Memorial (ghost / embers)

created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day

Originally conceived for the Boston Center for the Arts

Installed at Franklin Pierce University (Dec. 2013), the Fitchburg Art Museum (summer 2014) and then at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery (Dec. 2014)

       Sculptural and 2D elements, projections, soundscape by Lawson

      Video extracted from newsreel footage of the 1982 fire

     Text on the back wall is from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

C h a p e l s   P r o j e c t  3

In July 1982, an arsonist set fire to the Clarendon St. Baptist Church (which is adjacent to the BCA). At the height of the fire, the whole neighborhood was threatened.  As the church burned, residents ran to their rooftops to stamp out the embers falling from the sky to save their homes.  Among them was artist Dennis Keohane who stood guard on the roof of the BCA studio building.

The neighborhood was saved, though the church burned to the ground, and - for a number of years following the fire - the burned out shell of the sanctuary became a place for men in the neighborhood to hook up.

The 1980s also marked the beginning of the AIDS crisis, and during the next decade, the neighborhood was decimated. In 1987, Keohane died of complications from AIDS, and since then 35 million men, women and children have died of HIV-related causes.  Every day, nearly 6300 people are infected with HIV.

Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery

on the campus of Keene State Univ. 12/1-11, 2014

for Carl Wesner and Gordon Braithwaite

Thanks to Eugene Finney

Fitchburg Art Museum

as part of their 79th Regional group show

(Summer 2014)

Franklin Pierce University

original installation (Dec. 2013)


Video composite ‘tour’ of the installation

Soundtrack for installation

(soundscape by Lawson, with Codex by Radio Head)

For those of us with lives that are so busy that they border on chaos, the installation was a respite from the busy work allowing me to focus on what it means to be in relationship with others and how I contribute to how society should care for others.  The installation offered me the space to be contemplative and to discern my role in society.

            -- Dr. James F. Birge, President, Franklin Pierce University