MARITZA RUIZ-KIM

Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Mi Polígrafa

Mi Polígrafa (2017-now)

I watch my country’s current events closely. Our national self-concept suffers from a terrible cognitive dissonance: saying we stand for one thing while holding views and behaving in ways that are incompatible with our grand principles. I use American symbols, bold lines, and clear forms to specifically say what I think needs to be said. 

It’s still, 2013. 2min 20sec, audio ON.

My heart is still beating even though time stood still the moment I found out my nephew was killed in Afghanistan. And the war hasn’t ended yet. It’s 2020.

On September 11th, 2001, my oldest nephew was 11 and a half years old.

On October 7th, 2001, the war in Afghanistan began.

Eleven years later, on October 25th, 2012, he was killed in Afghanistan. 

On October 7th, 2013, I visited the National September 11 Memorial in NYC.

I took the original video footage (at the very center of this) on that visit to the memorial. It was the 12th anniversary of the start of the US war in Afghanistan. I ran my hand across names on the memorial and cried, because of course, my nephew’s name wasn’t there, but the events that led to his death started on 9/11. 

I’d purchased several US Flag postcards at the Museum of Modern Art ( byJasper Johns) before getting to the memorial, knowing I’d want to do something with them when I arrived. I arranged them on the ground under the trees at the memorial, then I walked in circles around the flags while taking an iPhone video of them. I got more and more dizzy the more circles I walked. When I returned home, I printed my own series of flags and used them for the top layers of this video, with the original video showing as the very bottom layer. To make this video, I placed an iPad on top of a full (uncut) American flag, then covered it with my printed flags before shooting this video. 

About my nephew
LA Times: Army sergeant killed in Afghanistan, by Frank Shyong, 12/2/2012

Related coverage
NY TimesA Deadly Deployment, a Navy SEAL’s Despair, by Nicholas Kulish and Christopher Drew, 1/19/2016