After having his exhibit shut down twice in New York, Bilal has brought his controversial interactive video game to his hometown Chicago. “Virtual Jihad” is a hacked version of the Al-Qaeda video game “The Night of Bush Capturing” with Bilal as the main character, a man whose brother dies in Iraq and who joins the Al-Qaeda to hunt down Bush. Most people who have viewed this exhibit in the past have called it pro-terrorism, but in reality it shows how susceptible Iraqi citizens are to recruitment by terrorist units. Death and destruction within their society causes them to join something to make it stop out of desperation rather than hate for Americans. Bilal’s video game is indeed hard and frustrating with the Bush troops, literally soldiers with George Bush’s face on them, relentlessly pursuing your character and quickly killing him without mercy. For those who find the creation of this game appalling, Bilal reminds us that America has produced similar games, such as “Quest for Saddam,” which continue racial profiling and generalizations against the Iraqi public. It is encouraging to other controversial artists that Bilal’s work is being shown without censorship by Flatfile so that his message is finally able to be heard clearly. (Amy Dittmeier)
Through August 22 at Flatfile Galleries, 217 N. Carpenter, (312)491-1190.