Proposal Title: A Common Thread, 10/15/2008, Installation
Proposal Synopsis: When obituaries were eliminated from Iraqi publications during Saddam Hussein's reign, mourners announced deaths in yellow and white Arabic on black banners hung along streets and public squares. Throughout recent conflicts, these mourning pieces have assumed different connotations: at times they protested oppressive government, other times they publicized deaths inflicted by American intervention, and, more recently, they have become targets of sectarian violence. A Common Thread is a continuous black banner that winds throughout the public spaces of Baghdad, crossing several sites of significant violence. Although the form comes from the traditional mourning banners, the memorial will have no text so that it becomes a unified memorial to all people hurt or killed during recent conflicts. The memorial crosses various sectarian communities, government areas, and public spaces, signifying mourning as the common thread uniting all. Natural fabric and dyes will encourage fading and dissolution to symbolize the transition from dark to light, mourning to progress, and death to new life; a process that will vary throughout the entire banner depending on sun, wind, and other factors. After the banner fades significantly, Iraqis will be invited to partake in the dismantling process and encouraged to keep pieces as personal memorials.
Artist's Biography: Erin Finch Stevens is a graduate student in landscape architecture at the University of Georgia and has a bachelor's degree in English and American literature and language from Harvard University.