Shots and shots

And in today's seeming lead up to deployment:
Inoculation and the purchase of a back-up camera.

It was part 1 of a 2 needle treatment (plus a very tasty Life Saver lollipop) to immunize me against Hep A/B and malaria. The follow-up shot is next week.

Then it was off for a camera shopping. My budget is tight and I just need a secondary camera for a backup as well as use within the confines of crowded armoured SUVs. It wasn't my first choice but the Fuji XP30 I came home with can take a hit, is small, shoots HD etc. etc. No GPS though. Sigh.

Other'n buying a second battery for the Rebel and one of those funny, tiny Gorillapod Tripods I think I've bought everything needed. It seems best to not think of all the cash I've plonked down on gear for the three trips this year.

That sucker was really tasty.


Drawing my way to nothing

The evening's work is below.
Slowly I'm getting to the point where I need to start understanding this project on a macro scale. There are many angles and trajectories (my second favourite word) to consider and one of the best ways to sort stuff out is making tiny drawings or paintings. The scale is so intimate and I generally do them on a tattered piece of cardboard wedged into my desk. These small pieces are really evidence of investigation. At least to me, the end result is an object, but it's the detached investigation – loose and undetermined – that takes place while I draw that seems most worthwhile.

And that is at least part of what this project will be: a consideration of the subjective view of the works; how a viewer will think about these soldiers, how the soldiers felt about me and vice versa. It's the "misreadings" that carry the weight. To the grunts, I am an artist, to the art audience I'm often seen as an ex-soldier. To the soldiers, art viewers are aliens possessed of strange habits and to that same viewing audience, the grunts are defined by the many cultural depictions of them that already exist.

What I wanted to say was this: I don't know where this project will actually go until I get over to and return from Kabul. Hopefully both the escape and return will take place, but until then, the largest part of the project is an unknown.

So until then, here's a small (6"x6") drawing that stands for me wondering if I'll be scared, bored, amputated, thrilled and/or perplexed by the city of Kabul.



The Army is chock full of acronyms and abbreviations, enough to be considered its own, exclusionary language.
"Tombstone" however, is simple and ironic.
And today I submitted my Tombstone Data in preparation for my departure for Kabul.
• Passport number
• Passport expiry date
• Date of Birth
• Security clearance
• Contact info
• Emergency contact info
• Ballistic helmet size
• Ballistic eyewear size
• Fragmentation vest size

On another form there's a request for blood type.

So, it's starting to feel real. While I still might get told "no" at the last minute, I seemed to have cleared the all-important CEFCOM Gatekeeper hurdle.
If it goes as planned, I'll be leaving Dec. 08ish but I currently have no idea how long I'll be there for.
A piece at a time is all I can ask for it seems.

Current daytime highs are around 17c. Just like Toronto but with War Rugs. And War.


Profile in The Toronto Star

As it's germane to this project, here's a link to Saturday's piece in The Star.
And this great, gaunt photo of me.


Sgt. Gillis

These days it's kinda hard to get any work done on this project, but this morning I did a quick drawing of Sgt. Gillis, based on a photo taken during the departure process. I don't really draw in graphite/pencil much, but I had a moment of inspiration while talking to a couple of my York students last week.

Here he is: