[act-ma] Oct. 7: Afghanistan War Anniversary Banner Project

Mary Curtin marycurtin at comcast.net
Tue Sep 6 21:04:09 PDT 2011


From: Greg Cook [mailto:gcook30 at hotmail.com]
<mailto:%5bmailto:gcook30 at hotmail.com%5d> 
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 5:42 PM
To: gcook30 at hotmail.com
Subject: Afghanistan War Anniversary Banner Project

Afghanistan War Tenth Anniversary Banner Project

To mark the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our war in Afghanistan on
Oct. 7, I'd like to invite you to participate in a big public art project.
I'm asking dozens of people-including veterans, artists (also artist
veterans), poets, teachers, etc.-to create banners that speak about the
decade of fighting and to hang them from highway overpasses on Oct. 6. The
aim of the project is not a protest (though statements of protest are
welcome) but to prompt reflection on what it has meant for our country to be
at war for 10 years. So you're welcome to say whatever you wish on your
banner-fill it with homages, protests, salutes, memorials, words, drawings,
photos.

I've selected highway overpasses as the venue because they are a place that
can reach hundreds of viewers, but they are also one of the places where we
have our public community discussions about our current wars via banners
supporting our troops or welcoming them home.

If you have questions, please contact me,

Greg Cook

lead project organizer
New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
gcook30 at hotmail.com
781.388.2665

Some requirements if you plan on participating:
= Make a banner. Feel free to say whatever you wish on it.
= You'll have to hang your banner yourself. (Some help with hanging may be
possible upon advance request.)
= Banners need to be hung before rush hour (by about 5 p.m.) on Thursday,
Oct. 6, 2011, to (1) catch rush hour traffic and (2) so they can be
documented by reporters in daylight (sunset is around 6:15 that night).
= Attach banners to the inside of overpass fencing so that they don't come
loose and drop onto traffic below.
= Photograph your banner hung from a highway overpass and e-mail it to
gcook30 at hotmail.com as soon as possible after you hang it on Oct. 6. I'll
post it to a project website, with a map rounding up all the banners.
Include the name(s) of who made the banner and exact location (what street?
over what highway? town? state?).
= All participants will be publicly named-with their real names.
= As soon as possible, confirm whether you'll be participating by contacting
Greg Cook (gcook30 at hotmail.com). The more confirmed participants in advance,
the more likely we'll be able to get press coverage.
= Indicate where you'd like to hang your banner(s). This will help
coordinate displays over major roadways. In particular, I'm interested in
displays around Boston along Routes 90, 95, 93 and 128 and around Providence
and Pawtucket along Route 95. But I also welcome displays at whatever
highway overpasses you can get to.
= Note whether you are interested in speaking with reporters. If so, please
include e-mail and phone number I can share with reporters.
= Feel free to pass along this invite to participate to friends locally-or
elsewhere. I'd like to expand this project as widely as possible. But please
keep the project quiet, and secret from officialdom. Part of what will make
the project interesting is the surprise appearance of the many banners.

Suggestions:
= Old bed sheets make great, cheap banners. Get bed sheets at your local
thrift store.
= Fold over the sheet's corners and sew them, creating loops that can be
used to tie them to overpass fencing.
= Host a banner painting party with friends.
= Attach banners to overpass fencing with wire or rope. Cheap plastic zip
ties can easily come undone in the strong winds atop overpasses.

Also
=  Reporters will be alerted in advance, but they must agree not to report
on the project until 5 p.m.  Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. (The technical term is
that reporters will be "embargoed" from reporting on the project until that
time.) The aim is to attract news coverage that night and the following day,
the actual anniversary of the start of the war.
= What TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, websites and blogs should I
contact in your area seeking coverage? Do you have press contacts that you'd
like to share with me?

Related event:
Greg Cook will curate two screenings of videos from YouTube documenting the
Afghanistan War on the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the fighting.
The free public screenings will be at Montserrat College of Art's Odd
Fellows Building, room 201, 194 Cabot St., Beverly, Massachusetts, at 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7, and at AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence, Rhode Island, at
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Each screening will be followed by a
conversation with the audience. (If you're interested in hosting a screening
yourself, I can provide you with a link to the YouTube video collection.)

The YouTube footage by American service men and women, as well as the U.S.
government, news outlets, and the Taliban, demonstrates how cell phones, the
Internet and other technologies have created what have been called our first
YouTube wars, allowing immediate connections between troops and loved ones
back home, as well as new ways for Americans and our enemies to disseminate
on-the-ground information directly from the war zone.

Videos show local soldiers leaving for Afghanistan, American helmet-camera
footage of a firefight, wounded Americans being evacuated by helicopter, a
soldier's intimate video diary, Taliban fighters in action, American
soldiers blowing off steam by recording their own music video for Lady
Gaga's song "Telephone" (which became a web sensation), and a soldier
meeting his son for the first time since getting back from Afghanistan.

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