The Lives We Lost is a data art sculpture about Greenwood Cemetery Civil War veterans.
Created by Yining Shi, Upasana Jain.
The Lives We Lost is on the exhibition "This is My House of Green Grass: The Raw Retrieval of the Civil War", created by Michele Gorman and exhibited in May 2015 at Green-Wood Cemetery.
The photos above were taken by Yilei Zhang.
We got the data about 4945 veterans who served New York state during the Civil War and buried in Greenwood Cemetery. We found an interesting fact that there are more than 3000 veterans who were born out of New York State, including 35 different countries and 30 US states.There are 457 veterans who were born in Ireland, 713 veterans who were born in Germany, and 284 veterans who were from England.
We sorted all the names within different counties and US states, and we used laser cutter to make 57 birthplace tags with veterans' names on them. We put all the tag in a plastic tub with white LED strip in it. when the light emitted by LED strip meet the etched text on the tags, the texts will reflect lights. People can rotate tags to read all veterans's names and etched texts will give people a tangible feeling of all the lives we lost in the civil war.
This project shows the fact that in the New York state, immigrants, especially Irish and Germans, participated in the Civil War at a high rate. The reason behind this fact is that New Your City during the American Civil War (1861–1865) was a bustling American city that provided a major source of troops, supplies, equipment and financing for the Union Army. The port of New York, a major entry point for immigrants, served as recruiting grounds for the Army.
Here's video about the exhibition "This is My House of Green Grass: The Raw Retrieval of the Civil War", by Michele Gorman, and photos inside the video were taken by Ashley Simone.
At first, we sorted all the names with different birthplaces. Here's the data we got.
Then, we used Processing to experiment with the data. For each soldier, we took the his birthplace and drew one line from his birthplace to New York. The sketch is below. The code can be found here: https://github.com/yining1023/greenwood/tree/master
Besides the digital sketch, we wanted to create something that can give people tangible feelings. So we started laser cutting 57 birthplace tags with veterans' names on them. We put all the tag in a plastic tub with white LED strip in it. when the light emitted by LED strip meet the etched text on the tags, the texts will reflect lights.