Krzysztof Wodiczko, “Veterans’ Flame” (2009)
Veterans’ Flame appeared in the Creative Time exhibition “This World and Nearer Ones” on New York’s Governors Island, within the historical site of Fort Jay. From Creative Time:
In Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Veterans’ Flame, the image of a candle flame moves with the recorded voices of veterans sharing accounts of war and its aftermath in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wodiczko conducted the interviews in April 2009, interested in having his subjects explore, through the act of remembering and retelling, the complex psychological space between the battlefield and their homes. By appropriating public buildings and monuments as surfaces for projections in his work, Wodiczko has focused on the ways in which architecture reflects collective memory, history, and the loss of life. Here, Fort Jay’s silent chambers are once again filled with the voices of soldiers, and a monument to history’s conflicts becomes a place to contemplate contemporary accounts of war and longing.For me, the flame signifies the act of remembering and honoring, but its flicker in response to the voices of the soldiers (which grows and shrinks and shudders with the tremors of their stories) reflects the conflicts and asperity of the accounts. It serves as a simple but potent visualization of the deep emotional (and political) resonance of their experiences.