Materials: Installation for the play Fallujah by Jonathon Holmes
Exhibition history: 2007 Context Festival, Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany; The Old Truman Brewery, ICA off-site, London, UK
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
In 2007, Lucy + Jorge Orta collaborated with playwright Jonathon Holmes to imagine the setting for his play Fallujah. Holmes gathered together the testimonies that formed the basis of his verbatim script, and which came from Iraqi civilians, NGOs, politicians, US and UK military, and journalists involved in the three attacks on Fallujah in 2004, as well as unpublished evidence collected by Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Dr Scilla Elworthy of Peace Direct. Responding to the script, the artists created a walk-through installation comprised of sculptural objects, including miniature hospital beds, re-conditioned stretchers and camp-beds, ambulances and other works created in reaction to the invasion of Iraq.
“It became clear that not only the story of Fallujah needed to be told, but also the stories of the people doing the telling. I wanted the accounts of witnesses to some of the most serious crimes committed during an atrocious war to be heard by audiences unaware, in the main, of those crimes. It seemed that only live performance could fully capture the simple symmetry of this dynamic. Horror has become a formula; I wanted to restore a sense of immediacy. I turned the testimonies I had gathered verbatim into a play... Fallujah.” J. Holmes 2007, The Guardian, New York Times.