martin firrell

complete hero

november 2009

the british army

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NATHAN FILLION:

FOR ME HEROES WERE SUPERHEROES FOR ME HEROES HAD TO HAVE SOME SPECIAL ABILITY OR SPECIAL POWER

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO FLY I DON'T KNOW IF IT HAD TO DO WITH FREEDOM OR ESCAPE

I LOOK AT THE CHARACTERS I'VE PLAYED AND I SEE THAT THEY TEND TO GATHER TO THEMSELVES WHAT THEY LACK ON THE INSIDE

MO BLACKWOOD:

IF THERE WERE BLACK PEOPLE ON THE TV IN THE 60s AND 70s THE WHOLE HOUSE WOULD RUN INTO THE FRONT ROOM TO HAVE A LOOK

I DON'T KNOW IF I WOULD SAY THAT OTHERNESS IN AND OF ITSELF IS HEROIC BECAUSE I AM THAT 'OTHER' A LOT OF THE TIME

I WANT TO GO TO A MOVIE HAVE MY POPCORN AND SEE SOMEONE ON THE SCREEN WHO LOOKS LIKE I DO BUT IS MORE FANTASTIC

HOLLYWOOD HAS FANTASTIC HEROES BUT YES THEY ARE PREDOMINANTLY WHITE AND YES THEY'RE GOING TO BE PREDOMINANTLY MALE

ADAM NICOLSON:

THE IDEA THAT THE HERO IS A BIG TOUGH MAN IS VERY DEEP AND VERY OLD CERTAINLY AS OLD AS HOMER

I STILL FEEL THAT HEROISM IS MALE AND FULL MALENESS HAS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF

THE GREAT HEROES HAVE ALWAYS WEPT. ALL OF THEM IN HOMER ARE IN FLOODS OF TEARS WITHOUT BEING THOUGHT UNMALE OR UNHEROIC

PROFESSOR A C GRAYLING:

PHILOSOPHERS ARE WRESTLING WITH WHAT MIGHT BE AN INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFICULTY. THERE MIGHT BE SOME THINGS WE ARE NEVER ABLE TO UNDERSTAND

THE EFFORT TO ARTICULATE A NEW WAY OF THINKING IS IN ITS OWN WAY HEROIC AND THAT IS THE PHILOSOPHICAL ENTERPRISE

HOWARD JACOBSON:

YOU CAN'T REVERE ANOTHER MORTAL. IT GIVES THEM A STATUS A MORTAL IS NOT ENTITLED TO HAVE AND YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO GIVE

I CAN'T BEAR THE SIGHT OF THE HUMAN BODY PROSTRATING ITSELF BEFORE ANYTHING

IF YOU'RE CAPABLE OF BEING MOVED BY A GOOD LEADER YOU WILL EQUALLY BE CAPABLE OF BEING MOVED BY A BAD LEADER

PEOPLE SHOULD BE UPRIGHT LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD WITH THEIR EYES CLEAR. MEN AND WOMEN AREN'T GOOD ON THEIR KNEES

SHAZIA MIRZA:

WHEN I STARTED THERE WERE NO FEMALE MUSLIM COMEDIANS AND I USED TO GET HATE MAIL. AND I WAS THINKING: GOD, I'M ONLY TELLING JOKES

AFTER 9/11 I DID THE JOKE: MY NAME'S SHAZIA MIRZA AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT IT SAYS ON MY PILOT'S LICENCE

AT FIRST PEOPLE WERE SCARED TO LAUGH THEN AFTER A FEW MINUTES THEY REALLY LAUGHED: IT WAS LIKE RELIEF

PROFESSOR A C GRAYLING:

IT DOESN'T FOLLOW FROM THE FACT THAT AN ACTION IS BRAVE THAT IT'S A GOOD ONE: FLYING A PLANE INTO A BUILDING TAKES COURAGE BUT IT'S AN EVIL ACT

WAR IS ALWAYS A FAILURE IT MEANS WE'VE FAILED IN DIPLOMACY AND WE'VE FAILED IN TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER

DR JENNIFER ROHN:

GALILEO WENT AGAINST THE CHURCH AND TOLD THE TRUTH THAT THE EARTH GOES AROUND THE SUN. FOR THAT HE PAID A HIGH PRICE. THAT'S HEROISM

