In America: Remember. by N/A
When numbers grow so large as to be incomprehensible, those numbers become easy to ignore.
As a visual artist, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg felt compelled to physically manifest the mounting death toll from COVID-19, using white marking flags to represent each individual life lost.
This immense field of white flags flew on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from September 17 to October 3, 2021. The exhibition was composed of 143 sections of flags and 3.8 miles of walking paths. White benches placed throughout the art allowed visitors to sit in quiet reflection.
The artwork transcended the goal of understanding through data visualization, rendering 20 acres of the nation’s capital a monumental place of public mourning.
Each day of its exhibition, the artist added the requisite number of flags to mark the deaths that had happened the day prior, on average adding 2,000 daily for a total of 701,000 flags when the exhibition closed.
Images of In America: Remember will accompany historical accounts of the pandemic for generations to come.
CreditsRuppert Landscape donated 2,000 hours to design support and installation of the initial array. Esri, Ind, the largest geographic information systems in the world, assisted in bringing the art into the digital sphere and organizing flag dedication requests. Other organizations donated items such as commemorative Sharpie pens (4IMPRINT) or provided items at cost (Blackburn Flags). Volunteers from George Washington University supported the mirroring effort, while volunteers from the Smithsonian and Trust for the National Mall helped on site.