My grandparents, Vance and Marybelle, were married at a Florida army base in 1942. A year later, he dropped bombs on German factories. She set up house with her new in-laws in western Kansas and waited. Continents apart, the only modes of communication between them were letters, photographs, “Old 78’s” of their voices, and information funneled through the news, entertainment, and marketing industries. What parts stayed in? What parts were left out?
“My Last Duchess” is an audio/visual installation developed from familial, military, and commercial relics surrounding personal relationships during World War II, a period that also first defined the term “The Home Front.” By re-enacting (re-interpreting?) the communicative roles of spouses and their mediated environments, I am investigating how western structures support or deflect a time of war. I am also curious about the gaps of information people purposefully omit to “protect” one another, including myself. How do both private and public messages interact and determine what is culturally acceptable and moral?
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