Sculpture / Installation > Farewells Inc.

Farewells Inc.

Mourning is culturally relative. Traditionally mourning refers to the public display of grief or loss relative to a death. Mourning therefore is both personal as well as a vehicle for social communication. In this regard, mourning can consist of specific rituals, particular outward signs (e.g., black clothes or an arm-band, bodily and emotional responses such as crying and a sense of exhaustion, as well as a specified time period during which signs of grief are to be shown). The bearers of these signs are meant to be recognized as bereaved. It is the social aspect of mourning that interest me. In many ghettoized inner-city areas across the nation there are particular structures that are built, which share a similar childlike aesthetic. These displays are meant to be a sign of public mourning. These structures, I call Urban Shrines are the result of an undefined community ritual, which takes place after a life (often in its youth), has been taken. Items such as balloons, flowers, bears, crosses, flags and candles are placed at the site. This ritual I identify as undefined because it is often a struggle to make sense of what the objects/ offerings are meant to communicate in this context. So to find clarity and in hopes of putting this type of mourning to use, I analyze the objects, the ritual and my community's acts of participation. Reflecting my understanding of these offerings as no longer a spontaneous, but codified act - I address how these objects have been turned into merchandise and accuse the community of replacing the struggles of facing our tragedy and living condition with signs which one can purchase and throw away. Consequently, through such a blatant accusation I hope to encourage debate and explore the possible suggestion of other types of responses.

-Martinez E-B

Farewells Inc.