Saturday, November 17, 2012

ART: The Face on Veterans' Experiences

by Staś Kmieć
   As emancipation from the horrors of War, the voices of veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars will animate a bronze commemorative statue of Abraham Lincoln that has stood silently in Manhattan’s Union Square Park since 1870. For thirty-one days, these memories and feelings will speak through Lincoln as part of an outdoor public art installation by Krzysztof Wodiczko entitled Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection.

   The 23-minute video contains edited interviews with 14 U.S.; each person’s own words, voice, and gestures projected via sound and light brings the statue movingly to life.  An artist renowned for his large-scale light projections on architectural facades and monuments, Wodiczko was born in Warsaw, Poland, and now lives and works in New York City. He is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

   Union Square has been the site of some of the largest activist gatherings in American history since 1861, during the Civil War when hundreds of thousands descended on the square to show support for the Union cause, as part of a war that would end up taking the lives of over a half million Americans. More recently Union Square was the gathering place for peaceful protests, as well as a place of healing after the 9/11 attacks.

   Presented by More Art and the Polish Cultural Institute New York, in conjunction with the Union Square Partnership, the installation has been timed to honor Veterans Day and is on view through December 9, 6:00 -10:00 pm daily at Union Square Park North at 16th Street, New York, NY.