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Art Show: The Art of War

Cannon

by Arshad Naveed Ahsanuddin

Banner for The Art of War art show

Art: Cannon by Artist Arshad Naveed Ahsanuddin

A disused, small cannon at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia. It lay in a corner, next to the smithy, reduced to a decorative piece.

The cannon was first used in China in the twelfth century, made of paper and bamboo, and designed to spray fire and shrapnel at the enemy. It was the first use of artillery in war, and opened a new chapter in battlefield tactics, a story that continues to be told in the wars of the present day. The design has been refined and the materials changed, but the fundamental principle was the same: a rigid tube, charged with a solid explosive and metal projectile(s).

What attracted me to this cannon, was it's placement: out of the way and unimportant, as if it were a toy to be cast aside. It's dysutility as a weapon, and it's new function as a decoration was quite striking in my view, akin to displaying a sword on the wall that had never seen combat. All in all, it seemed to breathe a kind of sadness, as if it were an unvisited memorial, a remnant of a bygone age.

The image is a digital scan of a 6 cm black and white film negative, taken with a Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex camera.


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