Letters to the Dead
After letters and postcards written by my grandfather resurfaced I decided to write a response. His letters chronicle his life while deployed in Asian nations as an Airman for the U.S. Airforce between the 1940’s- 1960’s. He was eventually shot down in Vietnam and was pronounced killed in action ten years later. My letter tells the story of a few significant happenings since his passing. The film address how a person's absence can be felt for generations as well as how we attempt to connect with the dead. It is about the grief that can be experienced even without knowing someone. It is also about the expectations that the living have of the dead and attempts to access their presence. The content and structure of the letter and of the film take into account the ancient Egyptian practice of writing letters to the dead. I chose to subtlety reference this in the piece with its title and structuring because Ancient Egypt is a civilization that is considered to have had extensive and prolific practices involving the dead and afterlife. Interests in Egypt also came from the perceived similarities between the Las Vegas and Egyptian landscapes. Las Vegas is significant as the place both my grandparents are buried and where my grandmother went to escape her grief. The histories and mythologies constructed for both the places and how grief is/was dealt with in those places and also influences on this work.