Noor

March 2009

The over saturation of media images and coverage of already drawn out wars (and its effects on the local populace) in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have worn out their novelty not only for headlines but also in the minds of the US populace. The ongoing coverage of the death and destruction in the effected nation's local populations, no longer (if ever it did) carries the potency of the reality of the tragedies. Noor proposes to replace ineffective and overlooked media imagery with a different sensory and visceral response.

The project interfaces (via a computer, micro-controller and solid state relay) the overhead lights in the gallery (note: the installation has also been installed in an abandoned warehouse, in a dark basement as well as in an art gallery). The lights are normally off, illuminating only when a signal is received from a computer that is keeping track of deaths occurring due to current US engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The light only turns on for a brief period when the computer detects that a new death or deaths have occurred since the last time the lights were turned on. The period the lights are on for is derived from a function using the average annual Watt usage by an American household and the respective populations of the nations affected, roughly 3.6 s, such that the whole populations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan would have to perish in order for the installation to use the equivalent power of an annual average American household.

The gesture, an undesired illumination onto the otherwise purposed dark space, highlights the realities of this conflict - the tragedy of collateral deaths. The spectacle neutered by its horrific content. Multitudes of binaries abstracted into the simple turning on and off of lights; anticipation and dread, life and death, one disturbance for another, one wasted resource for another.

Noor, the Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu word for light (نور)

Material: Computer, Custom Software, Microcontroller, Electronics, Light

Dimensions: Variable