Collecting Rituals: Shrapnel Series – (Photo Etching)


Statement :

Ten images of a single artillery shell fragment that was picked up by our neighbors during wartime (2014) and kept by my father in our family home. I photographed it there one late afternoon, 6 years later. The long shadows cast by the afternoon sun helped produce images intended to echo Rorschach inkblot tests.

Instead of choosing words in any language, I decided to create a graphical title for the work. The title's form is the silhouette of our found shell fragment, yet it also evokes geography, borders. Most importantly, the title is unutterable. Failing to make sense of a war one is born into, can be intellectually and emotionally paralyzing. It is often a feeling of powerlessness that inspires the vigorous, yet repressive coping ritual that is shrapnel collecting (and safekeeping) during wartime.

This object inspired an ongoing collection of shell fragments from various wars I have never known. Such objects are universally collected and often traded online.