In a vacant lot of downtown real estate in Berlin, eight BMWs drove around in a perfect circle roped together like a carousel, while “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie is playing on their radios – remixed for an amusement ride sensation. Every couple rounds the drivers systematically stop to pick-up and drop-off spectators and riders. Just before dusk, a fire is lit inside the circle.
The project, which was part of the 5th Berlin Biennial and sponsored by BMW put the sponsorship and the spectators themselves on display in a lot destined for more high-end development.
Maybe the reverse of this—that is, rusting and broken down domestic cars being pushed in a circle on a vacant lot in the west-end, might be fun … or even more offensive.
Last night was the 6th Annual Fahrenheit Festival, presented by Artcite Inc. and the town of Lasalle. It was incredible to see such a huge crowd, likely around 1200 people or more, out to see fire sculpture. The location was amazing, with 12 sculptures sitting on a little patch of land cutting through the middle of a very large pond, and a nice slope for the audience to sit with a great view of the entire show.
Along with the big burn itself were a series of talks and workshops on fire art, which really rounded out the festival, and for those that were able to make it, helped to give context to the wider ideas of fire art. The scale of an event like this is somewhat staggering, given that Artcite has just two extremely dedicated employees (but thankfully an amazing bunch of volunteers), though what impressed me most is that there is in fact a sizable audience for public creative activity in this area.
Note that this event happened in Lasalle and that Lasalle along with Artcite were successful in writing a Trillium grant to make this happen. I’m not sure of the history of the event, if it was ever attempted in the city of Windsor or not, but it’s inspiring to know that there are places in this region that view the arts as n opportunity for partnership.