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A massive art installation attempts to put the COVID-19 deaths in perspective

It’s hard to contemplate the massive numbers cited in COVID-19 death statistics. It’s even harder to fathom that every one of the more than 6 million dead from the disease worldwide was a real person, with their own distinct personality and internal world. For her art installation In America: Remember, which ran on the National Mall in Washington, DC from 17 September to 3 October 2021, the artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg attempted to bridge the gap between the death statistics and the individuals lost. The installation coated the Mall with some 700,000 small white flags – each one representing a person who had died of COVID-19 in the US. The director Jamie Meltzer further humanises the display in his affecting short documentary Not Even For a Moment Do Things Stand Still, which captures intimate moments of visitors taking in Firstenberg’s exhibition, remembering loved ones lost, and attempting to come to terms with the immense scope of the tragedy that’s still unfolding, with the US death toll now at more than 1 million people.

Director: Jamie Meltzer

Producers: Annie Marr, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg

11 July 2022

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