During the recent Association of Arts Administration Educators conference in Philly, Barbara Schaffer Bacon of the Animating Democracy project showed the video linked below. It describes and displays the 2006 installation work by Brian Knep at Harvard’s historic Memorial Hall designed to address an omission in the memorial that had been long forgotten. The memorial commemorates Harvard alumni who died in the Civil War, but only on the Union side. Names of the fallen alumni from the Confederacy are forbidden from appearing, even today.
To my mind, the ”Deep Wounds” project shows the truly transformative power of public art to change how people perceive, understand, and engage their surroundings. The video shows them stopping, moving around, exploring, and considering the purpose and conflict of that public space, perhaps for the first time. Extraordinary.
Equally fascinating stuff was presented at Arts Presenters by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (see particularly his Body Movies project, a long video, but worth watching). Lozano-Hemmer’s work is particularly intriguing in the way it connects complete strangers in a public and playful way.
May we all have that kind of impact on the people who pass within our influence.