In the last ten years, researchers have collected and organised data about the 5,000+ veterans of the American Civil War who are buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibition This is My House of Green Grass: The Raw Retrieval of the Civil War, curated by Michele Gorman and exhibited in May 2015 at Green-Wood, attempted to unearth new narratives and provoke new ways of examining the "big data" concerning these soldiers. Can we find new connections, stories and meanings by looking at this data in unexpected ways? You can see more of the various works in the exhibition here.
Chromatic Memories, screened at the exhibition, discusses the idea that in war, the lives and contributions of individual soldiers are rarely remembered. The average person may have a general understanding of a nebulous mass of combatants that lived, clashed and died, but the individuals that constituted that mass are generally forgotten. Chromatic Memories tries to visualize that this notion through abstract colour and form. In the piece, from the time that the first of Greenwood's Civil War veterans was born, until the time that the last one passed, each year is represented as one second. Every soldier's life flashes across the screen as a field of color, growing and shifting for as long as each man was alive. Each soldier's life contributes to the pattern as a whole, but only by looking carefully can we distinguish the individual, luminous lives of the soldiers.
Created by Sharang Biswas and Eamon O'Connor.
Physical design by Michele Gorman
Photos by Ashley Simone