Super-8 film transferred to video inside a my studio-built Black Box of Memory, edited and paired with a soundtrack appropriated from the helicopter cockpit video released by Chelsea Manning to the Wikileaks organization. The audio records the accidental killing of a Reuter’s photographer mistaken for a combatant because his camera appeared to be a rocket-propelled grenade launcher (RPG) to the helicopter crew. I used grainy, high contrast film and the Black Box to draw a visual parallel between photography’s implicit nostalgia and the appearance of the video of CCTV systems used for security and surveillance.
War and trauma has always been at the base of nostalgia. Nostalgia was a disease discovered in 1688 by Doctor Johannes Jaffe to describe the condition of homesickness suffered by Swiss mercenaries stationed in war zones. Nostalgia, the disease, made soldiers hallucinate that they were at home and prevented them from fighting. Photography is nostalgia incarnate. Still and moving photographs can be both a cure for homesickness but also a cause of loss, by representing the past and distant places while disconnecting us from our immediate experience and our human connection to each other and the world of immediate experience. gregoryfitzsimmons.com/
May 30-June 4, 2014. Inspired by a folkloric poem by Modernist Lorine Niedecker, I head from Chicago up to her home on Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin, near the town of Fort Atkinson, to make a short video about the start of the war in Iraq in 2003. I encounter road-killed turtles, a turtle-shaped sandbox, stormy weather, local beer, and an ever-present radio transmission tower that wrecks havoc on my recording equipment. 6 Minutes.
"Tell me a story about the war.
All right, six lines, no child should hear more."