“Soldier Meltdown” (25 minute video piece) aims to show the effect of war on the body through the representation of a soldier in the form of a mass produced toy. The toy, a green plastic American G.I. soldier was, and still is, a common toy in many western households which would allow children to play imaginary war games and recreate battles alone or with friends. The replica toy is originally made of plastic and is approx 1 inch tall. The toy soldier used in the “soldier meltdown” video is a replica of the green 1inch toy but is in the form of a 16cm tall wax candle purchased from a novelty gadget high street store.
The content of the video piece (filmed and displayed in portrait form) is a single 25 minute take of the lit soldier candle slowly burning away defacing, eroding, disfiguring and destroying the form of the soldiers body into a trace of melted wax.
The piece of work shows the effect of war on the body through an inanimate novelty item, a representation of a soldier, which makes the viewer feel a slow, gradual empathy and emotional response towards the disfiguration and fading away of the body and human representation in the form of this slow burning, kitsch object.
The burning and destruction of the wax toy soldier candle represents how vulnerable, fragile and easily disposable the human body and life is in the act of war.
The aim of the video is to highlight the desensitisation of suffering, violence and war and the effects of war on the human body, which we have been subjected to over years of media reportage and documentation. In viewing the video piece it is hoped that the viewer will start to feel empathy, sadness and sorrow for the deterioration of the slow burning mass produced toy soldier. In doing so, the staged destruction of a toy soldier, an object representing the human form, will hold the audiences gaze longer than a photographic or video documentation of an actual act of violence towards a real person.