I'D LIKE TO GET TO THE HEART OF WHAT IT IS THAT CONTROLS IN TIME AND SPACE THE ARCHITECTURE OF A CELL

PUSHING AT THESE PROBLEMS DOING UNGLAMOROUS WORK HUNCHED OVER A MICROSCOPE FOR DECADES: THESE ARE THE KINDS OF SCIENTISTS I ADMIRE

IF WE CAN STOP CLIMATE CHANGE THEN SCIENTISTS MIGHT BE ELEVATED TO REAL HEROES REALLY GOING OUT THERE AND SAVING THE WORLD

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO BE STRONG

THE HERO WE'VE BEEN SOLD BY THE MEDIA IS A BRUTE A STUD SKILLED ONLY IN KILLING AND PARTYING AFTERWARDS

QUENTIN CRISP SAID: IF THE GREAT DARK MAN MET ME HE WOULD NOT LOVE ME. IF HE DID LOVE ME, HE COULD NOT BE MY GREAT DARK MAN

'I WILL HAVE NO MAN ON MY BOAT' SAID STARBUCK 'WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF A WHALE'

BUT I WAS AFRAID. I WAS AFRAID FOR MYSELF. I WONDERED IF I WOULD LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO GET OUT OF THE TRENCH

THERE WAS A POSTER BACK IN THE 60s THAT SAID WAR IS NOT HEALTHY FOR CHILDREN AND EVERY LIVING THING

IN 1943 GERTRUDE STEIN SAID A NICE WAR IS A WAR WHERE EVERYBODY WHO IS HEROIC IS A HERO AND EVERYBODY MORE OR LESS IS A HERO IN A NICE WAR

MAJOR FIONA LAWS:

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT GENDER YOU ARE IF YOU CAN DO THE JOB THEN DO THE JOB

MY FEMALE SOLDIERS WILL FIND THEMSELVES ON A COMBAT LOGISTIC PATROL AND ROADSIDE DEVICES AND BOMBS DON'T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GENDER

DR ADAM RUTHERFORD:

IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS SINCE 1904 THE TALLER MAN HAS WON 80% OF THE TIME SO POWER IS CONVEYED BY TALL MEN WITH BROAD SHOULDERS

NOWADAYS THE ENTIRE WORLD IS RUN BY GEEKS

GEEKS GAVE US THE IPOD NERDS GAVE US STAR TREK

NATHAN FILLION:

'IF YOU GOT THIS JOB WOULD YOU HAVE A PROBLEM TAKING ORDERS FROM A WOMAN' I SAID MY MOM'S A WOMAN AND I TAKE ORDERS FROM HER ALL THE TIME

DR JENNIFER ROHN:

IT SHOULDN'T MATTER RIGHT? IT SHOULDN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE MALE OR FEMALE. SCIENCE IS SCIENCE. BUT IT DOES MATTER

WOMAN WOULD BE BETTER SCIENTISTS IF THEY HAD WIVES

GIA MILINOVICH:

THERE'S A WOMAN NAMED ADA LOVELACE WHO'S CREDITED AS BEING THE FIRST WRITER OF SOFTWARE

THERE WERE THE NERDS AND THEY WERE SHUNNED BY EVERYONE ELSE BUT NOW 30 YEARS LATER THESE PEOPLE RULE THE WORLD

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO BE STRONG

TO EMBRACE THE FULLNESS OF POSSIBLE EXPERIENCE WITHOUT FEAR STRIKES ME AS HEROIC IMPOSSIBLY HEROIC

NO ONE WOULD WISH SUFFERING ON THEMSELVES BUT EQUALLY A LIFE WITH NOTHING REMARKABLE IN IT WOULD BE A KIND OF BLAND HELL

IT TOOK ALL THE STRENGTH I HAD NOT TO FALL APART JUST TRYING HARD TO MEND THE PIECES OF MY BROKEN HEART

WE NEED A GREAT CIVIC HERO TO SHAME THE CHARLATANS POWER-GRABBERS AND CHEATS

'I WISH' QUOTH MY UNCLE TOBY 'YOU HAD SEEN WHAT PRODIGIOUS ARMIES WE HAD IN FLANDERS'

IF J K ROWLING HAD KILLED OFF HARRY POTTER WHO WOULD WE HAVE HAD LEFT?

