Mounir Fatmi is considered today as one of the most important conceptual Arab artists experimenting in a rich diverse pool of mediums, from photography to installation, video and animation, books and narrative. He is the model of a young contemporary Arab mind, discussing like many from his generation politics, questioning regimes, pushing boundaries for education, freedom of speech, women and land. He is one of those artists that is in two worlds at the same time - in this globalized world we live in, artists find themselves migrating between very contradicting cities, yet not escaping the mundane geographical labels. Fatmi breaks this stereotypical mold, and celebrate this 'in-betweenness' by merging two worlds, the idea and its origin with a medium that is so irrelevant which gives a whole new meaning to the subject. Books are transformed into bombs, tapes into building, sharp steel blades into ornamental visual delight. He reorients the use of each item and presents it in a new package. A logo becomes a maze of wires, controlling our minds with a certain message, mocking the strength of the mass media and its effect on our life.
The Machinery is a mural wall art installation made up of thirty circular saw blades of different diameters. Here again he picked a tool used in construction, or even destruction and gave it a second skin, a soft layer of beautiful ornamented Arabic calligraphic text. It is a text that evokes knowledge, this knowledge too has the power as a tool if used correctly to construct a person, or if it is understood badly it could lead to an opposite reaction to destroy him. The beauty of the script with highly ornamented features contrasts very strongly with the dangerous and aggressive tool on which it is written. This is the forte of Mounir Fatmi, creating these traps. Both words and saw are vulnerable mediums. When you get too close to the blades, you feel the danger, and when you get too close to knowledge you fear so many things. It is the trap of the 'more you know'. The overall effect of the installation suggests a gear mechanism with power. There is a hint to a deathly movement between these wheels in an organized order of frozen time and movement. This stability also suggests the opposite, the imaginary possibility that this installation might move, and be set to turn, to cut, to shred. Who would be stronger, the words or the metal ? To know or not to know. There is a strong result which one can draw from that in order to be knowledgeable and critical, to reach a wisdom and openness, there is a need to destroy old substance, old rigid, hard ideas, a clean-up of one's negative thoughts and learning's, to start afresh, to read and learn about beauty.