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James Bloomfield - Green on Blue Attacks

:detail from painting.

Numbers of Coalition troops and affiliates killed and wounded by green-on-blue attacks:

The total number of Coalition deaths from green-on-blue attacks for the period Jan. 1, 2008 to the 14.10.2013 is 139

James Bloomfield

Household Paint on Reclaimed Plaster board 2.7m x 1.8m

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The Killing Jar – In Memory 10.11.2012

In Memory is a collaborative installation of 437 folded paper butterflies, a butterfly for each of the British servicemen and women that have lost their lives in the current Afghan conflict to date(As of the 10.11.2012).  The installation was created with members of the public who folded, painted or pinned a butterfly to the wall.

The butterflies are folded from envelopes that have travelled through the British postal system.  They are painted in household paint. The installation will be added to as the number of British fatalities increases.

The Killing Jar is a project which aims to document to document the fatalities of the Afghan conflict in a more direct way than the current media permits.

 

I have been asked to give an artist talk on my process and practise at the Walker Art Gallery, this is also to be followed by a workshop examining the concepts behind my entry into this yeas John Moores painting prize.

The talk starts at 12.30 and is a free event, the workshop starts at 2pm or just after the talk till 4pm. The workshop will give people an opportunity to paint or fold a butterfly, or they can contribute by using a piece of their own paper, something that is important or relevant to their own lives.

The workshop is a collaborative installation of 433 folded paper butterflies, a butterfly for each of the British servicemen and women that have lost their lives in the current Afghan conflict. The butterflies are folded from envelopes that have travelled through the postal system.

The installation will be in the resource area next to the John Moores 2012 exhibition. The installation will be on display until January 6th 2013.

More info here:  http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/events/
or on the BBC website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk

In an Al Jazeera English interview on April 19, 2010, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange explained why WikiLeaks titled the video “Collateral Murder”:

And you can see that they also deliberately target Saaed, a wounded man there on the ground, despite their earlier belief that they didn’t have the rules of engagement — that the rules of engagement did not permit them to kill Saeed when he was wounded. When he is rescued, suddenly that belief changed. You can see in this particular image he is lying on the ground and the people in the van have been separated, but they still deliberately target him. This is why we called it Collateral Murder. In the first example maybe it’s collateral exaggeration or incompetence when they strafe the initial gathering, this is recklessness bordering on murder, but you couldn’t say for sure that was murder. But this particular event — this is clearly murder.

Regarding the title Toby Harnden in the Daily Telegraph wrote: “Oddly enough, it was Stephen Colbert, ostensibly a comedian, who skewered him”:

“The army described this as a group that gave resistance at the time, that doesn’t seem to be happening. But there are armed men in the group, they did find a rocket propelled grenade among the group, the Reuters photographers who were regrettably killed, were not identified…You have edited this tape, and you have given it a title called ‘collateral murder.’ That’s not leaking, that’s a pure editorial.”
source: wikipedia

If you have been following this blog you will know that I have mentioned Seed paper a number of times. I had not heard of this until a chance encounter with the boys at Transmission Creative in Hope Mill. The paper is impregnated with seeds and once the message has been delivered it can then be planted and the seeds grow….brilliant.

The idea came to me that I could get seed paper made with Wildflower Meadow seeds and then print or make something out of it to be displayed as an art object or in a gallery setting. I contacted a manufacturer who kindly sent me some samples. In the meantime I began thinking about the initial aim of the Killing Jar project which was to paraphrase ” document the fatalities of the Afghan conflict in a more direct way than the current media allows…” I havent lost sight of this just let myself drift a little with different ideas. The keyword here is the media, and I began thinking about using the media directly in a different form…seedpaper.

I looked into making paper and decided that I could use recycled newspapers to make my own seed paper to impregnate with wildflower meadow seeds. By using the original newspapers that seem to be skirting major issues surrounding this conflict, or only half reporting the true Human Cost I would be I able to document the fatalities in a more direct way…and come full circle on my initial idea.

So as this is still a developing thought I will show you the progress of the seed paper samples that I am testing:

The paper has to be soaked in water overnight to start the germination process….

It is then planted in soil and covered over , the soil also was soaked over night and will be kept moist until the seeds begin to germinate…..

Watch this space to see how the seed paper develops….if it does. One concern I have with making my own paper is that the pulp is obviously extremely wet when the seeds are added and what is to stop them growing directly in the paper?….I m sure I will find out as I begin to experiment with the paper making process.

Over 10 weeks in and the Meadow has started to bloom, already I have seen Holly blue and Red Admiral Butterflies about (not been quick enough to photograph) the meadow has a resident colony of hover flies and a whole host of other flying insects and bugs including bee’s. The diversity of plants and grasses growing is amazing and I am extremely pleased with the results.

This is probably one of the smallest wildflower meadows in England but never the less it is still providing much-needed habitat in an urban setting severely lacking in green spaces and planted green spaces at that. As an exercise in growth interventions it shows what is possible in the most unassuming of areas,  looking back at the plot of land before it was planted. I have learnt how necessary strong light and good drainage are in the success of certain parts of the meadow over others and will take this forward in future interventions.

The next stage of this project is to deliver the ideas and message to a wider audience, I have already been experimenting with seed paper as you will see in a future blog entry and also looking at other methods of delivery.

As an art experiment I am gaining strength in allowing a process to develop in time that reveals itself to me, rather than deciding what direction the work should take. This is a new approach for me and one that can be scary and exciting at the same time. You have to court both chance and failure and with only a rough plan in your head both are equally important. I have many grand idea and schemes but to just let this one grow in its own time and space has been an invaluable learning experience.


An excerpt from my recent biography statement for LIME arts helped me to define what it is I am doing,

More recently James has been experimenting with non-art objects, elements of Sound Art, Film and Social Sculpture. His practise is constantly evolving to communicate his ideas more effectively and to wider audiences. His latest project Meadowland uses growth interventions to highlight the sickness of our Social Organism.

“Through this  process of social sculpture I want to create a dialogue between threatened habitat and the ill health of the social organism.”

I want to develop a document that will help me plan out the steps needed to launch this project nationwide or at the very least locally, looking for locations to stage or implement these growth interventions as I call them. The Meadow is the starting point and different locations in the urban built environment will help to spread the message. I want to develop a  pack or guerilla planting kit that will allow interested parties to create their own interventions. This could be  in the form of seed kit, or seed document that is impregnated with wildflower seeds and contains the instructions printed on the paper, the pack could consist of just a simple letter that is planted…….

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