An artists' book exploring war on various levels. Its illegality, deaths, inhumanity and propaganda. The artists' reactions as eyewitnesses to Australia's recent involvement in various wars and conflicts including the five year detention without trial of David Hicks in Guantanamo and the Howard government's inhuman Pacific Solution to the region's refugee problem. On another level the testimony of the twentieth century as being the bloodiest period in human history with 20 million deaths with sad overtones of the inevitability of future conflicts and wars.
"...The book was completed in 2008, but was made over the previous 2 years beneath the shadow of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Lebanon, political turmoil in Palestine, Myanmar, Chechnya, Zimbawe, East Timor, Sri Lanka and North Korea, and the all-encompassing War on Terror ... Eyewitness uses Magnani Incisioni 650 paper 310 gsm and has been bound by Daphne Lera, assisted by Monica Oppen. The book has been printed at Marieke Dench's studio and is issued in an edition of 10, with 4 artist's proofs. ..."--Colophon.
In each of the volumes, the text is handwritten and each page is individually painted, so that no two volumes are the same. The text is drawn from newspaper headlines, media reports and school lessons - the repeated slabs of text enforces the "punishment" theme running through the work. Photo transfers done with gouache and ink on paper with handwritten text done in mixed media and pencil. Some pages have incisions made in them where paint has bled through the pages. The book drips blood from every page. It comes in a calico bag, a "cover", resembling the hooded military prisoners we have seen on television during this period and reminding us of the count of dead in their body bags. The book cover itself is hand-bound with exposed stitching on the spine recalling the stitching together of lips by detainees. Six leather straps around the spine evoke prison bars, while the blood-red buckram cover is scored with a heavy black bar across the number 07 002 5 representing the censorship of secret government documents.
The calico bag is entitled Eyewitness.
Library's copy is no.4.