COMMUNITY ART IN THE POST-DISASTER LANDSCAPES OF TODAY

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Site #21: Butch Merigoni "Sunrise" 9001 Pritchard Place, New Orleans

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Please click on photos to enlarge. All images ©Courtney Egan







"'Sunrise' is a boxing match in which I will be the only contender. The bout will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday August 6th and end the next day as the sun fully rises (appx. 6 a.m). The consecutive rounds will be 3 minutes in length, divided by 1 minute breaks. Other breaks might be taken out of necessity. This performance will take place on a makeshift boxing ring built in front of Gregory White's home in New Orleans. His neighborhood, a community that is a quarter of what it was before Katrina, is one of many still struggling to rebuild.

The challenges of darkness (literal and metaphorical) truly exist in our lives, no matter how conscious we are of them. Though I will be standing in the middle of what can be the fearful night and repeatedly surrendering, I trust that I will come out whole into the clarity of the next day. In this regard, 'Sunrise' is symbolic of the devotion and risk that life in post-K New Orleans demands of its citizens.

Visitors are welcome to visit the performance at any time but I invite those who make the trek to stay for as long as possible. Given that 'Sunrise' is essentially about allowing quiet space to grow out of surrender, and falling into that space once it has opened, this process will take time. By investing in the performance of 'Sunrise' (the audience is as much a part of the work as anything else) you will participate in the performance and make it your own - it is as much for me as it is for everyone struggling to "let go" and recover their lives. That said, 'Sunrise' is especially dedicated to Gregory's family for many reasons, the least being that their contribution to this performance is priceless.

- Butch Merigoni

4 comments:

BreadCity said...

This sounds really awesome.

Takashi said...

Butch's ongoing performances make me think of many layers of current situation of New Orleans. My sadness is that once I come back to NYC, nothing related to New Orleans are tangibly going on here, which could be the normal. However, although it takes time, the more I talk to friends or acquaintances about New Orleans and disaster at large, the more they slowly yet seriously pay attention to it. They look at this site too.

Recent Brooklyn's tornado gave some serious damage and same silly city government treatment to the neighbor. Residents in the apartments that had roof damage cannot get in due to unsafe condition by the city. They cannot fix. They cannot live. NY1 reported it will take 6 months.

I do not mean to depress ourselves. I like to speak up. First from my friends here. Now, trying to get in touch with school teachers and teacher's college people to make educational tool with my sculpture.
(Social Dress New Orleans>http://socialdress-neworleans.blogspot.com/)
Educating kids are very important for our future. I believe.

This blog is very important for us.
Thanks Elizabeth. But, please take your time and get some rest since I want you all to continue this.

I just got email from Butch with pictures of his performance. I was glad to hear from him. We gonna catch up next week.

It is pretty tough to survive no matter where you are.

I was able to complete my project.
Thanks everybody helping my project there. Park visitors take time to look at the piece and rethink about what is going on there.

Later!

courtney said...

I stood there watching Butch stand there. A friend rattled off all the issues that at first seemed peripherally related, but now I think they run parallel to the metaphor the piece presents. The questions she asked when something like this: what do the neighbors think about this action? how does race figure into responses (crazy white art boy)? is someone going to climb in that ring with him as the night goes on? Will the piece appear as an invitation to some crazy or drunk person, and they will want to fight him in the middle of the night? what will it be like out here at 3 am? what do the police think and how will they treat him?

as she went on I realized that what Butch wrote about the piece, the mediatative nature of it and the letting go, was definitely a part of all these questions. at what point do you let go? can you afford to let go? should you let go? at what point do you stop fighting and be, and at that point, are you defeated?

ARTinACTION said...

or at that point have you truly won, are you truly free?

All the questions we spin round our heads every day, every night. The cycles of questions about whether staying here is wrong or right, safe or dangerous, stupid or smart. The relentless task of having to defend our choices to ourselves, the outside world, and to defend ourselves against danger, while still having to remain open. The questions, the only way to answer them is to just be there. To be here. To just be present. There's no predicting the outcome, not for us or anyone. No guarantees, no person on this planet gets out scot free. So knowing this, will we get into the ring of life anyhow? Do we have the energy to just get in the ring? Every day my friends and neighbors keep getting up, keep walking down streets where someone was murdered, eating in caf├ęs that were held up at gunpoint, driving around cops while they put up caution tape, making art, making love, making food. I think we're in the ring already and all the questions in the world won't stop that; all the answers can be found in the experience of simply being here.