WE REACHED OUR INITIAL FUNDING GOAL! THANK YOU, EVERYONE!
We are now aiming for $20,000, which will enable us to mount the prints to a higher standard than planned, and devote more resources to the video and multi-media elements of the exhibit, including the eBook version of Tim’s diaries. Thank you all for your support—and let’s keep working on it!
Our exhibit explores the Iraq war in an original, genre-busting way. Timed to the 10th anniversary of the invasion, the exhibit centers around large-format reprints of a searingly honest diary written by Lt. Tim McLaughlin, who was at the Pentagon on 9/11, whose battalion spearheaded the Iraq invasion, and whose American flag was placed over a famous statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square. The exhibit will include the iconic flag, which Tim kept in a safe deposit box when he returned home from Iraq. It will also feature photos of the invasion by Gary Knight and texts by Peter Maass.
The diaries contain drawings, maps, pictures and descriptions of battle--not just from Iraq, but from inside the Pentagon after it was attacked. The entries are raw and brutal, though occasionally absurd and humorous; this is how war diaries have always been. As the diaries were written by hand, Tim's thoughts and deeds are not flattened by the look of an impersonal computer font. His emotions--anger, exhaustion, confusion, boredom, lust--are visible in the handwriting. A unique mix of art and text and witness, the diaries tell in a remarkable way the story of a Marine's violent and poignant journey through America in wartime. They show, without the usual filters of the media or politicians, the hard lives and difficult choices of the men and women who fight our wars.
Gary and Peter were "unilateral" journalists who rented SUVs in Kuwait and drove into Iraq on the invasion's first day. They crossed paths with Tim's frontline battalion and covered its tip-of-the-spear march to Baghdad. Gary, an award-winning war photographer, is a co-founder of the VII photo agency and director of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Studies at Tufts University. Peter, author of a critically-acclaimed memoir about Bosnia's war, Love Thy Neighbor, has written on wars and war imagery for the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine and New York Review of Books.
The exhibit will open at the Bronx Documentary Center in mid-March, just a few days before the invasion's 10th anniversary. We anticipate it will attract a fair amount of attention due to its timing and unique content. Ten years on, the exhibit is our attempt--Marine, photographer, writer--to ensure the Iraq war is not forgotten and that our society does not shy away from its aftermath. It will be a multimedia event at which visitors can learn, engage and reflect. The exhibit will include a large-format reprint of Tim's PTSD diagnosis from the Veteran's Administration.
The Bronx Documentary Center is a wonderful non-profit funded by individual donations. We are launching this Kickstarter to pay for staffing during the exhibit, repainting gallery walls, mounting the photos and texts, designing and producing publicity material, organizing an opening reception, overhead expenses, building a website and creating interactive interviews and videos. Every penny we raise will be devoted to our exploration of what it means to fight a war and how a part of us remains in the warzone after the fighting is done.
Who We Are
Tim McLaughlin was raised in New Hampshire and earned his B.A. from Holy Cross, majoring in Russian language and poetry. He joined the Marines after graduation and was a tank commander during the invasion of Iraq. Now a lawyer in Boston, he is the president of Shelter Legal Services, a non-profit that offers free legal advice to veterans and the homeless.
Gary Knight is an award-winning photographer for Newsweek and other major publications. He is a founder of the VII photo agency and director of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Studies at Tufts University. His war photography has been published worldwide and selected for major museum exhibitions.
Peter Maass is the author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, which chronicles his experiences covering the Bosnian conflict, and Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. He has written for The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine and New York Review of Books. In 2012 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Note: For logistical reasons, the flag will be on display mainly on the opening and closing days, and some weekends.
Risks and challenges
There are few risks with this campaign. We have a location for the exhibit--the Bronx Documentary Center--we have the diaries, and we have high-quality paper for the prints. The exhibit will open in mid-March, a few days ahead of the invasion's March 19 anniversary. The question is whether this will be a successful and well-presented exhibit, or a stripped-down event that falls far short of its artistic and audience potential. We want to do full justice to Tim's military service as well as the milestone anniversary that the exhibit marks. We have devoted a lot of time into laying the groundwork; it has been a labor of love. The success of our Kickstarter campaign will ensure the exhibit is impressive, expansive and impactful. We really, truly need your help.
And we already have two people to thank--Fiona Turner and Jonathan Wu, who generously donated their time to produce our video!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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