Flat Land

Media Installation2 DVD players, 2 video projectors, 2-channel audio, parabolic speaker, suspended screen
Flat land: proxy wars, proxy bodies, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia PA, Nov 19 to Dec 31, 2011
Imaginative Feats Literally Presesented: Three Fables for Video Projection, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, Oct 23 to Dec 11, 2009
Koussevitsky Gallery, Pittsfield CT, Apr 11 to May 15, 2007
San Francisco Camerawork, Sep 6 to Nov 17, 2007
Flat Land explores the visual culture of men and women at war by looking at publicly available images of "Flat Daddies" (two-dimensional life-size cut-outs of soldiers that are carried through daily activities by families and friends back home), and "Flat Stanleys" (small two-dimensional cut-outs of a cartoon boy, sent by American school children on adventures around the world, sometimes even to war-zones).  The photographs are projected on opposite sides of a single projection screen.  Fictional voice-over narrations tell of Flat Stanley's journeys around the world, from the White House to Iraq and Afghanistan, and of one mother's experience with her flat daddy.

While a government is empowered to send men and women overseas, families and friends create their own compensatory circuit of deployment.  Both the Stanleys and the Daddies enact this circuit but in different ways.  The government sends the soldier, and then families create a photographic proxy, a “Flat Daddy,” to mark his absence.  Photographs of the proxy with the family are sent to the soldier, both confirming and denying his absence.  On the other hand, Flat Stanley, as a proxy family member, is sent overseas and photographed with the soldier to share his daily life at war.  Then he is returned home, completing his “tour of duty.”

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