POSTCARDS FROM THE HANGING

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Site of Public Execution by Burning at the Stake of Giordano Bruno February 17, 1600 (Campo de'Fiori, Rome)
Site of Public Execution by Burning at the Stake of Giordano Bruno February 17, 1600 (Campo de'Fiori, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Human Sacrifice c. 900-1500 AD (Nohuch Mul Pyramid, Coba, Mexico)
Site of Public Executions by Human Sacrifice c. 900-1500 AD (Nohuch Mul Pyramid, Coba, Mexico)
 Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1792-1793 (Place du Carousel, Louvre, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1792-1793 (Place du Carousel, Louvre, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging June 10, July 19, August 19 & September 22, 1692 (Gallows Hill Park, Salem, MA)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging June 10, July 19, August 19 & September 22, 1692 (Gallows Hill Park, Salem, MA)
Site of Public Execution by Tomahawk of Chief Leatherlips, June 1, 1810 (Franklin County, Ohio)
Site of Public Execution by Tomahawk of Chief Leatherlips, June 1, 1810 (Franklin County, Ohio)
Site of Public Executions by Burning, Hanging & Beheading c. 14th - 18th century (Carlisle Bridge, Dublin)
Site of Public Executions by Burning, Hanging & Beheading c. 14th - 18th century (Carlisle Bridge, Dublin)
Site of Public Executions by Estrapade 17th century (Place de Estrapde, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Estrapade 17th century (Place de Estrapde, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Sport c. 80 – 476 (Colosseum, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Sport c. 80 – 476 (Colosseum, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1794 (Place de Bastille, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1794 (Place de Bastille, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging c. 1861 – 1865 (Fort Warren on Georges Island, Boston Harbor, MA)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging c. 1861 – 1865 (Fort Warren on Georges Island, Boston Harbor, MA)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging of Pirates and Thieves 18th - 19th century (Grand Canal Square, Dublin)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging of Pirates and Thieves 18th - 19th century (Grand Canal Square, Dublin)
Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1792-1793 (Hôtel de Ville, Paris)
Site of Public Executions by Guillotine 1792-1793 (Hôtel de Ville, Paris)
Site of Public Execution by Hanging under the Charge of Sheriff Charles F. Prevatt, sheriff, 1897 - 1905 and 1908 - January 19, 1912 (Osceola Courthouse, Kissimmee, Florida)
Site of Public Execution by Hanging under the Charge of Sheriff Charles F. Prevatt, sheriff, 1897 - 1905 and 1908 - January 19, 1912 (Osceola Courthouse, Kissimmee, Florida)
 Site of Public Executions by Hanging from the Tyburn Tree Gallows, up to 25 people hanging at a time, averaging 35 hangings per year 1571 - November 3, 1783 (Marble Arch, London)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging from the Tyburn Tree Gallows, up to 25 people hanging at a time, averaging 35 hangings per year 1571 - November 3, 1783 (Marble Arch, London)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging, c.1300 – 1400 AD (Campo San Polo, Venice)
Site of Public Executions by Hanging, c.1300 – 1400 AD (Campo San Polo, Venice)
Site of Public Execution by Burning at the Stake of Girolamo Savonarola May 23, 1498 (Piazza della Signoria, Florence)
Site of Public Execution by Burning at the Stake of Girolamo Savonarola May 23, 1498 (Piazza della Signoria, Florence)
Site of Public Executions by Beheading and Hanging c. 1750 - 1826 (Piazza del Popolo, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Beheading and Hanging c. 1750 - 1826 (Piazza del Popolo, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Beheading, Hanging & Quartering 16th - 19th century (Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome)
Site of Public Executions by Beheading, Hanging & Quartering 16th - 19th century (Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome)
Site of Public Execution by Crucifixion of St. Peter c. 64 - 68 AD (Piazza San Pietro, Rome)
Site of Public Execution by Crucifixion of St. Peter c. 64 - 68 AD (Piazza San Pietro, Rome)
Site of Sentencing and Public Executions by Beating c. 1420 - 1912 (Wumen Gate, Forbidden City, Beijing)
Site of Sentencing and Public Executions by Beating c. 1420 - 1912 (Wumen Gate, Forbidden City, Beijing)

 

Postcards from the Hanging // Sites of Public Execution
20″x21″ sepia-toned silver gelatin prints in french mats, 2001-present

 

Recorded across three continents, this series includes photographs and short films from sites that have been used for public executions at different times in history.

When I began this ongoing project, there was petitioning for Timothy McVeigh’s execution to be televised, a modern form of a public arena. The desire to watch or show people being killed, as perceived justice or as a political act, is still alive today all over the world evidenced in the ghastly videotaped beheadings broadcast on Youtube and social media sites.

I began this project with questions; What does a society choose to show of its history in public space? Are shifting values visible in the function of space? Can images reflect the power of society to impact policy change?

I found some sites that were quite venerated as places for public execution, such as St. Peter’s Square in Rome or the field in Salem, MA (now named Gallows Hill Park) where accused witches were hung. Some places are now well known for other reasons, such as the Louvre, in front of which the guillotine was installed during the French Revolution. The different ways in which the history of these places has been dealt with (some capitalizing on the executions, others concealing the execution history with other events that also occurred in these places) spoke more to me about present day morality and values in each country than the abolishment or continuation of capital punishment in those countries.

The photographs in this series are sepia-toned silver prints presented in French mats. This presentation is a reference to historical photographs and cataloguing of images made for documentation purposes. Each of the mats have calligraphic titles describing the dates and types of executions that occurred on that site, rather than the name and place pictured, as is customary.

In 2007, the book “Sites of Public Execution” was published in conjunction with a solo exhibition of this series at the Danforth Museum (MA).

 

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