The Veterans Book Project
June 3 – October 9, 2022
The Veterans Book Project is a library of books authored collaboratively by artist Monica Haller and dozens of people who have been affected by, and have archives of, the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In their printed format, the books provide a place or “container” that slows down and materializes the great quantity of ephemeral image files that live on veterans’ hard drives and in their heads.
Each book re-deploys volatile images with the aim of rearticulating and refashioning memories. It stands both independent of and in concert with the larger collection.
Riley Sharbonno and his story sets the framework for the Veterans Book Project. Riley and his story (Onestar Press, 2009) was authored by Haller and veteran Riley Sharbonno from the hundreds of digital images Sharbonno shot while deployed in Iraq as a nurse at Abu Ghraib prison. Riley and his story came out of a four-year, opened-ended collaboration and established the framework for the Veterans Book Project. www.rileyandhisstory.com
About the artist
Monica Haller is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Minnesota. She has an M.F.A in Visual Studies and a B.A. in studying Philosophy of Violence and Non-Violence. She is a practicing artist and educator. Her creative work and research span photography, video, design, installation, and writing. Her collaborative work includes “Riley and his story” and the “Veterans Book Project,” both offering multi-layered narratives of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Haller’s most recent work brings her to the eroding wetlands of the Louisiana coast, land that has been in her family for six generations. This new work explores philosophies of ownership, the social construction of race, environmental racism, and productive possibilities of this wetland’s terrain. Her work is exhibited in the U.S. and internationally.