Grace Graupe-Pillard at The Proposition

Grace Graupe-Pillard Soldier/Rockefeller Center NYC (lightbox still from the series, "Interventions") 2003-2005 [large detail of installation]

I saw Grace Graupe-Pillard's installation at The Proposition almost a week ago and I was impressed, but I first looked at my digital pictures only this afternoon - while listening to Beethoven. The memory of her work compelled me to click onto an online version of the video projection show (with its own soundtrack, arranged by Elizabeth Grajales and Billy Annaruma) and it looks even better than I had remembered it - always a good sign I think.

Clarification: While the soundtrack of the gallery version of the video was composed by Grajales and Annaruma, the online version was composed by Deb King

The artist's statement:

In 2003, shortly after the onset of the Iraq War, I began working on a series of photographs entitled INTERVENTIONS focusing on the horror and human cost of wars being fought in "far-off places.” These photographs depict images of soldiers, car-bombings, ruins, explosions, and refugees, which I have digitally embedded into the familiar streets and parks of New York City, Baltimore and the New Jersey wetlands. Using the computer and digital filters, the "implanted" imagery borders on the abstract, with heightened color and kaleidoscopic patterns portraying the ordinariness of our everyday “reality” blown apart.

INTERVENTIONS attempts to make visually evident the ongoing tragic repercussions of war in our own “backyard,” as well as the equally powerful manipulation of the electorate through the “politics of fear.”

Really appreciate you coming to my show and writing about it. Just one clarification - the gallery version of the soundtrack at The Proposition was scored by Elizabeth Grajales and Billy Annaruma, but the online version sound track was composed by Deb King.

Viewing Grace Graupe-Pillard's online installation brought a full range of emotions to the surface. The work bridges the emotional gap that the physical distance from here to Iraq provides. It brings a visceral immediacy to the daily horror of occupation.

The fact that the artist chooses NYC for her superimposed images of modern U.S. perpetrated warfare, no doubt, is why the montage is particularly jarring. The catalyst and excuse for current cycle of violence was unleashed with the 9/11 attacks.

Interestingly, the piece also kicked off in me a small bit of internal homophobia. As I viewed the piece, in short order, I began to feel despondent, tear-up and start to cry. the inner monologue, demons and self-recriminations flared up anew, “Silly emotional queen, so easily your emotions are manipulated.”

I do not approve of what is being done ostensibly in my name. I fear for the future of a nation that can so easily, on the flimsiest of fabricated evidence, invade another country wreaking havoc, murder and mayhem in its path. At what point, it seems reasonable to wonder, will the war machines be turned inward to the imagined enemies that are domestic.

I have not lost my faith in humanity the unpardonable sin mentioned in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I had this revelation anew this past winter at Long Island College Hospital. I was providing transportation for a 12 year old girl from the Gaza Strip in country for medical treatment, as I am a volunteer for NJ Chapter. I looked around the hospital and I thought that this was the flipside of war and the industries of war. Here was a tangible proof, a monument, built around healing. It mattered and matters little even if many of these same advances were made on the battlefield. There are entire industries built around the betterment of the human species.

NJ IMC Vince's eloquant posting in response to Interventions is what doing projects like this is all about.
Thank you.