Simple, Effective Public Art About Military Suicides

Posted by Will Etling


Design Boom recently featured this simple but incredibly powerful installation by Brooklyn-based artist Sebastian Errazuriz. Using the wall outside his studio, he's created a simple tally of some sobering numbers: military combat deaths in Iraq in 2009, and military suicides in 2009.

From Design Boom:

'When I first found the overall statistics that summed the 304 suicides by US soldiers during 2009, I was shocked. I tried to find a number to compare that statistic. To my surprise the suicide statistic doubled the total of 149 US soldiers that had died in the Iraq war during 2009 and equaled the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.'

Errazuriz's first instinct was to post the statistic on facebook—dumbfounded by the lack of response and interest, he bought can of black paint and decided to 'post' the news in the real world on his own wall outside his studio in Brooklyn. Equipped with a ladder, he marked a black strip for every dead soldier, until both the suicide rates and war rates occupied the entire wall and were registered as a single image.

We've probably all seen the sprawling flag or cross installations—one marker for every fallen soldier—that occasionally pop up in parks, beaches, and along highways. We've also all looked at online infographics or charts that show similar numbers.
 
Errazuriz's approach is far simpler, but brings the message home in a way that's disarming and heartbreaking. You can see more photos and read the rest of the interview here.
 
 
Photos from Design Boom.