Showing posts with label free shrines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free shrines. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free SHRINE: Gone But Not Forgotten: A Burro Story 1982-2010

free shrines, sfmobilemuseum, san francisco mobile museum, Marcia StuermerBy Marcia Stuermer

Clarissa was a town burro from Murphy’s, an historic Gold Country town who died earlier this year. She was 27. She was an affectionate and wildly loved animal- the result of a University of CA program that rounded up feral burros in Death Valley and adopted them out.

No one could visit the town without paying a visit, usually with a treat. After her death, her shed was turned into a giant memorial of flowers, notes and other gifts. Often townspeople paying their respects could not hold back tears. The town of Murphy's will hold a tribute in her honor on August 6th. It is rumored that they might even erect a statue in her name. It’s yet to be determined if the town will adopt another burro to hold court.

Let me tell you, I have never heard such a sound as the earth-shaking braying that would come from a delighted Clarissa when she was aware that someone had brought her food! I hope that sound will continue to echo on that corner of Murphy’s Main Street for many years to come.

Note: Marcia Stuermer also created this piece for our first exhibit, "Looking for Loci".

Monday, March 14, 2011

FREE Shrine: Booklit

Shrine to the Beginning, by Kathy Mancall:
When you start a new book—at least, a new book you want to read, –present high-schoolers excepted who are being forced to read Billy Budd for their required summer reading lists—you crack open hope. You anticipate the journey ahead with excitement. Hope is unfurled before you like a clean, unbroken highway that disappears deliciously into the horizon line. That first sentence presumes innocence. As a reader, you haven’t been sullied yet by a plot that disappoints, dialogue that rings untrue, or the ending that didn’t lived up to the beginning. There is always hope that this will be the best thing you’ve read this year, or the guilty pleasure you’ve been waiting forever to indulge in, that invites you to load on the don’t-give-a-fuck mental calories. Great first sentences are like a clear bell ringing. They engage, amaze, and are the promise that you’ll be sorry when the last sentence ends.

So I’ve compiled here a shrine to some of my favorite beginnings. Maybe you’ll agree, disagree, or want to add a shrine of your own. If so, visit and set down your favorite start.
Note: In addition to participating in our show, Kathy is a writer, knitter extraordinaire, and the force behind Princess Animal.

FREE Shrine: Tim's baby is no gentleman

San Francisco Mobile Museum, Free ShrinesA FREE Shrine, by Tim Phillips:
What's the definition of a gentleman?
Somebody who knows how to play the accordion, but doesn't.

I have a shrine to something, maybe music.
It is where I like to make my votive offerings,
in hope of gaining favor with a supernatural something, maybe music.
Imparting refuge in its patterns, it is my portable sanctum.

I'm no gentleman.
Tim John Phillips, San Francisco Mobile Museum, Free ShrinesAbove: Tim with Shrine.

Note: Along with this contribution to our show last year, Tim is also the force behind CMT Creates Music.

FREE Shrine: Bird Box

Peter Forrest Kline let his bird do the shrining for his piece in our show last year. So no poetic wall text to offer. As with many shrines, the object is what you make it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: analysis of 1

Last year was a bit immobile for us. All good reasons, nothing to do with the Museum: we were moving, there is the "day job", and I worked on a fun collaboration with Machine Project.

The exhibit we put together, called "Free Shrines" was a mix of a solicited challenge, some classic interpretive elements, and a little "visitor participation" thrown in for good measure. All in a roughly 8' D set up. Here's some thoughts on how it worked:

The Solicited Challenge
The challenge itself was fine and open-ended enough. Folks took to it in their unique and wonderful ways. A delightful mix of interpretations which I will show in following posts. What was different was that I didn't give a box or fixed format to people. While that worked fine for the "makers", it wasn't as effective for our "visitors". Seems that having a consistent framework when engaging an unusual thing like a pop-up museum makes it easier for them to grasp the overall experience:

april banks, san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, sf mobile museum
Interpretive Elements
Since there wasn't a fixed format, I put in some backgrounds and images of shrines, etc. to flesh out the concept of the exhibit. It's hard to quantify their impact. I think on the panel for April Bank's piece it was very useful. Her's was a collage of photos of roadside shrines she'd taken on a ride across the US this summer:

san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, sf mobile museum
Visitor Participation

This was by far the most successful element of the exhibit (and of past ones where we've had on-the-spot participation). I had modeled a Shinto "Ema" Shrine, where the public was invited as they are in Japan to write a wish and tie it up onto the shrine. Nearly everyone that approached the exhibit participated in it. What was funny was that most were fairly sincere. In the Looking for Loci map element, we got about 30% more wisecracks than in this instance...

san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, sf mobile museum
san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, sf mobile museum
san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, sf mobile museumWith some adjustments Free Shrines may be out on the road again before launching a new exhibit. Look for us as the weather clears up.

Happy New Year!

Top Image: CC/Flickr/Ed Youdon. All others, San Francisco Mobile Museum.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Summer Evening at the Exploatorium

san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, free shrines, exploratorium
We've got a bit of a posting backlog here at the SFMM while I move.

Our soft opening of FREE Shrines at the Exploratorium last month was a lot of fun. It was our first evening event and a road test of one of our more participatory elements in the exhibit, the Ema Shrine. I'll talk about that later!

This time we used a more open-ended format for our "makers"- I gave folks a size and weight limit, but didn't provide a box for them to fill. The difference in form factors had pros and cons as I look back on this experiment. The pros were that the layout looked more like an exhibit the cons were that for folks encountering and usual idea in an unusual setting, I got the impression that it put a little more on them to grasp the overall idea.

san francisco mobile museum, maria mortati, free shrines, exploratorium

Monday, August 2, 2010

Exhibit Opening: This Thursday night!

The FREE Shrines exhibit makes it's first appearance at the Exploratorium After Dark event this week. While the shrines are free the event isn't: $15 + cash bar (Thurs. Aug. 5, 6-10pm).

But who can put a price on a evening where
chaos, culture, and the SF's own phenomena-driven-hands-on science-and-art-museum meet?

Image: the brilliant Mark Glusker, helping install lighting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Shrinetasm: Myanmar's Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

As I'm doing research for our new exhibit FREE SHRINES, I find everything from the fantastic to the unassuming. At the same time, these objects, sites, reliquaries and shrines are nonetheless meaningful to their devotees.

This site is often called of course, The Golden Rock. It sits atop a small shrine, and it is said that you can pass a thread beneath the rock. Buddhist belief has it that it sits upon a single strand of Buddha's hair, and that seeing it will convert anyone to Buddhism.

Been there? I'm curious about how those who live with it so close by feel about it being the 3rd largest site of pilgrimage. Never heard of it? You can read at length about it

Top image courtesy of Wikipedia, bottom, Creative Commons license via Flickr/R_Stanek

Saturday, July 17, 2010

FREE SHRINES exhibit challenge

FREE SHRINES is a new exhibit where we are exploring the history, meaning and spontaneous use of shrines with you. We'll look at public, religious and cultural examples, and invite you to add your wishes, locations, and remembrances.

Our exhibit challenge invites you to create a shrine of your own, to show at the exhibit. Something that can fit in the palm of your hand. Contact us at info [at] sfmobilemuseum [dot] org with questions.