These incidences all took place within a single month in the US in 2015. They are just a fraction of the dramatic accounts around which this project, Report US, revolves.
Struck by the daily onslaught of such news events involving a gun, I launched this activist art project in early 2013. Retrieving the massive raw data on gun violence accounts occurring daily in the US and editing the material into concise narratives, I developed a multifaceted art project that aims to engage viewers on a more personal level in ongoing debates about the gun-violence epidemic in this country.
Hardcover compilations of the edited narratives, each individually hand bound in blood-soaked cloth, constitute the cornerstone of this undertaking. Each volume represents one month and chronicles the more than 1000 weekly incidents of violence involving a firearm, one incident per page. The endpapers coated in unfixed red pigment are integral to the viewer’s experience of the work. When individuals page through the volumes, they metaphorically leave bloody fingerprints across the pages as they absorb the true and tragic stories.
There are 3,136 incidents in the January 2015 volumes, 1 through 4, now completed. The final project is envisioned as a fifty-two-volume set of books, one for each week of 2015. In its final form, an installation of all fifty-two volumes would resemble a bar graph of book spines of varying widths in blood red.
RECIPIENT OF THE 2016 YOKO ONO LENNON COURAGE AWARD
In addition to these master volumes, I have produced a boxed set of thirty-one paperback books with the January data, an individual black-and-white publication for each day of the month. Also envisioned as part of the final project are 365 of these austere printed daily paperback books. These will be available either as an artist’s editioned set or as individual publications to help finance the project as a whole.
Proposed ancillary projects include: billboards replicating singular incidents for cities and highways all over America; performed readings from the books at schools, town halls, galleries and museums—anywhere they can be organized; a Midnight Moment illuminated presentation on the electronic billboards in Times Square.
Report US is my contribution as an artist and professional book designer to the conversation about the violence wrought by the nearly unrestricted availability of firearms in the United States. This project was conceived to illustrate that victims of gun violence are not just numbers, they are people.
All reports in this project were sourced through the Gun Violence Archive, an on-line archive chronicling gun-violence incidences collected daily from over 1,200 media, government and commercial sources. A data retrieval program, developed by Julia Geist (Code Interactive and ‘Girls Who Code’ alum), was instrumental in this mission. The process of then editing the 3,550 retrieved incidents for January into succinct narratives has been a massive undertaking. For this project to continue to its full realization, editing the residual 50,000 or so entries for 2015 remains a significant hurdle before me. I am seeking a partnership and support in order to take on this challenge.
As of December 2015, a crowd-source campaign has raised $4,500 toward the initial expenditures of Report US.