Jenny Holzer


This is a photograph of a xenon projection on the Freedom Tower in Miami. I'm sitting on the back of the van that holds the equipment and my intrepid projectionist, Charles Passarelli. The words are lines from Fadhil al-Azzawi's poem "The Valley of the Beasts." Since 1996, I've used xenon lamps to throw texts onto buildings, mountains, rivers, and once, the ocean. I've staged projection nights in Europe, Mexico, South America, and the United States. The writing is in constant motion, an effect like credits rolling at the end of a film. I've used my texts for projections but have begun to show poems, as well as declassified government documents. (I want to know and show ex-secrets, especially those about American policy in the Middle East.) For the Freedom Tower, I chose poems by Szymborska, Amichai, Cole, Darwish, al-Azzawi, and many others. The poets wrote about Florida, Cuba, Israel, Palestine, war, refugees, terrorism, love, mothering, sex, exile, torture, getting killed, killing yourself, and baking on the beach. I'm grateful to all the poets who joined me