iraqi body count
body count (vimeo excerpt)
untitled (iraqi body count) is a sound and video installation based on information sourced from Iraqibodycount.org - an unofficial reference of data used by various media sources during the height of the 2003-2011 (ish)* Iraq War representing the total number of casualties from the US military occupation.
The magenta number represent cumulative Iraqi civilian casualties and the cyan number represents total US armed forces casualties. While some conservative sources cite the number of casualties reported as too high, many progressive organizations have citied the data reporting on the low end. The disputed accuracy of the data is irrelevant in the context of the disparity between the number of US forces killed compared to Iraqi civilian deaths.
Each minute in the video represents an estimated number of casualties per year, from 2006- present, layered over (former) presidents George W. Bush infamous ultimatum speech to Saddam Hussein (00:05), Barack Obama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech (01:01), and current US president, Donald J. Trump's 2019 Syrian "victory" speech (02:12), as well as a lasting soundbite from an Iraqi student describing what they recognize as a transfer from one domestic power to an overwhelming American military occupation (02:41). The numbers represent an ironic paradox in which the legibility of numbers also constitute the abstraction of human lives lost at the expense of American democracy and foreign policy in the Middle East.