An old wooden table with mismatched wooden chairs (my grandparents’ dining furniture) stands in a stage-like room. On the table are letters, photographs and a radio. Wallpaper of the endless squadron formations is army green and covers all the walls. The name Kreisher is next to one plane and appears several times along the walls. Familiar names of friends he had mentioned are on nearby planes. There is no ceiling on the room, just dark open space. Uncle Forrest’s WWII wool army coat flies above the room with the arms spread like a plane, and it is lit from above to cast its shadow across the table at which viewers can sit and examine images and messages, old ad new. From “somewhere” there is a humming sound that fades and grows and fades and grows again. I also intend to include musical passages from composer Samuel Barber’s tone poem Night Flight which derives in part from his Second Symphony written in 1943 as a commission from the US Air Force to write a “symphonic work about flyers.” Barber who joined the Army in 1942 received flight training and battle simulation experience in preparation for the project.
Visually a rich part of my research included sadly beautiful diagrams of the squadron formations for D-Day. Names of the pilots were included, and the drawings of the planes and gliders and the names of young men go on and on and on in repetition and slight variation. Seeing these powerful patterns initiated my idea for an installation. Kreisher is one name and that of his best friend (and “best man”) Stephens is nearby, both clearly pulling the gliders with the glider pilots’ names listed as well as formation numbers and plane serial numbers. The diagram makes them appear so tightly organized as they head into the immense chaos of D-Day).
Mission Hackensack - Serial 37 Airfield : Merryfield - 441st Troop Carrier Group LZ : W Time over LZ : 0910 - D+1 Unit : 82nd Airborne Division
I will also complete a series of new photographs made in Europe and at the Air Museum near Dayton. They will relate to (and sometimes include) my father’s collection of photographs from 1943-45, and may include family members, especially brother and male cousins who look like Dad. I will also make self-portraits, as I always do. These will be matted and framed; some will be part of the installation to pull the decades and the stories together. Others will be displayed on a separate wall nearby as a contemporary commentary on the effects of war experience on the family.