Special project request

PtCPatrick at aol.com PtCPatrick at aol.com
Mon Apr 15 23:16:43 EST 1996

Please forgive this impersonal, and ultimately non-participatory request from
your list. I am looking for people willing to participate in an art project
and thought that people on the Internet of similar, if only tangential
interests might help me.

This summer I plan to stand on Chicago street corners and ask people if they
will let me take a photo of their smallpox vaccination scar. As you may know,
almost twenty years ago the World Health Organization officially declared
smallpox as an eradicated disease. That leaves only the scars of vaccination
as testament (aside from apparently two vials of the Variola virus in
safekeeping - one in Russia and the other at the CDC, and 500,000 doses of
the vaccine kept by WHO). And, as we are all mortal, we that carry the scar
will, after a time, vanish as well.

Perhaps contemporary health issues like AIDS will come to mind as a similar,
though less swift, disaster as the smallpox epidemics of one, two and three
hundreds years ago. Indeed, I am mindful of the role smallpox played in the
annihilation of much of the indigenous populations in the western hemisphere.
And now, with increased incidents of TB and polio, along with ebola and a
host (no pun intended) of other bugs coming out of the woods and onto the
scene, I cannot help wonder if smallpox will somehow rear its ugly pustules

There are other issues that the smallpox scar plays into in the art world,
such as ritual scarification and tattoos, but I digress from my request.

I am asking people on the Internet to provide me with close-up photos (black
& white or color, any size film, except slides) of their own, and/or others'
smallpox vaccination scars. Photos (date of birth and names of participants
are optional).should be sent to the gallery that represents me: Beret
International, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, USA. 

My goal is to fill entire walls with these photos in the Fall of 1996. They
will be a strong testament to the living and remind us of those we have lost
to diseases - not to mention what medicine and society at large can do when
it puts its collective mind to it. As I ideally would like worldwide
participation, I would also ask that my request be forwarded to other lists
that you participate on.

Thank you for any aspect of my request you decide to do.


Patrick Collier
PtCPatrick at AOL.com

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