CAPTAIN BRENDAN CAMPBELL QGM:

FOR ME HEROES ARE THE PEOPLE I'VE BEEN ON OPERATIONS WITH: THE GUY TO MY LEFT AND THE GUY TO MY RIGHT

NOBODY LIKES WAR AND NOBODY LIKES THE BADNESS THAT COMES WITH WAR

CAPTAIN MARK EVANS:

I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THE IDEA OF BEING IN THE ARMY SOUNDED LIKE PARTICULAR FUN AND ADVENTUROUS AND I WANTED TO GO TO WAR

WAR IS THE MOST INTENSE AND COMPELLING EXPERIENCE YOU WILL PROBABLY EVER HAVE OR SUFFER YOUR ENTIRE LIFE

MISS UNDERSTANDING:

TINA TURNER IS A SURVIVOR AND SURVIVORS ARE HEROES

JUDY GARLAND FOR SURVIVING THE STUDIO SYSTEM AND THE DRUG-TAKING WHEN THEY DIDN'T REALLY KNOW THE SIDE EFFECTS

APRIL ASHLEY:

THEY PUT A CROWN ON YOUR HEAD IT WAS LIKE BEING CORONATED EXCEPT YOU'RE TIED TO A BED AND WHEN THEY PULL THAT LEVER YOU'RE OUT

I DON'T FEEL LIKE A HERO I'VE JUST LIVED MY LIFE VERY QUIETLY. I JUST HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE EVER TO TRANSFORM

LANCE CORPORAL JOHNSON BEHARRY VC:

AT THAT POINT I AM PREPARED TO DIE BECAUSE I KNOW IF I CLEAR THE ROUTE THE REST OF THE COMPANY CAN COME THROUGH

I DON'T FEEL I'M A HERO. IF PEOPLE WANT TO SAY I AM I APPRECIATE IT. WHAT I DID IN IRAQ WAS NOTHING EXTRA TO WHAT I WAS TRAINED TO DO

DR ADAM RUTHERFORD:

ALL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL MANKIND. THAT'S PRETTY HEROIC

ROSALIND FRANKLIN MADE PHOTOGRAPH 51 WHICH WAS SHOWN TO CRICK AND WATSON AND THEY DETERMINED THE STRUCTURE OF DNA

WITHOUT PHOTOGRAPH 51 MADE BY ROSALIND FRANKLIN WE WOULD STILL BE IN THE DARK AGES IN MEDICINE AND SCIENCE: SHE IS AN ABSOLUTE HERO

DR JENNIFER ROHN:

ROSALIND FRANKLIN DIED OF CANCER PROBABLY FROM THE RADIATION IN THE SCIENCE SHE WAS DOING. SHE PROBABLY DIED FOR HER ART

MAJOR FIONA LAWS:

SOME SAY MORAL COURAGE TAKES MORE THAN PHYSICAL COURAGE. MORAL COURAGE IS SOMETHING OFTEN FORGOTTEN WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HEROES

INDIVIDUALS AREN'T BORN HEROES. WHETHER THEY DIE HEROES IS A MAT

TER OF PERCEPTION

WEZLEY SEBASTIAN:

SOCRATES FOR GIVING THE WESTERN WORLD THE IDEA OF FREE THINKING

THERE'S A FANTASTIC QUOTE FROM THE MUSICAL MAME: LIFE'S A BANQUET AND MOST POOR SONS-OF-BITCHES ARE STARVING TO DEATH

GOD OR A HIGHER BEING OR WHATEVER YOU BELIEVE CREATED US ALL DIFFERENT SO WE COULD APPRECIATE OUR NEED FOR ONE ANOTHER

MO BLACKWOOD:

THE PEOPLE I'M MOST DRAWN TO INTHE WRITING I DO ARE THOSE QUIET HEROES: THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE QUIET AMBITIONS BUT NO LESS INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLES

PEOPLE WRITING STORIES THAT ACTUALLY PLACED PEOPLE WHO LOOKED LIKE ME AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD RATHER THAN ON THE PERIPHERY

