Artist's Statement: No One Dies In A Make Believe War

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The Dying Pawn

Single Channel Video, Sound, 3 min 3 sec, Six Archival Inkjet Prints, 30" x 20" Each, 2009

An arcade-style video game outside the local movie theater features two bright orange automatic pistols, tethered to a hulking electronic machine. Should you offer two dollars to the behemoth, your goal is to take down as many enemy soldiers as you can by pointing and firing at near close range.

I observed a few patrons diverting themselves as they picked off each nemesis: one, two three. With a single shot, the opponent was downed in a spurt of blood and an anemic grunt. Each antagonist fell and then . . . disappeared.

This made me wonder exactly where the enemies went after being dispensed by the day-glo pistol. Surely, in real life, wounded soldiers don't simply disappear; they die from their wounds in mostly unceremonious and undignified ways.

The statue of "The Dying Gaul" intimates that the Ancients might have thought differently about their adversaries. Here laid the Enemy: wounded quite gruesomely and dying, yes, but with a sense of pathos, emotion and dignity surrounding the passage that seems glossed over in our contemporary age.

A search of recent images of war casualties — in all their gore and horror — was the final impetus for "No One Dies In A Make-Believe War." I wanted to imagine the truer consequences of being on the receiving end of violence of any kind. In real life, at least, Death refuses to disappear.

© Tim Roseborough 2017. All Rights Reserved.