videography by Amira Soliman
"He lives out in BFE."
In the Midwest and other parts of the US, 'BFE' is slang for a location in the middle of nowhere; far from the familiar; a place with no relevant social assets: 'Butt Fuck, Egypt.' This ‘backwards’ pairing not only implicitly attacks sexuality by targeting homosexuality, but also the Middle East by targeting Egypt - all things foreign.
Ironically, to many in the US and surely the world, The Midwestern state of Ohio (where I grew up with the term) would perfectly fit the definition – a place where life is typified by tv, beer, and cars. Yet, in numerous presidential elections, Ohio has been pivotal in determining America’s leadership and political agenda, with voters’ perceptions of terrorism and the post-9/11 world playing a strong part in that.
Columbus, Ohio’s Budweiser factory by I-270 is a powerful, ongoing symbol of the above tensions in holding together the tragic icon of the World Trade Center attack with the rampant vices of typical America. In BFE USA, this is ‘framed’ by an on-site installation and performance on video, and 'underscored' by a politically lucid Osama Bin Laden speech released during the 2004 election which received little substantive media attention apart from being cast in religious-extremist terms.