” OM THEM” is a public art project based in New York, which, by means of linguistic play, aims to raise awareness of the power of language in the handling of conflict, in the realms of both politics and every day life.
In “ OM THEM” we begin with the phrase BOMB THEM (back to the stone age). We then remove the letter B from the word BOMB while leaving the spaces that letter occupied, thus leaving a trace of the original word. What remains is the word OM, which is the sacred sound or word of the Eastern meditation traditions. This “word play” illustrates how minor changes, in this case the removal of two letters, create a difference in meaning and, it points out how a word of peace can exist almost unseen within a word of aggression.
It is our purpose to move beyond this word “trick” to an outlook that searches for the possibilities of harmony within and behind the readily available public rhetoric of aggression. Politicians often claim to go to war precisely to bring about peace. They claim that the ends justify the means. We do not believe this to be true, though it may appear to be the easier and quicker solution. Indeed peace is often the more difficult path. And the road to peace may be well hidden when violence and aggression promise immediate results.
Our project takes language as its base. The OM within BOMB provides a symbolic starting point, encouraging us to find ways to change our own use of language and, hopefully, as a consequence, change our response to conflict.