sebastian errazuriz: american kills
sebastian errazuriz: american kills
aug 19, 2010

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

‘american kills’ installation

‘american kills’ by chilean-born new york based artist sebastian errazuriz is a public installation showcasing the suicide rates of US soldiers. after searching on official war sites on the internet, he accidentally found out that 2 times more american soldiers had died in 2009 by committing suicide than those killed during that same year in the war in iraq; an alarming comparison that errazuriz had personally never read or heard about before.

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

according to the artist, a first google search showed only reports of media alarm about suicide rates, but the information was always comfortably presented divided into months and generally separated by statistics from the army, navy or air-force.

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

‘when I first found the overall statistics summed the 304 suicides by US soldiers during 2009, I was shocked. I tried to find a number to compare that statistic. to my surprise the suicide statistic doubled the total of 149 US soldiers that had died in the iraq war during 2009 and equaled the number of soldiers killed in afghanistan.‘ – SR

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

errazuriz’s first instinct was to post the statistic on facebook, dumbfounded by the lack of response and interest, he bought can of black paint and decided to ‘post’ the news in the real world on his own wall outside his studio in brooklyn. equipped with a ladder, he marked a black strip for every dead soldier, until both the suicide rates and war rates occupied the entire wall and were registered as a single image.

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

‘the counting of dead soldiers outside my studio was long and surprisingly eerie; it was hard to forget that every brush stroke was a soldier who had died the previous year. a lot of people stopped to read the mural and were immediately impressed by the reality portrayed. most of them seemed quite shocked and approached me to ask if what I was painting was real. I tried to explain that I simply wished to create a physical image that could capture people’s imagination, creating awareness of the current numbers in death, war and the infinite discrepancy between the resources and energies destined to fight and protect soldiers at war versus the energies invested in protecting their mental health and stability.‘- SR

  • how sad … nice elabortation though.

  • Left side is 309, actually.

  • Fantastic! But why does the left side add up to 308 and not 304?

  • I just read an article that said military suicides make up 20% of the total suicide rate in the US, but the military is only about 1% of the total population. It would seem tough to judge the 19 out of 100,000 suicide rate in the US because I’m sure most of the figures include the people in the military. So yes the is a very big problem and we should be concerned.

  • Awesome.. As someone who knew a Marine who killed himself last year, I’d like to say its great to see someone acknowledge the psychological effects of PTSD, and how large a percentage of the deaths of soldiers are actually suicides.

  • I have a solution:
    stop joining the goddamn army.

  • It’s very popular to be against military action, but without an army and people fighting for the liberty enjoyed in the USA people would have far bigger problems to think about than soldier suicides i.e.

    I bet as many bankers or lawyers killed themselves, in the USA in 2009. Soldiers join the army of their own free will. The fact that some can’t handle the job or have other issues in their life which leads to suicide means what exactly? In japan, among the most comfortable environments one could wish to live (for the most part) there are 1000s of suicides each year for reasons so trivial they don’t bare thinking about – my point is that suicide isn’t always job related.

  • Those statistics will rise dramatically over time as they have with Vietnam veterans. War is a traumatic event and the taking of the lives of others dramatically affects the ability of some individuals to readjust and resocialize. There are still a large number of Vietnam veterans who have isolated themselves in wilderness areas or deep within the urban jungle. They have been abandoned by their country, their people and their government. This will also happen with the veterans of our present wars. These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Um yeah just a wild guess, but I think maybe more than 140 odd US soldiers were killed in Iraq in 2009.

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