Monday, April 30, 2007

Silhouette Project 2

Silhouette Project: Outlines of Fallen Troops Filling Ped Mall

At 5:30 Tuesday, Iowa City peace activists began drawing chalk outlines on the downtown Ped Mall, with each drawing representing one of the American troops
killed to date in the Iraq war in the Silhouette Project.


I half expected volunteers to be on the ground representing each soldier killed, but a cardboard template was more practical.


The completed sections were reminiscent of the late Keith Haring's outline outwork from the 1980's.


Nyssa Koons, one of the organizers, numbered the completed silhouettes. Volunteers estimated about 500 silhouettes had been drawn by 6:45, but had no idea how long it would complete the more than 3300 silhouettes.  Number One was close to the water fountain at the center of the Ped Mall. 

When asked why the silhouettes were numbered rather than bearing names, Koons said it was out of respect for those killed: "We didn't want people walking on names." With that thought in my mind I found myself stepping around outlines in an elaborate game of Step On A Crack Break Your Mother's Back.

discuss with public

Needless to say the 15 or so volunteers (working in shifts with more expected) attracted some attention, and of course one of the big functions was for organizers to explain the project to onlookers. Most reactions were supportive and I observed no negativity toward the event.


By 7:15 the outlines stretched nearly a block to the east, passing the children's room of the public library and approaching the intersection of College and Linn at the east end of the Ped Mall.  The organizers expected to fill the entire Ped Mall and several surrounding blocks.


Linds said...

I found your site while trying to see if there were any local blogs commenting on the recent death of yet another Iowa soldier in Iraq. Very awesome project! I live near Ames, otherwise I would offer to help.

Was watching the news the other night, and they did they usual three second "[number] of American troops died today in a roadside bomb in Iraq". They mentioned that it brought the total of soldiers who have died in the month of April to 99, but they failed to mention the total. I've noticed this for quite some time now when the news mentions the number of casualties, and I'm beginning to wonder if it is some sort of silent decision on the part of the main stream media.


Anywho, keep up the good work!

Nyssa Koons said...

it's interesting that you bring that point up, because the morning after we completed the project the city cleaned off the majority of the silhouettes. They claimed it was because of downtown establishments said it was "bad for business". Should that matter??