With their often ghastly depictions of war, the larger-than-life posters in Windows on the War have a way of eliciting strong reactions from museum-goers. So perhaps for this exhibition more than others, it made sense to provide a place for visitors to leave behind their own points of view. On one hand, the chalkboard is a time-honored medium many of us remember from our old school days; but in this case it also serves as an interactive space allowing visitors to creatively engage with the exhibition and each other.
We have been keeping a collective eye on the board since the show’s opening, posting some of our favorite comments to a Facebook photo album. In many ways, it has been an enlightening, if flummoxing, experience to see what kinds of comments get the greatest response. Despite plenty of earnest reflection and personal testimony (even some from survivors of the war), the most popular comments are usually non sequiturs like “PANTS” or “Ponies Not War.” It’s almost as if the chalkboard has been co-opted in many ways by the language of social media. Pithy musings are met with jocular barbs as visitors react to one another in a kind of nonreciprocal correspondence.
Check our Facebook photo album as we update it each week and see if people ‘like’ what you have to say. Also, don’t forget visitors are welcome to take photographs of many of the posters on display in Windows on the War. Tag us if you post a picture from TASS to Flickr, and we’ll share it. Now if somebody wants to draw a cat playing the piano, maybe our TASS chalkboard photo album will go viral.