kabul: Partial Reconstructions, investigates the politics of choice during Afghanistan’s first general election, the presidential election of 2004, through video footage of election preparations, voters at the polls, and interviews in the wake of initial reports. The moment of the election and the choices made by politicians and voters in that moment are explored both in the immediacy of election day and also from the retrospective perspective that marks that day as the turning point when trust in the government began to erode, the “open moment” (a period when it is possible to build a completely new system in the wake of disaster) began to close, and the process of post-war reconstruction commenced a decisive downward spiral.

Mariam Ghanim Kabul Selections, installation, underfire
Kabul: Selections, offline browser-based interactive video installation (RT variable) installed on an iMac in a customized election booth (welded rebar frame, fabric panels, wooden desk with ballot holder and slot, and built-in Lexan ballot box) with mouse, ballot postcards and pencils; and interactive website. filmed in 2004, finished in 2006-07

The interactive installation prototype of Kabul: Selections premiered in fall 2006 as part of the Underfire exhibition in Chicago. The online version of the offline prototype launched in winter 2007/8. Both versions included a viewer poll (on ballot cards in the physical installation, and an online form in the web version) that asked viewers a series of multiple-choice questions about their voting habits and feelings around elections.

Mariam Ghani, Kabul: Selections screenshot
screenshot from the browser-based interface of Kabul: Selections (2007)