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August 28, 2006

Monument (If It Bleeds, It Leads)

close-up of monument beads

There's a long history of art being used in novel ways to memorialize the dead (for instance, check out Fallen Astronaut elsewhere on this blog).

One of the more interesting recent memorials is Caleb M. Larsen's installation Monument (If It Bleeds, It Leads). A computer continuously scans 4,500 news sources around the world and every time it detects another person has been killed (whether by war, crime, or accident) a ceiling-mounted mechanical device releases a small yellow BB for every person who's died.

As the death count inexorably rises, more and more of the floor becomes colored with yellow. As a viewer, you're left with a swirl of mixed emotions... you'd love to watch one of the little BBs fall, but that means someone has just died and you don't want that... or do you?

Larsen built Monument with a clever mix of PHP and a Lego Mindstorms kit. There are construction details and videos of the work in action on his website.


Posted by Chris Spurgeon at August 28, 2006 08:13 PM


"Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?"
-- Harry Lime

Posted by: G. L. Dryfoos at August 29, 2006 09:14 AM