Culture & Communication
On View: March 15 – April 19, 2013
Opening Reception: March 14, 6:30PM
The Bronx Documentary Center announces its newest exhibit, Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq, which features the remarkable war diaries of Marine Lt. Timothy McLaughlin, along with texts by Peter Maass and photographs by Gary Knight. The exhibition presents three different experiences of the invasion from within the same unit. The multimedia exhibit, opening March 14, is timed to the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Conceived and designed by Knight and Maass, the exhibit breaks new ground in documentary storytelling. The exhibit displays an innovative grid of 36 pages from McLaughlin’s diaries, each page blown up to poster-size. McLaughlin was at the Pentagon on 9/11, commanded a tip-of-the-spear tank during the invasion of Iraq, and his American flag was memorably draped on a statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square when Marines entered Baghdad. In the pages, McLaughlin writes of stumbling through the smoke-filled Pentagon after it was attacked, of the Iraqis shot and killed by his tank’s guns in 2003, and of the chaos when his flag was placed on the statue in front of a global television audience. The grid, which includes pages with pictures, maps and poems, operates as a text about war and also an artwork about war. Because McLaughlin’s account is in his handwriting, rather than the flat look of a computer font, its impact is unusually personal and emotional.
On select days, including opening night, the exhibit will feature the flag, which McLaughlin kept in a safe-deposit box after returning from Iraq. One of the diary pages in the exhibit describes the flag-raising at Firdos Square: “Swamped by mass of reporters—could not move/peace protester ‘How many children have you killed today.’ Capt. Lewis sent me back to get flag..Chin draped it over Saddam’s face…Got flag back—people tried to get it from me.” This will be the flag’s first public display since it was raised in Baghdad.
Other pages contain blunt descriptions of combat. “My position is good to cut off back door exit. Kill dismounts in grove (3-7?) then 1 swimming across canal/2 just about in canal.” When a car suddenly and mistakenly drove onto a contested road, McLaughlin notes that his tank disabled it with machine-gun fire: “Vehicle slowed down, swerved left off road + hit tree. Civilian shot 5 times in back + legs. Continued progress to Afaq.”
The exhibit evokes the invasion in a multi-dimensional way, with an innovative mix of visuals, text and sound. Knight and Maass, driving SUVs they had rented in Kuwait, reported on the battles fought by McLaughlin’s battalion as it approached Baghdad; the exhibit includes their award-winning work. Knight’s photographs were featured in Newsweek, while Maass’s stories were published in The New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker. The exhibit also features a video installation using news footage from 2003 to enhance the atmosphere of the invasion era.
The exhibit is the result of an unusual collaboration between McLaughlin, Maass and Knight, who raised funding through a Kickstarter campaign. “We hope this exhibit brings people back to the invasion and shows them, directly and without the usual filters of the government or the press, what the invasion truly consisted of,” they said in a statement. ”After ten years, we feel it is time for a thoughtful examination of the war before it is forgotten or romanticized.”
Images captions (left to right):
1: A US soldier from an Army recon unit urges US Marines across Dyala Bridge during an attack to secure the southern route into Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq. April 7th 2003. © Gary Knight/VII
2: © The Diaries of Lt. Timothy McLaughlin US Marine Corps.
3: US Marines of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines carry a comrade to an aid station after he was wounded by ‘friendly’ artillery in an attack that killed a colleague during the invasion of Iraq. April 7th 2003. © Gary Knight/VII
4: © The Diaries of Lt. Timothy McLaughlin US Marine Corps.
Exhibition made possible with support from
Special thanks to David Gross, Fiona Turner and Jonathan Wu.
Fri., March 29, 7:30pm
RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) Participants Slideshow
Sat., April 6, 7:30pm
Screening and Q+A with George Packer, New Yorker and star of the film Kirk W. Johnson
Sat., April 13, 7:30pm
Screening and Q+A with filmmaker Michael Brown and star of the film Kate “Rizzo” Raggazino
Sat., April 20, 7:30pm
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington Benefit, screening, panel discussion with Sebastian Junger
Advance tickets required.
ABOUT THE BRONX DOCUMENTARY CENTER
Founded in 2011, the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) is a non-profit gallery and educational space devoted to documentary projects from around the globe. Located on the ground floor of a recently revitalized building in the South Bronx, the BDC aims to create an engaging environment for local and international photojournalists, artists, filmmakers, critics and educators committed to innovative methods of non-fiction storytelling.
Bronx Documentary Center, 614 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 347-332-6962
Subway: 2/5 train to 3rd Ave-149th Street. BDC is located three blocks from the station. Bus: BX2, BX6, BX13, BX32, BX41.
Car: Parking lot available adjacent to building.
The Bronx Documentary Center is open to the public Thursday to Friday, 4 pm to 7 pm and Saturday to Sunday 1pm to 5pm.
The gallery will be closed on March 28 and 29 because of RISC.