Means Without End

Means Without End, 2008—2014

“Means Without End,” consists of thousands of 10” x 10” unfolded photograms of peace cranes, tiled together to form a large multi-media installation. The number of color analog photograms represents the number of American deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19, 2003. The cranes must be created in total darkness, making this work a trance-like, meditative act—one that becomes less and less possible as more and more people die overseas. The kaleidoscopic, geometric pattern in dark reds and yellows examines this death toll, as well as the way the families of these servicemen experience loss.

A live video feed further complicates the experience of confronting the numbers; it relates a hazy image of Casey, an unreachable soldier. He symbolizes the vast gap in a narrative rent by war, which tears life into a before and after that cannot be bridged. In the sacred space draped with cranes, far-off voices cry out as they undergo a mortar attack. The installation as a whole, entombed in the gallery, stands as a memorial to those soldiers whose lives have been lost.

Means Without End / 2009 (installation view)
c-print photograms / flat screen video monitor / paper and sound / dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
10 x 10 inches / c-print photogram

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
4 / 10 x 10 inches / c-print photograms

Means Without End, 2009 (detail) 1200, 10 x 10 inches, c-print photograms, dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
1200 / 10 x 10 inches / c-print photograms / dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
1200 / 10 x 10 inches / c-print photograms / dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
c-print photograms / 2 minute sound loop and secret speaker / dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
c-print photograms and sound / dimensions variable

Central Light (No. 1) / 2009
24 x 20 inches / c-print photogram on aluminum

Central Light (No. 2) / 2009
24 x 20 inches / c-print photogram on aluminum

Central Light (No. 3) / 2009
24 x 20 inches / c-print photogram on aluminum

Central Light (No. 4) / 2009
24 x 20 inches / c-print photogram on aluminum

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
12 / 10 x 10 inches / c-print photograms
flat screen video monitor with live video feed / dimensions variable

Means Without End / 2009 (detail)
front and back view of the flyers from the installation
10 x 10 inches / photocopy paper

Means Without End
exhibition poster + postcard
22 x 15 inches / 6 x 4 inches

Shannon Benine