Ritta Baddoura

Hitch-hiking on a M85 Route. A Road Trip Attempt
in Five Movements and a Finale (Excerpts)

Prelude: We are all gathered here for a reason.
Movement 1: Poetry meets cluster bombs. July 2006, stuck in my Beirut apartment, I start a blog: “Ritta amidst the bombs.”
Movement 2: Poetry meets Cluster Bomb meet Memory. Do War Children ever escape a M85 trajectory?
Movement 3: Poetry meets Cluster Bomb meet Memory meet TV-Robot. No antivirus against the kamikaze.
Movement 4: Poetry meets Cluster Bomb meet Memory meet TV-Robot meet the Einsele Family tree. Can a group of fragments reconstitute the (w)hole?
Movement 5: Poetry meets Cluster Bomb meet Memory meet TV-Robot meet Einsele Family Tree meet Zenon’s arrow. How Lukas Einsele’s[1] work reverses Zenon’s arrow’s paradox. Finale: Hijacking a M85[2] route.


Thank you all for being here.

We are all gathered here for a reason.

We invited you to join us this evening to let you know that, unfortunately, we won’t have the time or the means to look after you anymore. Gradually, you became more and more useless to our society. Furthermore, there are too many people on the planet and too many diseases, as I’m sure you all agree.

First, we thought the Internet would be the key to escaping the catastrophe, but we made a mistake. Selling artworks was a huge failure. This is why we finally decided to give you this intensive training, which might be the only way for us to take care of you again. You’ll be promoted to level 2 if you all succeed today.

No need to write down notes, the 3D-PDF of this training has been already sent to your email addresses.

All your thoughts and emotions are being registered by our TV Robots.

Just focus on this screen and do your best to be part of the solution.

Movement 1: Poetry meets cluster bombs

In the middle of what is now known as the July 2006 war, stuck in my Beirut apartment, I start a poetry blog: “Ritta amidst the bombs.” A blog among so many other blogs. A war among so many other numerous wars.

Lesson 1: A long, long time ago, I used to be a poet.

Now the old methods are used only as a warm-up to loosen minds before the real thing comes along.

Today, you also have the chance of taking another way. Ok, let’s start shall we?

I’d like you to repeat after me:


I did not know God before the satellites
Now God blows his nose in front of me all the time

Afternoon in my bed I inflate my
I feel like a woman amidst the bombs

It's good to be addicted to an electric chair

Surfing on the highways I collect
Weeds ablaze
Funny it is so hot
My Silicon melts
By land or by sea terrorists are beardless

Voyeuse at my window
Slashed to skirts of whirling dervishes like helicopters
Thighs and purses they stuffed with Persian missiles
Might as well evacuate American ex-pats

At the fort's foreskin
The flag sees yellow it flogs the wind
Sanayeh garden
Kids suck
M85 cough drops harvested from the fields

Movement 2: Poetry meets Cluster Bomb meet Memory

Do War Children ever escape a M85 trajectory?

All these circuits, links, arrows, resemble brain neuro-chemical and electric interactions.

Whether in the US, in the Middle East, in Italy, Germany, or Eastern Europe, we are all war children or war grandchildren. We all have inherited memories of exploded bombs, and unconscious awareness of unexploded bombs, these non-identified objects with a life and death of their own, which have the ability to bring the past into the present at any moment. The visibility of these bombs lies in the vivid memory of war in the minds, the scars left as fragments of the wounds, as a potentiality that can invade the present and reactivate itself at any moment.

M85, like all bombs, has a physical effect but also a long-lasting symbolic effect since it remains and inhabits the territories: fear, terror, hatred.

It is able to contaminate virtually, therefore penetrating and fragmenting the thoughts and the persistence of danger.

Memory is then projected and represented in the outside world with concrete fragments that are also ways of remembering what has happened, concrete memory that occupies and invades space.

So, let’s attempt to situate ourselves on a M85 trajectory, each with their own life, memory, identity.

War is an event affecting our senses, our perception of reality and our imaginary world.

The real war is neuro-chemical as it exists, is witnessed, survives and persists by means of emotions and information in the brain.

War extends its space to our memory and M85 are her robotic—both real and virtual—agents.

War itself functions symbolically and cognitively as a cluster bomb, leaving infinite fragments of micro wars, of her offspring, which therefore coexist with humans, dominate their fate, as the element of surprise and of unpredictability lies on their side.

War persists in memory like undercover Russian dolls. As we all learned today, the two functions of M85 are: to penetrate armor and to create fragmentation for an anti-personal/ anti-material effect. If we become beings beyond personal and beyond material, no bomb can ever hit us.

Shall we all say together:

Memory is the immaculate mop.

[1] Lukas Einsele is a German visual artist working on cluster bombs. As part of the show Territories of the In/Human, one of his installations was exhibited, realized within his work on M85.

[2] M85 is a kind of cluster bomb with a self-destruct mechanism.

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