Monuments are based on photographs of dead and wounded soldiers taken during the American Civil War. In the 1860s, Americans were frequently confronted with the brutal realities of war in the form of photographs of the combat dead and injured.
I am re-staging and photographing these images with myself as the subject. By using my own body (the body of a war veteran) as the primary material for the project, I am addressing the presence and the absence of veterans and war casualties in contemporary American public life. Many of the sculptures are created by setting myself up, or laying myself down, in outdoor spaces. Reenacting these photographs as sculpture- and often manipulating the presentation of my sculptures via altered photographs or edited video– I am following the methods of the media and the government’s attempts to shape an iconic image of contemporary theaters of war and echoing the artificial narratives and images produced by war propaganda.
I want the viewer to question the authenticity of any image, especially those images of violence from which we are expected to make judgements about events or facts that impact the real lives of real people. What does it mean to re-stage a part of a war when all wars are only staged events on a massive scale? How can we judge images of war given that the events of any war are human-created theaters of violence and that the images we see from those events are tightly controlled by the actors and directors of the theaters of war?
This project is ongoing. The final output will include video, digital and film photography, and stereo-optic images of the sculptures. I am composing a text as a create each piece.