Micaela Martegani, director of More Art, and Krzysztof Wodiczko, artist, discuss the public art installation, Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, in Union Square Park, November 8th-December 9th, 2012, in which voices of veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars animate a bronze commemorative statue of Abraham Lincoln that has stood silently in Union Square since 1870.
For thirty-one days, the memories and feelings of ordinary Americans speak through Lincoln as part of an outdoor public art installation by Krzysztof Wodiczko, an artist renowned for his large-scale light projections on architectural facades and monuments. Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection marks a return of sorts to Manhattan for the artist, whose last monumental work here was the influential and still often cited Homeless Project (1988).
“As our troops withdraw from Afghanistan, this commemorative statue, commissioned just a few years after the Civil War, again becomes a place for dialogue about war,” says Micaela Martegani, founding director of More Art. More Art, an eight-year-old organization devoted to bringing new and innovative works of art into public spaces in New York City, is the organizer of Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Union Square Partnership.
In collaboration with many New York City veterans organizations, Wodiczko has engaged with dozens of veterans and their family members over the course of several months for Abraham Lincoln, taping conversations with fourteen of them about their war experiences and the toll of duty on their family life. It is these points of views, presented in each person’s own words, voice, and gestures, to be projected via sound and light onto the figure of Lincoln.
Veterans: Joan Aiken • Lyndsey Anderson• Joseph Avellanet • Roman Baca • Walter Baldaccini • Carl Cannon • Luis Crossman • Marie Delus • Trent Love • Nelson Lowhim • Blake Ruehrwein • Sarmiento • Carlos Tarraza • Carlos Zambrano