American Vectors (2008)

In American Vectors, American military bases in Iraq are visualized using techniques borrowed from basic bioscience. For each of the major “contingency operating bases,” a living culture of the bacterium Serratia marcescens is grown in the shape of airstrips and roads that form physical infrastructure of the base. As the cultures advance in age the bacteria grows and spreads in unpredictable ways, creating a landscape that evolves over time. Images of each bacteria culture are streamed via live webcams and viewers are invited to discuss the work and the issues it raises via the American Vectors blog.

The purpose of this project is to create an image of the American presence in Iraq, which is not limited to descriptive information and quantifying data about the war that can easily be found elsewhere. The image I seek to create is one that presents the US led war in Iraq as a ...

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In American Vectors, American military bases in Iraq are visualized using techniques borrowed from basic bioscience. For each of the major “contingency operating bases,” a living culture of the bacterium Serratia marcescens is grown in the shape of airstrips and roads that form physical infrastructure of the base. As the cultures advance in age the bacteria grows and spreads in unpredictable ways, creating a landscape that evolves over time. Images of each bacteria culture are streamed via live webcams and viewers are invited to discuss the work and the issues it raises via the American Vectors blog.

The purpose of this project is to create an image of the American presence in Iraq, which is not limited to descriptive information and quantifying data about the war that can easily be found elsewhere. The image I seek to create is one that presents the US led war in Iraq as a corrupt and imperialist project designed to engineer a government and culture much like our own: one that serves the needs of powerful transnational oil corporations.

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