Mourned and Unmourned
Mourned and Unmourned is a socially-engaged, interactive art project that was presented at the 3rd Annual Canine Memorial Ceremony at Baldwin Park in Orlando, FL, on April 25, 2015 from 6-9 PM. During the ceremony, community members of all ages decorate paper lanterns in honor of a special dog or dogs that have passed away. At sunset, volunteers in canoes paddle to the middle of Lake Baldwin and gently float the lighted lanterns on the water, creating a dramatic glow against the night sky. Using the recycled lantern remnants from last year’s Canine Memorial, I created a series of 64 collages. The 64 collaborative collages were presented at this year’s event, representing the dogs that we have mourned. To represent the unmourned, I invited the public to help me hang 1583 dog tags inscribed with the word ‘Unknown,’ on site at Harbor Park in Orlando, FL. The dog tags were displayed along a curved black metal railing, draping over the paper collages. Why 1583 tags? According to public record, there were 1583 dogs euthanized at Orange County Animal Services in the 2014 calendar year. By hanging a metal dog tag stamped with the word ‘Unknown’ for each of these individuals, I hope to call attention to the forgotten ones that die each year and to encourage people to consider adopting dogs from shelters such as OCAS. At the conclusion of the ceremony, participants were encouraged to take home a dog tag from the art display as a memento.