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Working with Artist-in-Residence Nina Berman, YI Writers began the semester developing their own definitions of war, whether it involved conflicts between nations, battles between human beings and nature, or opponents in a board game. Through a generous consignment by Nikon, Inc., YI Writers learned photographic skills on Nikon D5000 digital SLR cameras, and used them to capture and convey their own interpretations of war.
103 dead…thirty-two wounded…five dead…when we hear about the casualties of war, we are bombarded with statistical numbers that enforce the idea that soldiers are one collective entity. Few fully consider that each and every one of them is like you and me, with a history, a culture, and a personality. Each has a matchless story that further detaches from the rest of the world every time the soldier is defined as a fragment of a number. Unfortunately after a while, many no longer cringe when the news reporter announces “five dead” and only frown with a short-lived pang of pity at the “103 dead,” and it seems soldiers will not be seen with unique personas for some time.
I explored the soldiers’ loss of individuality through manipulating photographs and text and organizing them on a blown-up picture of my mom’s eye.