Metaphorical references to inflection, wind, and erosion are important to this artist’s interventionist markmaking. Inflexion would be an elegant scar on the surface of the earth that recalls the land-based practices of Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Morris, and Robert Smithson. Inflexion refers to the power of man to effect change, while suggesting that such alteration is also subject to natural forces beyond human control.
This proposal offers participants an experience that is at once contemplative, yet confrontational. Individual portraits of civilian casualties are presented within a womb-like ribbon, yet juxtaposed with a nearby massive grid of cement forms that hover from a cliff. To experience the piece requires careful movement on a precarious bridge high above a river. The overall experience would elicit a range of emotions not unlike those experienced during the process of trauma and mourning.
Common Thread is grounded in the study of history, politics, and tradition of a specific place, making its visual symbology relevant to the people whom it memorializes. The process of installing the banners throughout Baghdad would likely require negotiation and collaboration with numerous individuals and community and government entities, and therefore operates within a tradition established by Christo and Jean Caude’s Running Fence (1972-76).
This installation poetically translates the number of civilian and military deaths into a visually striking memorial that is layered with meaning. The colored inks, when dropped into the water, are subject to forces beyond their own control—much like civilian victims of war. Flow patterns in science dictate that interaction between cloudy and still bodies of water will result in a form not unlike that of a nuclear mushroom cloud—another reference to the devastation of war. The ongoing movement of the piece allows for meditation on both the beauty of life and the tragedy of death.
Was Too Many pays homage to the centuries-old tradition of presenting the family of a fallen soldier with a flag honoring duty to country. In this installation, however, the banners are not marked by any nationalist insignia; instead they are fragile tissues signifying the innocence of civilians who perished. The collaborative manner of this memorial’s making is crucial to the collective process of mourning and understanding.
Carolyn Brown -
Unfinished Stories: Counting Iraqi Civilians Killed in the War
Stories the language of religion is intertwined with the passage of life. The ritualized process of making undertaken by the artist acknowledges and honors the value of individual human life while struggling with multiplicity and the inability to fathom the substantial number of lives lost.
This singular hanging veil, made with the artist’s own blood, suggests the fragility of human life and alludes to human sacrifice. The spiraling pattern of each fingerprint conveys the energy of life, whose memory is imprinted on the veil.
This call for artists from all countries to create memorial vessels encourages individual reflection on civilian casualties. The mass number of vessels needed would encourage individual creative response and active participation around the globe. Seen together, the installation of ceramics might be compared to a sea of cemetery headstones.
This simple scroll marked by hand with incidents during which life has been lost is both an historical artifact and a reminder of the impacts of war. This densely-handwritten compilation of events leading to death is inversely related to Egyptian Book of the Dead, in which instructions for the afterlife are placed into the burial chamber of a deceased person.
This conceptual sculpture re-visits formalist tenets of Minimalism by introducing political content to what would otherwise be a simple white cube. The sculpture also redefines the traditional function of decorative fountains, which are often sites of contemplation and peace. The sculpture itself is dependent upon oil to count the ongoing death toll—an apt metaphor for the world’s dependence on this natural resource.