The project includes more than twenty veteran and artist pairs working together to create a piece of artwork. Artists from diverse backgrounds use multiple techniques and media including poetry, drawing, photography, and sculpture to express the soldier’s experience.  ViEW is presented by Idea Lab at the OSU Urban Arts Space.

Erica Slone and Ash Woolson, both veterans and students in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University, developed one of the selected Idea Lab projects this year: Visualizing the Experience of War (ViEW). The ViEW project pairs an artist with a veteran to create an original piece based on that veteran’s experience during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The project includes more than twenty veteran and artist pairs working together to create a piece of artwork. Artists from diverse backgrounds use multiple techniques and mediums including poetry, drawing, photography, and sculpture to express the soldier’s experience. The Visualizing the Experiences of War exhibition displays the artwork produced from the ViEW project and will rotate through October 23rd.

The goal of ViEW is to provide an alternative to the mass media as source of information about the current wars in the Middle East.  Slone and Woolson feel the reality of war that veterans experience is not the like stories on the news. These personal war stories are less glorified but equally stunning and captivating.  The art produced from first-hand story telling gives an account of the personal lives of soldiers in combat, rather than the broad view the mass media usually focuses on. (Urban Arts Space).

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The text transferred onto the wooden desktop reads as follows:

I was frantically checking windows and rooftops now
and the machine guns on the roof above me began opening up.
I was getting aggravated that I couldn’t find this guy with
grenades, so I went back to the crowd, which was in chaos.
There was a man in a blue or gray dishdasha, sprinting
across the street, high kneeing as tracers flew by him. The
rest of the crowd was a blur.
Two SAW gunners stood up behind me and were getting
ready to open fire through the giant glass window I had
been staring through all day with my scoped rifle, perched
in an old school desk. I screamed at them not to shoot.
Perhaps its because I knew there was nothing to shoot at
but a crowd of men, women and children who had been waiting
all day to get some gas. It’s possible that I was worried
about two SAWs putting hundreds of rounds per minute in a
medium sized concrete room, and the subsequent ricochets
that would have filled the room. They stopped, but I could
tell they were eager. Something made me snap. I tossed my
rifle to the floor and tucked myself into a corner in the
back room of the building we were occupying. The machine
guns quit firing. I don’t know if the whole thing lasted
thirty seconds or twenty minutes.
We stayed in that building until nightfall. Trucks
were sent to pick up the stranded sniper team, and we went
out on patrol after sunset. We walked down the alley
through the shoes that were left behind by the crowd. The
fire department had come and cleaned up the bodies.
Shoes were everywhere.

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