WRITERS WHO HAVE KEPT CLOSE TO THEIR IDEAL KEPT CLOSE TO THEIR NEED TO EXPLORE AND TELL THE TRUTH AND TO CHALLENGE

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO BE STRONG

ONLY THE BRAVE KNOW HOW TO FORGIVE

HEROISM IS SOMETHING COMPRESSED AND STRENGTHENED BY ITS OWN RETICENCE

THE FIGHTING MAN IS THE LAST TO CLAIM MONOPOLY OVER COURAGE

THE BODILY STRENGTH THE FIERCENESS AND BEAUTY OF YOUNG WOMEN

WE'VE CONFUSED ACTION WITH HEROISM

PROFESSOR A C GRAYLING:

ALL ART IN ONE WAY IS FAILURE. YOU NEVER HAVE THE PERFECT THING BUT IT'S THE ENDEAVOUR ITSELF WHICH IS THE HEROIC FACT

YOU DON'T HAVE TO JOIN THE ARMY TO BE A HERO. WHEN YOU SEE THERE'S NOT ENOUGH PIE TO GO ROUND YOU CAN JUST SAY YOU DON'T WANT A PIECE

CAPTAIN TIFFANIE WILDE:

I HAD A BAD MOTORBIKE CRASH I MIGHT NOT HAVE GOT THE PROPER USE OF MY LEG BACK AND THAT MADE ME STUBBORN ENOUGH TO JOIN THE ARMY

YOU'RE FULLY PREPARED TO DISENGAGE FROM THE WHOLE IDEA OF 'THAT'S A PERSON I'M SHOOTING' TO 'THAT'S SOMEONE I'M PROTECTING'

SHAZIA MIRZA:

TERRORISM HONOUR-KILLINGS SUICIDE BOMBERS. WHEN YOU RIDICULE THOSE THINGS YOU CAN SEE HOW LUDICROUS IT IS THAT PEOPLE ARE DOING THESE THINGS

WE LIKE TO THINK WE'VE EMBRACED GAY CULTURE AND WE HAVE TO A CERTAIN DEGREE. BUT WE HAVEN'T EMBRACED MUSLIM WOMAN YET AT ALL

THERE'S NOT A LESBIAN HERO THAT EVERYBODY CAN RELATE TO AND EVERYBODY WILL GO: OH YEAH SHE'S A HERO

ADAM NICOLSON:

MEN ARE REALLY GREAT OR AT LEAST HAVE THE CAPACITY TO BE GREAT IN THEM

I DON'T THINK PEOPLE IN THE WEST HAVE THOUGHT OF WOMEN AS HEROIC UNTIL RELATIVELY RECENTLY

APRIL ASHLEY:

COCCINELLE WENT OFF TO CASABLANCA AND CAME BACK WITH A FIVE STAR YOU-KNOW-WHAT AND I FOLLOWED

AS I WAS BEING PASSED OUT HE SAID: AU REVOIR MONSIEUR AND WHEN I WOKE UP HE WAS BESIDE MY BED AND HE SAID: BONJOUR MADEMOISELLE

I GET HUNDREDS OF LETTERS FROM YOUNG GAY MEN AND LESBIANS EVERY YEAR SAYING YOU SAVED MY LIFE BECAUSE YOU HELPED ME BE MYSELF YOU HELPED ME BE MYSELF

BE BEAUTIFUL BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND TO OTHER PEOPLE AND BE INCREDIBLY BRAVE

WOMEN ARE MUCH MORE HONOURABLE THAN MEN

PROFESSOR A C GRAYLING:

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT IT HONESTLY WE FIND THERE IS MUCH GREATER DAILY HEROISM IN THE LIVES OF WOMEN

TO TRY TO LIVE FULLY AND RICHLY AND TO DO IT WITH ALL ONE'S MIGHT IS TO BE THE HERO OF YOUR OWN STORY

LANCE CORPORAL JOHNSON BEHARRY VC:

I REVERSE THE VEHICLE AFTER THE CONTACT DON'T ASK ME HOW AND BY DOING THAT I MANAGE TO SAVE THE GUYS

LOOKING BACK MY HERO IS MY GRANDMOTHER

WHEN YOU'RE ON THE STREET YOU THINK THERE'S NO TURNING BACK. BUT LOOK AT ME TODAY: THE FACE OF THE BRITISH ARMY. AND I WAS ON THE STREET

