Impact Afghanistan War


From July 1 (Canada Day) 2010, through July 1, 2011 I performed Impact Afghanistan War, a memorial project where I fell 100 times every day in a public space (each fall in recognition of an Afghan death).

Impact was my attempt to reach beyond the numbness produced by abstract numbers, political debates and media spectacularization. It was an attempt to register, through my body, the impact of our (Canada’s) engagement in Afghanistan. In a larger sense, it was an inquiry into empathy, an investigation of the space between “us” and “other,” between individual and social grief, between personal ritual and public protest and between art and politics.

Click here for a record of each day’s falls.

Below is an archive of Impact‘s year of blogs:

im-pact: 1. forceful contact; 2. to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter.

Peace Conference, Albany New York

Falling in the heart of the “Empire State”

“I’m not even going to ask.”

Fear for Falling: Reflections of falling while on the road

Autonomous Invisibility in Queen’s Park

Unintended Cloak of Invisibility

Heartbreak in Queen’s Park

Why Afghanistan?

From Public Mourning to “Death Pornography”

A Neighborly Non-encounter

Paradigm Shift: From Invisible to Hyper-visible

Catching Up

Inspirational Response

. . . more on Inspirational Response

Who Would You Fall For?

Embracing Absurdity

“Gizelle says ‘Hi” to everyone”

My First 9/11 Since 2001 Outside of the US

Tech Breakthrough!!!

On Fear and Self-policing

Weather Report

On Getting Up Over and Over Again

Feeling Lucky

Taking Risks and Falling Solo

Feeling Tender in Winnipeg

October 7, 2010: 9th Anniversary of US/NATO Invasion of Afghanistan


Curiosity or Pheromones? 

Jennifer’s Curiosity

On Wonders and Horrors

Blasted! Not More Sensationalized and Decontextualized Media Coverage of Violence Against Women

Remembering the Named and the Unnamed

Interventions, Incursions and Encounters

Poppies, From Flanders to Afghanistan

The Poetics of Memorial

Tech Support

Weather Report #2

Shared Vulnerabilities

. . . More on Shared (and Sharing) Vulnerabilities

Snow Angels and Earthly Angels

The Named and the Nameless

Falling in Melbourne

Paradigms Shift


con-front: to stand, or meet, facing

Still Falling in Melbourne

Life and Limb

To Fall–Together and Alone

Expanding Horizons of Care

Beyond Recognition

Cold Rain Watering Seeds of Hope

The “Life Art Process”

A Bitter Sweet

Turning Toward the Trembling Heart of the World

Falling Together, in Melbourne and at York

Stop & Spot

Falling for Someone

“Standing Tall”

Embracing Grief

Beyond Borders

800 Falls in Melbourne

History Lessons

A Snapshot from Within the Kaleidoscope 

Falling on ANZAC Day in Melbourne

Story About Impact on OpenFile

Minding the Gap

More From Melbourne

Shifts Happen and Meanings Change–What to do?

Conversations From (and Between) Nederland and Australia

Falling in Reusel

Impact in Eindhoven and on Brabant TV/Radio


On Endings: A Dialogue, From Melbourne to Toronto

Canada Day

Falling in Italy

Year-end Fall in Melbourne

Echoes of Falling, Near and Far

4 thoughts on “Impact Afghanistan War

  1. Helene- you sewed me together with another under the full moon tonight.

    I have been thinking about this Impact project you told me about. I cannot get it out of my head.

    I was wondering… if you would be open to falling together one day? If perhaps I could join you? I know that you are performing at young and dundas on saturday- as am I. I will be performing there from 4-5pm. Maybe sometime in and around this would be a good opportunity?

    I completely understand if this work is for you to explore alone, but, if not… I am here.

    Thank you for your work tonight.

    with love,

    1. Adriana,

      One of the things I love about intervention work is the moments of connection. Your availability to the moment of sewing almost brought tears to my eyes. Doing Impact is like that. Sometimes one in 100 people stops and really takes it in, and it’s so special. It’s like for a moment we are able to break the spell of the spectacle and really see one another.

      I would love to fall together. I’ll email so we can figure out a time/place.


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