Carpets made in Afghanistan have a history of representing the imagery of war, but a recent work by artist Jim Ricks gives a conceptual perspective to this tradition. Carpet Bombing is a giant, handmade rug that depicts a “Drone Survival Guide” created by Amsterdam-based designer Ruben Pater. Pater’s diagram is a one-page illustration of various drone aircrafts, which references similar guides that were used to identify aircrafts in past wars. Ricks traveled to Afghanistan, where the drones on Pater’s survival guide are in use, to have a rug made by Kabul-based Haji Naseer and Sons Carpet Makers.
There’s more to Carpet Bombing than the illustration of a poignant pun, as Ricks tells The Creators Project, “I think there is a tendency to ‘read’ the carpet like a poster and stop there. What I think is important about the piece is that not only is the graphic appropriated, it is always shown horizontal and flat in the gallery, as a carpet should be, thus reversing the observer from drone back to human again, and that it can be sat or walked on, activating the work in the way that is in keeping with the Persian carpet as a social space.”
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