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO BE STRONG

WAR IS YOUNG MEN DYING AND OLD MEN TALKING

GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS: THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS

THERE IS NOTHING BEAUTIFUL OR NOBLE ABOUT DEATH OR FEAR

WHEN WE SPEAK PLAINLY OF DEATH WE STAND EQUAL TO IT

WHAT REMAINS IS THE PLEASURE OF SAYING YES! OF BEING CONSTANTLY ASSERTIVE. YOU HAVE TO DIE SAYING YES TO LIFE

COLOUR SERGEANT HOWARD LAWN:

EVERYONE'S SCARED IF YOU'RE NOT SCARED YOU'RE NOT HUMAN

I GO AWAY TO AFGHANISTAN MY WIFE'S LEFT WITH THE THREE CHILDREN WHO'S GOT THE HARDER JOB?

CAPTAIN MARK EVANS:

I CAN SOMETIMES BE AFRAID BEFORE I GO ON A DATE AFRAID OF SITTING AN EXAM AFRAID IF YOU'RE GOING ON PATROL AND THE RISK OF GETTING AMBUSHED

I THINK IT'S VERY DIFFERENT FROM BEING A HERO OR HEROISM: BRAVERY IS A SPECIFIC RESPONSE IN FACE OF PHYSICAL OR MAYBE EVEN MORAL DANGER

IN MY OPINION KILLING IS A HORRIFIC AND TERRIBLE THING

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO BE STRONG

MY HEART PUMPING 70 TIMES A MINUTE EVERY MINUTE MY WHOLE LIFE. WHAT A TASK! TO REACH ANY AGE IN THOSE TERMS SOUNDS MIRACULOUS!

THE IMMENSE BEAUTY THE VAST ALMOST UNBEARABLE BEAUTY OF JUSTICE

LET'S SPEAK OF JUSTICE AS PRESENT IN THE WORLD AS INDEPENDENT AND SELF-PERPETUATING

LOOK TO THE DAY WHEN WE CAN SAY GOODBYE TO ALL OUR HEROES BECAUSE THEIR WORK IS DONE. JUSTICE IS ALIVE INDEPENDENT UNASSAILABLE

MISS UNDERSTANDING:

IF I HAD A SUPER POWER IT WOULD BE THE POWER TO JUST GO AND SAY TO A NATION: SSSHHHH! OR POOOOF! THERE! IT'S ALL BETTER!

INVINCIBILITY IS A WONDERFUL THING!

HOWARD JACOBSON:

I THINK ONE SHOULD LET HEROES GO IF ONE'S HAD ANY. BY ALL MEANS REVERE THE GIFT BUT THE GIFT IS NEVER THE MAN

THE OTHER SIDE OF REVERENCE IS LOATHING

SOME SAID NO UTTERANCE IS POSSIBLE AFTER THE HOLOCAUST AND CERTAINLY NO ART AS THOUGH ART WAS COMMEMORATIVE AND REVERENT

WE DON'T CONTEMPLATE THE HOLOCAUST BY DROPPING TO OUR KNEES AND HEROISING THOSE WHO WENT THROUGH IT

HEROISE THE IMAGINATION THAT MAKES ART THAT RIMAGINES THE WORLD IN THE FACE OF WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE WANTS THE WORLD TO BE

LOVE WHAT'S ABSTRACT BECAUSE IT'S ONLY AS HUMAN BEINGS IN FLESH THAT WE FEEL THE VALUE OF WHAT'S ABSTRACT: CARE FOR THAT

REVERE UNORTHODOXY: REVERE WHATEVER SPEAKS ODDLY OF THINGS. ADMIRE ART MORE. FIND YOUR HEROES THERE

COMPLETE HERO LONDON PROJECTIONS

MARTIN FIRRELL PUBLIC ARTIST IN RESIDENCE THE HOUSEHOLD DIVISION LONDON 2009

THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTWORK ARE THOSE OF THE ARTIST AND CONTRIBUTORS AND DO NOT REPRESENT THE OFFICIAL VIEW OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE