INTERACTIVE SCULPTURAL COLLAGE BUILDING AND DISCUSSION
Mini-Exhibits can be set up in a classroom or meeting room to allow a small group to work on collage building and engage in dialogue.
Theme: Vietnam War – The My Lai Massacre
“What So Proudly We Hailed” is designed for individuals to give voice through the constructing of personal sculptural collages to the mix of feelings that arise when viewing the American flag and, at the same time, the mix of feelings when face-to-face with the victims of a clear atrocity, the massacre of civilians at My Lai, by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
Theme: Vietnam War – The Marines at Hue
“At the Twilights Last Gleaming” is designed for participants express in their own way the mix of feelings that arise when viewing these wounded American soldiers in a moment of peril, and at the same time, bits of advertising text from the same publication — LIFE magazine — targeted at Americans in their homes.
Process: Each participant builds a temporary sculptural collage that can be viewed by others (and captured with an iPad for sharing) before it is rearranged and built anew by the next participant. Participant response can take a number of forms: Individual discussion with the artist as well as group discussion with other participants,
Setting: Any setting will work that will allow contemplation and if possible informal small group discussion
Equipment needed: Electrical outlet. Space for a five foot table and for a five free-standing panels. All other materials will be supplied by the artist.
Note: The project does not push or advocate a particular viewpoint, but rather creates a non-judgmental venue for participants to express and share their own mix of thoughts and feelings through collage building.
Artist’s personal statement
I first started messing around with sculptural collages, using images and sometimes words as a graduate student in the late 1960’s. I was looking for a way for myself and other individuals to give voice to the complex feelings that arose when mixing images and symbols normally separated into compartments in the mainstream media. I am interested how collaborative art projects can deepen and share empathy and understanding.
“What So Proudly We Hailed” — When I first saw the photograph in LIFE of women and children being lined up just before they were shot by American soldiers in Vietnam, I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach. Now when I really look at an American flag, I am aware of a tangled complex of feelings and images and this image is always in the mix.
“At the Twilights Last Gleaming” — When I saw this photograph in LIFE in 1968, I was strongly moved by the faces of the Marines, some wounded, some trying to save the life of a comrade. As I looked at the ads that peppered the same magazine issue, and shouted out for attention, I was aware of the gap between the lives of those men on the tank at that moment, and the world of the civilians back home in the U.S.
I am interested in sharing this project with veterans, adults and high school and college-age students to provide an opportunity for participants to express and share deep feelings thru building personal sculptural collages.
“What So Proudly We Hailed” and “At the Twilights Last Gleaming” were piloted with teens in 2015 at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.
“What So Proudly We Hailed” was installed at the Chicago Teachers For Social Justice Curriculum Fairs in 2015 and 2016. Participants responded warmly and openly to the project. Many were profoundly moved by their experience.