The present work, Metal Jacket, is a densely precise grouping of three thousand dog tags ordained into the shape of a hollowed sterling military jacket. At a first glance the dog tags pointedly recall the physical image of the soldiers that could have worn them while serving their country. Upon close inspection, however, the dog tags are embossed with nothing more than random and meaningless words, rather than the identifying agents for individuals in service. This paradox deftly anesthetizes the ability for any personal association or emotion, and challenges one to associate what was intended as a deeply individualistic, to a universal and communal experience. Metal Jacket engages the viewer in a confrontation with his own gaze peeking out from the mirroring facets, which in turn become the collective other encasing the jacket's argently framed void. As the artist himself asserted, "Often, people, even critics, think that my work is about individuality, disappearing into anonymity. But it's not. I don't think anonymity exists actually. It's just a convenient way to describe a certain situation. It's our problem not to see certain individuals, or not to see difference or individuality. I just want to recognize them." (Do Ho Suh, quoted in Susan Sollins, Art: 21 Art in the Twenty-First Century, vol. 2, New York, 2003).
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