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21 / Laos, walking the silent path / 1999
01 / #1 / 1999
02 / #2 / 1999
03 / #3 / 1999
04 / #4 / 1999
05 / #5 / 1999
06 / #6 / 1999
07 / #7 / 1999
08 / #8 / 1999
09 / #9 / 1999
10 / #10 / 1999
11 / #11 / 1999

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Walking the silent Path by Jean Ruiter

Walking the silent Path
A survey through rural Laos.

As we know, Laos has been bombed during the Vietnam War as no other country has been bomb. Because of the Ho Chi Min route, mostly 80 % of this land has been targeted for nine years on a row, 16 missions a day. Until now, approx. 75% is dangerous to visit because of unexploded bombs , grenades, etc.* It takes at least another 50 years to take out all of this material, in the meantime life goes on with on annual base many victims nobody is interested to know. Kosovo, East Timor, Angola, to many sites to keep our interest.
My aim was to go back to this forgotten situation to see how live is lived in this post war area . How war has had his influence and is still visible every single day. Houses are build with the remnants of Tanks and unexploded Bombs. Tiny paths through the minefields are going to the small rice fields. Villages inhabit with only war victims on wellfare , to less to survive.

The photographs I have taken (see the workbook) are ment to be an installation. I made some sound-recordings (interviews with war victims) and I will add some more sound in the installation.
The final prints will be made on largescale color and black and white paper material and also on transparent color material.
The combination pieces (colorlightbox and reflectionimage) wil become one piece.
The voices (sound) will be heard throuhout the exhibition, slowly and low in tone.
You will hear the victim who explain where and how he got hit by grenade or bomb.
Then in front of every piece, a sound will start through a infrared device and is my additional comment.
All together it is more than a document, it is a reflection of human errors, behavior and above all a ongoing story.

Jean Ruiter, Laos
Copyright 1999

*The U.S. dropped at least two million metric tons of bombs on Laos between 1964-73, in an unsuccessful effort to interdict communist Vietnamese supply lines that passed through eastern Laos and to squash the Lao communist resistance that eventually took power in 1975. As many as a third of the ombs dropped failed to explode and still litter villages, forests and rice fields.