I have ambivalent feelings about wearing a poppy at this time of year. It’s not that I do not want to remember the dead, quite the opposite, and my work Casualty 14-18 is all about remembering the dead, but not just the British and Commonwealth dead and not in a way that might be associated with an establishment that still refuses to condemn war as political or commercial prudence.
I know some people wear a white poppy, although I also have mixed feelings about that.
However, ambiguity, ambivalence, conflict and contradiction are all potent effects in art, and the lack of resolution can be what keeps a work interesting, unlike much of the punchline-art that we see today.
Today is Armistice Day 2014 and my project has four more years to run. Each day it publishes 30 generatively created pages of 340 figures, one figure for each of the estimated 16 million dead – men, women and children – of all nationalities killed during the First World War. That is an average of 10,200 casualties per day for the duration of the war.
This is day 107 of 1,568.