Where Does Peace Begin

This art instal­la­tion is my reac­tion to the Iraq war. A Bush Chaney deci­sion that ignored oppo­si­tion from gov­ern­ment offi­cials and Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. I under­stand the engage­ment of war is a com­plex issue but with our level of con­scious­ness, the United States took a huge step back­wards in our yearn­ing for peace. 

Act­ing like pup­peteers, the United States gov­ern­ment manip­u­lated pub­lic opin­ion to serve their own agenda. Cen­sor­ship became a patri­otic deci­sion while media out­lets fil­tered news and enter­tain­ment con­tent. Basic demo­c­ra­tic rights were being taken away, as a mil­i­ta­rized police state grew, which we are now faced with.

I lost com­plete respect for Gen­eral Colin Pow­ell when he went before the United Nations Secu­rity Coun­cil claim­ing a bio-threat from Iraq with weapons capa­bil­ity of mass destruc­tion, con­tra­dict­ing inter­na­tional intel­li­gence. Was he just a pawn or was he a par­tic­i­pant in under­min­ing and vio­lat­ing rule of law in the UN Char­ter.

Glob­ally indi­vid­u­als took on the respon­si­bil­ity to voice dis­con­tent in an attempt to stop the war. But the seated gov­ern­ment took it upon itself to ignore the out­rage. It moved for­ward with declar­ing war under false pre­tense and left hard­ship, a colos­sal body count of inno­cent peo­ple, which I invite peo­ple to mull over.

As you walk into the room, a mir­rored wall reflects the instal­la­tion. A mir­rored cross hangs over­head. It sup­ports cof­fin-sized Amer­i­can flags; rep­re­sent­ing over four thou­sand US sol­der killed in Iraq. The flags carry sol­ders names and death dates. Red cord passes through the sus­pended cross to the flags, sym­bol­iz­ing the blood­shed of our nation’s youth and the non­com­bat­ant civil­ians that fell under the heavy hand of our nation’s power.

The mir­rored sur­faces act as a thin bar­rier and a man­i­fes­ta­tion between two truths. It evokes a sense of entrap­ment and the never-end­ing cycle of con­flict. It also cap­tures the viewer’s reflec­tion so they may face their image placed in a real­ity that I am pre­sent­ing, an emo­tional impact when brought closer to the human tragedy of war.

Under­neath the hang­ing flags, abut­ting the mir­ror is a high-gloss black pud­dle rep­re­sent­ing oil. It reveals and gives con­scious­ness to the sig­nif­i­cant and harsh real­ity reflected in it.

I put to ques­tion “Where Does Peace Begin” since we all play an active role in the way that sit­u­a­tions play out. The slo­gan is read­able in the mir­ror as it is placed on the wall back­wards. I want the viewer to exam­ine their reflec­tion while pon­der­ing the leg­i­ble ques­tion to kin­dle trans­for­ma­tion and remind us to seek other meth­ods for resolv­ing con­flict.

The Bush admin­is­tra­tion reduced our nuclear arse­nal, but instead of dis­man­tling it fur­ther, the Obama admin­is­tra­tion ded­i­cated over one tril­lion tax dol­lars to mod­ern­ize the pro­gram. This makes no sense to me. I pre­fer to see those dol­lars used in efforts that turn the Dooms­day Clock, our anni­hi­la­tion, fur­ther back from mid­night.   

Dis­closed by the US Defense Depart­ment in 2014, between 1950 and 1980 there has been thirty-two acci­dents involv­ing nuclear weapons that had life demol­ish poten­tial. Two such acci­dents took place in North Car­o­line. I won­der where the cur­rent num­ber stands and how many mishaps do other coun­tries not report. Does this make you feel safe or vul­ner­a­ble?

If you do not remem­ber or know the images of Hiroshima, take time to famil­iar­ize your self with the destruc­tive power that nations cur­rently hold, oblit­er­a­tion, and for what point. 

I ask of you to become part of the solu­tion and sup­port free­ing the world from the fif­teen thou­sand nuclear war­heads point­ing at us from every direc­tion. The attain­able date is 2045; it will mark the 100-year anniver­sary of nuclear war­fare.

We have the abil­ity to do it. We owe it to one and other, since we can no longer con­tinue on this unset­tling path or we will destroy life, as we know it.  So lets get it done and gift this to future gen­er­a­tions. It is patri­otic and morally cor­rect.