|Wanting to make a public work that doesn't represent but is, to activate imaginations as opposed to exhibiting an imaginative work, to take myself out of the picture, to let the world in, inspired by experiences in Turkey where I encountered cemeteries that still functioned as public space (I once stumbled upon a Boy Scout meeting in a graveyard in Istanbul) and to evoke the beautifully detached Attic tombstone. The idea came that a cemetery is both a public and private space. I enquired and found the cemetery counselors (salesmen who know when to offer a hanky) where intrigued, they found a cheap plot, calculated a mortgage and that day one of them contributed the down payment.
Suddenly I was a land owner for a mortgage of $68.83 per month.6 x 3 x 9 feet down. Possibly the only piece of land I will ever own.
Being close to my house I abandoned my studio and came to the cemetery every day instead. I had begun.
At first I was sad about dead friends, fearful of my future, scared I was making dumb art. I attempted to keep the thought that if you could keep the thought of your own death at the front of your mind you would lead an exemplary life in the front of my mind. Increasingly in my day to day life, I would react to something with thoughts like how important would this or that be if I was about to die? Although in the background of my life's chatter I achieved a subtle change in emotional attunement. Then I started planting a garden and having busy things to do like erecting a sculpture.
When the stone went up I imagined it would be a mute, open possibility of self expression in a self created context instead passersby actually wrote on it. No one has been more surprised than me at people's willingness to participate. Suddenly I had to become a photographer, an archivist, a tour guide. In the field I act as mediator rather than creator. The spectator composes. I become the collector. The end product reflects on the situation of encounter and creates its own.
And I spend a lot of time in the cemetery…
While pondering relational esthetics and an art career I find my self in actuality confronted with bored children who write there name and RIP and after attempts at coaxing more from them, generally with little result, one day after blurting out that if an epitaph tells a persons accomplishments in life; in this situation it may also be a wish - a little girl scrawled under the ubiquitous RIP The President of the United States and I guess that's about as good as it gets theoretically speaking.
|Joyce Burstein Vitaemail@example.com|
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