untitled film still paintings
if I died in a combat zone

tour of duty

karen
soda man
my father asks what's going on?






If you visit the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. you'll not only be able to read the names of 58,320 American military personnel killed in the war but you'll also be able to make a rubbing of one of these names onto a special piece of paper provided by the park staff for this purpose.

For years I've been obsessed with the many names that mark this place, but also the many names that do not but so easily could have. When I was very small my father and mother took me to see the Moving Wall, a traveling, half-size replica of the memorial in Washington D.C. The Moving Wall has been visiting cities and towns around the United States since 1984. I didn't quite understand at the time what I was looking at, but I knew it was something important. While we were there, I distinctly remember asking my father where his name was.

Curt Bozif
Me and my father visiting the Moving Wall, 1989

Recently, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Wall in D.C. with my father. While we were there my father made a rubbing of the name of one of his lost buddies. I, on the other hand, had no dead buddies whose names I could make rubbings of. I was not in this war, so I made a rubbing of a name that did not exist on the wall in actuality but had for many years in my own playful fantasies.

Curt Bozif
Me and my father at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington D.C., 2008

Despite having been born thirteen years after the fall of Saigon, the war in Vietnam came very close to me. But like a dream, sometimes I think it's more a figment of my imagination than a real event. I often have to remind myself that I was not in this war and that I did not die in it.

The rubbing of my own name at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial can also be seen in my video of 2010, If I Were In Vietnam.




Curt Bozif
If I Died In a Combat Zone, 2008
graphite on paper, 4' x 10.5'

Curt Bozif
(Detail) If I Died In a Combat Zone, 2008,
graphite on paper, 4' x 10.5'