Last month, while in the process of widely distributing the CFP, I received a query that was sent to one of the jurors regarding the origins of the Iraqimemorial.org project. The concern was expressed as to possible similarities to other projects, particularly an exhibition at the ICA in London in May of 2007, entitled "Memorial to War". I think my answer to this query might be informative to anyone interested in this project - the following is my response:
"I first conceptualized this project in 2004 soon after the publication online of the WTC Memorial Competition Website. Iraqimemorial.org and the America's Army project both came about through my thinking surrounding the WTC Memorial competition. I've been engaged in research and work surrounding the notion of "memorials" ever since. I began to seriously work on Iraqimemorial at the start of my sabbatical leave this past May.
I learned about the ICA show this past July whilst an artist in residence at the Banff New Media Institute well into research and planning for this project. In light of the ICA show, I quite honestly nearly abandoned the work but in thinking it through and looking closely at the ICA show, theirs was a "Memorial to the War" - quite different from both the intent and scope of Iraqimemorial.org as a process for specifically memorializing the civilian casualties through an open curatorial process that utilizes the internet to create what will hopefully be a far reaching international and ongoing response to this issue.
In the end it was the importance of addressing civilian casualties that moved me to get beyond any coincidental and likely unavoidable similarities between this project and others. (look here for an earlier example an artist from Germany informed me about just last week: http://iraq.engad.org/).
As a practicing artist, one is always concerned about originality - yet in this context, I was also troubled to think that one exhibition broadly addressing the war would cause me to abandon the effort and concept behind Iraqimemorial.org - the issue at hand is too important and deserving of further examination by artists."