Re/constructed Narratives of the American War in Vietnam re-presents images of Vietnam derived from magazine ephemera published in the United States and contemporaneous with the American War in Vietnam.  Using a wide aperture, I collapse depth of field and deceptively project a false sense of depth into the two-dimensional images that are the source for these photographs, such that many of these images appear to be staged.  Passages within them oscillate between legibility and abstraction—between an almost forensic recording of hypertrophic detail suggestive of an “objective” act of recording historical, factual information and the subjective practices of remembering, constructing meaning, and interpreting data.  In their liminality, they teeter between reality and unreality, fact and fiction, and register the elusiveness of “truth,” the instability of histories, personal and cultural memory, and the unknowability of war.  Through their seductive, ironic beauty, deceptive construction, and elision and abstraction of visual information, images in this series evoke and mirror artfully crafted fictions eloquently narrated to obfuscate imperialism and violence related to war.  Architectural historian Anthony Vidler posits that significance or, as he puts it, “power” is located in the break, rupture, breach, in the void announced by a formal fracture and the individual and collective losses that it marks.[1] Through their fragmentation and multiplicity, fractured works within this series stutter and heterotopically slip and oscillate in and out of familiarity, between imagined spaces and real ones. Heterochronically they shift between registering historical events and the durational experience of recurring personal and cultural trauma.  Their self-conscious “formal failure” in conveying the gravity of the events of the war to which they refer also lends the works in this series a kind of “hallucinatory quality” that philosopher Jacques Rancière links to an inadequacy of correspondence that “goes to the heart of the elimination to be represented.”[2]

(Please see also it will be flowers, especially pages 44-45, 81-82, and 119.)


     1. Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1992), 70.

     2. Jacques Rancière, The Future of the Image (London and New York: Verso, 2007), 128.

Untitled (Airstrip, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Encampment, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Before My Lai)

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Untitled (Encampment, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Warship, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Warship, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Soldier, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Conifer, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Landscape, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Sky before My Lai)

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Untitled (Soldier, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Soldier, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Soldier, Vietnam)

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Untitled (Pink haze, Vietnam)

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