Notes Antic Disposition

The worst condition

Did Saddam unconsciously model aspects of his regime on science fiction from Western pop culture? That's the subject of an exhibition at the Tate Modern by Michael Rakowitz, which draws from apparent influences on the Iraqi military industrial aesthetic, such as Star Wars, WWF wrestling, and Jules Verne novels.

In New Scientist, Jessica Griggs asks - was Darth Vader Saddam Hussein's ultimate hero?

Coming out of the show, I immediately thought that fun as this was, surely Rakowitz must have been putting us on. But a bit of digging shows that a surprising amount of it is true. Apparently Rakowitz, who describes himself as a cultural archaeologist, got the idea for the show while surfing eBay when he came across an American soldier auctioning what looked like Darth Vader's helmet.