Victoria Vesna

As the Crow Flies: 1 mile = 2640 dead bodies, 2020
Metal street sign
24 x 24 inches

Three weeks ago, there were 74,000 people who died in the USA. Based on the graphs, the estimate was that it would get to a staggering 100,000 by the end of the month, or the days of the drive by art exhibition. It unfortunately came true + another 5,000 — this was an underestimate! The three signs were positioned from the area of the UCLA hospital to the Veteran’s home and the beach — that is about seven miles which would be 18,480 dead bodies.



Artist Statement
100,000 people will be dead in the USA by May 30th and the number is increasing daily with no end in sight. It is hard to wrap one’s head around this statistic and even more difficult in Los Angeles where we are already spread about and mostly move around in our cars. Every single person dying unexpectedly is a tragedy. We do however daily think and consider our movement in space and time based on the status roads / traffic and miles to our destinations. If we calculate the number of bodies that died, using the width of a burial casket, shoulder to shoulder in a mass grave, one mile would be equivalent to 2640 bodies or almost 40 miles across the USA.

As the Crow Flies is an expression used to show a straight line from point A to B. The crow is often a symbol of bad luck and death but also may be considered as a sign of transformation and many cultures consider them keepers of the sacred laws that go beyond linear one-dimensional thinking. These street signs are meant to make us more aware of all those who unnecessarily died and to pay attention, observe and listen. Imagine that every mile you drive is equal to 2640 bodies shoulder to shoulder.

Victoria Vesna is an Artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci Center at the School of the Arts and California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). With her installations she investigates how communication technologies affect collective behavior and perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. Her work involves long-term collaborations with composers, nano-scientists, neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists and she brings this experience to students. Victoria has exhibited her work in 30+ solo exhibitions, 100+ group shows, has been published in 30+ papers and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. Her work has always centered on environmental and social issues and she often hosts symposia and exhibitions that address climate change.