Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Online vs. Physical Exhibition

I've received some inquiries from artists curious as to why there is no physical exhibition planned for the Iraqimemorial.org project. Here is my response to an email ask such:

Thank you for your email inquiry regarding Iraqimemorial.org. The intent of the project is to create, first and foremost, an internet database of memorial proposals – this goes with the fleeting nature of the project and conceptually reveals the lack of any “real” process for creating a memorial to the civilian casualties in Iraq.

At the same time, I recognize that a project of this nature, depending upon the response from artists, could very well result in an eventual exhibition of project proposals, and perhaps even a book – I hope that this will happen and have been actively working on a variety of fronts to publicize the project as widely as possible to insure that as many artists choose to participate in this project and that the public take the time to visit the project site.

I am also keenly aware of the potential for the internet to gain exposure on a level that quite frankly would likely dwarf any given exhibition venue in regards to the number of potential visitors to a web project such as this - as opposed to the numbers visiting a physical showing. In past month alone, since the draft site for the project went online there have already been over 5,000 page views – this mostly taking place before any publicity regarding the project was released just four days ago. I would anticipate that these numbers will grow significantly over the next few months as the project takes on momentum.

What I am saying here is that your work will be freely accessible in a way that it would likely never be in a physical exhibition setting. You will also have a very impressive group of jurors considering your proposal (these jurors will further be instrumental in curating any future exhibitions or publications related to the project).

I realize that through this project I am asking much from artists, but would ask artists to consider the potential of this project to first and foremost and most importantly raise awareness regarding the issue of civilian casualties in Iraq – a difficult and pressing subject.

Thanks for the contact – I hope you will consider participating.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Call for Proposals - Iraqimemorial.org

Call for Proposals: Iraqimemorial.org

(http://www.iraqimemorial.org -or- http://www.iraqimemorial.org/arabic/)


Information/Project Contact:
Project Director Joseph DeLappe
Associate Professor
Digital Media Studio
Department of Art/224
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89509

Iraqimemorial.org is an online call to action to artists, designers, architects or other interested creative individuals or collaborators to propose concepts for the creation of memorials to the many thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the War in Iraq. As of 2007, estimates range from 77,000 to over 655,000 deaths in Iraq of non-combatants as a consequence of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. The memorial concepts will be featured in a growing online exhibition/database of proposals accessible on the site. Proposals are available to be viewed and rated by the public as well as by an internationally diverse group of individual scholars and curators who are serving as jurors.

Jurors include:
-Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, Centre for Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK
-Yaelle Amir, Independent Curator and Writer, New York City, USA
-Dr Bernadette Buckley, Lecturer in International Politics, Goldsmiths University of London, UK
-Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta, The Raqs Media Collective, Delhi, India
-Dr. David Simpson, Professor of English, University of California Davis, USA
-John David Spiak, Curator, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, USA
-Dr. Marjorie Vecchio, Director/Curator, Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, USA

Participating artists as of 11/29/07 include:
Tony Allard-USA, Paul Dixon-UK, Carla Drago-Australia, Al Fadhil-Germany, James Hutchinson-UK, James Johnson-Perkins-UK, Sabine Kacunko-Germany, Suzanne Kanatsiz-USA, Lynn Marie Kirby-USA, Erik Krikortz-Sweden, Patrick Lichty-USA, Maria Paschalidou-Greece, John Quinn-UK, Kate Sicchio, UK, Jack Toolin-USA.

Guidelines for Entries:
This project seeks to highlight conceptions of memorials in the broadest context possible. All media and processes are to be featured on the project site, this includes but is not limited to experimental or traditional applications of: sculpture, architecture, installation, performance, murals, web art, digital art, photography, video, film, audio art, etc. Please visit the project web site for further detailed entry requirements and information.

Who May Submit Proposals?
All artists, architects, designers, individuals or collaborations are welcome and invited to submit proposals. You must be at minimum 18 years old to participate in this project.

How to Submit
Entries are solely accepted via an online submission process available through the project website.

As a user generated content site, the project is ongoing indefinitely – Iraqimemorial.org will continue to be realized as new memorial proposals are uploaded to the site. A first “Juror’s Deadline for Review” has been established as March 19th, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Iraqimemorial.org Official Launch

As of November 29th, 2007, Iraqimemorial.org (http://www.iraqimemorial.org) has been officially launched and is open and available to accept proposals. Proposals that have been received as of this date are also available for viewing and public rating on the exhibition pages of the site. I am presently in the process of widely distributing the Call for Proposals. Finalizing the design and publication of the site online has been an amazing and exhausting process. The Arabic translation of the site is now online and accessible!

Of the original 22 artists who agreed to create the first round of proposals we have received 15. A number of these artists will be posting their proposals in the next few weeks. Several of these artists have relayed to me that the would like to take more time to effectively address the enormity of the difficult issue of the deaths of civilians in the war. This is surely one of the questions that this open forum will be addressing as the project moves forward - how do artists address such a difficult subject? How do we choose to function in a time of war?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Jurors, Artists and progress...

I've now been working at ISIS Arts, Newcastle, UK for three weeks. Iraqimemorial.org is nearly complete in the English version. The site is currently being translated to Arabic - when the translation is ready we will start creating the Arabic mirror to the English version. Iraqimemorial.org now has 6 jurors - I am looking forward to officially and publicly launching the site in the next few weeks. Presently there are 18 artists committed and working on the first group of proposals for the site.

What has been most challenging these past few days is to establish the "links" for the project. I've done my best to find a variety of sources for facts and figures related to civilian casualties in the war, along with other web sources both exploring issues surrounding contemporary memorials, sites linking to artists, memorials, both well known/and lesser known, Iraq politics, blogs from Iraqi citizens and American soldiers. I questioned myself whether to post the link to the official "Operation Iraqi Freedom Official Website of the Multi-National Force - Iraq", the site is undeniably problematic - yet one can learn from such official sources as much as one can be mystified.

Monday, October 8, 2007

First Invites to Artists

Today the first invitations to submit proposals to Iraqimemorial.org were sent out to a group of 50 artists. I've been working on this project since late June of 2007, having first conceptualized the work in 2003. I've been reading and researching about memorials, writing the various texts, working on the design and implementation of the website, etc. I've also been approaching a number of potential jurors for the project. I am hopeful that a majority of the artists and jurors who have so far been invited to participate will do so - my intent is for there to be some very strong memorial proposals online at the time that the project launched in November - at such time the Call for Proposals will be widely distributed both online and otherwise.

Very nervous yet hopeful! This project will not succeed without the generous contribution of time and concepts by artists and designers. Keeping my fingers crossed.