Costs of War in Conversation: Judy Byron’s “What Matters”

In her installation piece What Matters, artist and activist Judy Byron pairs women in conversation to discuss “what matters” to them. Byron then produces 3-D portraits of her participants, accompanied by audio recordings of their dialogue, which are displayed together in an installation inviting audience members to further discuss the topic . Here two women, Marianne and Joan, talk casually about the costs of war.

Marianne and Joan. Colored Pencil And Crayon On Handmade Linen Paper. Attached To Arches Drawing Paper Surfaced W/Color Pencil, Charcoal, And Punch Holes. 72″ X 52″. 2007.

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One Response to Costs of War in Conversation: Judy Byron’s “What Matters”

  1. Self Deception
    (Michael O’Leary)

    Snow was falling on the small railway station
    The ground was as cold as the air
    The only heat rose from the engine’s boiler
    Whose steam billowed everywhere
    Spilling over onto the platform
    Obscuring the already chaotic scene

    Our guards were rounding up the old women
    The children and the lame and crippled men
    Herding them into the freight wagons
    As I crossed the railway tracks again
    Toward the Belsen bound death express
    Out of the crowd came a small boy.
    He was smiling.

    The child was dark and Jewish looking
    One of the men was yelling at him.
    Hurry up, get in the boxcar
    Suddenly the boy turned away.
    He became light, ethereal looking
    Floated off into the approaching evening air

    As the vision joined the engine’s rising smoke
    I realised I was watching myself.
    All those years ago, at this station waiting
    To get the train home from my school
    Catching a final glimpse within the clouds
    The evaporating image smiled back down

    Catching a final glimpse within the clouds
    The evaporating image smiled back down

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