Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg on Her Memorial to America’s Pandemic Loss: ‘In America: Remember'

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By CSIS Global Health Policy Center | Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS Global Health Policy Center | Center for Strategic, and International Studies. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

From September 17-October 1, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created the largest participatory art installation on the Washington National Mall since the AIDS quilt of 1996, entitled ‘In America: Remember,’ composed of 700,000 white flags, in the shadow of the Washington Monument. A stunning achievement. Listen to her reflections on listening to those among the 16,000 who personalized a flag to memorialize their loss. “So many of these deaths happened in isolation.” The project unfolded amid our bitter divisions: “ We are tearing ourselves apart as a society.” 35,000 died unnecessarily over the two-week course of the installation. Remarkably, though, she succeeded in creating a solemn, quiet, respectful space where it was “safe to bring one’s grief” and escape our politics. Does this memorial create a lasting constituency that will press for a national commission? Any memorialization has to include an in-depth examination of what happened.

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg is an artist based in Bethesda Maryland.

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