Regional Spotlight

If you Build It…

The ethos of the Burning Man community continues to spread far beyond the orange trash fence of Black Rock City. From coast to coast and out into the far reaches of cyberspace, Burners are creating the conditions for communal effort, radical self-expression, and public art.

Part 1: Asbury Park, New Jersey

"Momento Mori" in Asbury Park, NJ Photo by Marah Fellicce

Since back in the Spring, New Jersey Regional Contact Marah Fellicce has been participating in an interactive art piece she calls “Memento Mori.” On a vacant condo lot amidst the suburban sprawl of Asbury Park, New Jersey, Marah uses wood pilings as the base for large fabric wrappings. Marah says the pilings were drilled into the ground in 2005 on what was to be the site of a new complex but the pilings have remained unused as construction has yet to begin on the lot. The first pieces Marah created were a part of  “Sculptoure,” an annual outdoor urban sculpture exhibition presented by The Shore Institute for Contemporary Arts. The art work has continued to evolve since the May exhibition and has taken on a life of its own.

Superman, flamingos, and tikis, oh my! Photo by Ruby Re-Usable

Over the past several months, Marah has added elements to the football-sized art piece and has held space for others to participate in creating “Memento Mori.”  A local grafitti artist was inspired to contribute and painted bright tiki faces on many of the pilings. Reflecting the idea of constant change inherent in this temporary sculpture, passersby also rearrange rocks and leave contributions such as a prom dress with colored stencils, pink flamingos, a brightly colored Superman bust, and other found objects that become part of the artful display.The lot has become a place for locals to express themselves and the eclecticism of the project inspires conversations. A writer known online as “Wizard 343” from the website Weird New Jersey happened upon Marah’s work and, after talking with Marah, wrote a lovely article on the artwork, on Marah’s creative process and on how Marah relates her art to the Burning Man principles. For photos and a great story, visit http://tinyurl.com/marahnj.

About the author: Meg Rutigliano

Meghan "Megs" Rutigliano has been burning since 2005. She is currently the full-time Regional Network and Media Relations Coordinator for the Burning Man Project. Meghan is co-anchor of an independent radio show called Shouting Fire News (www.shoutingfire.org) and works on playa at Media Mecca. Meghan is addicted to traveling and performing and is a seasoned singer, actress, and voice over personality. Meghan will be exploring the art, events and culture of various regional Burning Man communities in her blog posts.

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