Living Immersive Art Installation Honors COVID Deaths

Immersive Art Installation Honors COVID Deaths

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“I’m making a paper suitcase for every person in Arizona who has died of COVID. Some of these are pop-up suitcases that include information from over 300 obituaries related to COVID in Arizona.” – Jen Urso.

Remarkable Presence is an immersive art installation and AR experience by artist Jen Urso taking place at Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ in September-October, 2021. It includes thousands of small, paper suitcases, representing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Arizona. Satellite exhibits and Collective Grieving events will also take place at Practical Art in Phoenix, AZ and Vision Gallery in Chandler, AZ.

In addition to the large-scale installation of over 18,000 suitcases and a display of “pop-up” suitcases utilizing COVID-related obituaries, the public is invited to several community events of collective grieving on September 17 and 25 and October 9 and 15. At these masked events, the community can receive an empty, numbered suitcase from the installation with the agreement to emotionally tend to the person’s belongings and memory, even if they don’t know exactly who that person is.

“I hope that these events and this work will be an opportunity for us to share in the grief we’ve experienced over the past year and a half. I hope it will give people the chance to think or talk about the person they miss.” – Jen Urso

The public can find out more about this exhibit and even request to receive a suitcase (with a donation to Marked by COVID or Pongo Poetry) through the artist’s project website: remarkablepresence.com. This website serves as a hub of information, a way to experience the work virtually and a point of contact for community members to request suitcases and make a donation to two worthy organizations.

Additional information:

  • September 15: Exhibit opens at Walter Art Gallery with a Collective Grieving event from 6:30pm-8:30pm, Exhibit opens at Practical Art
  • September 23: Satellite exhibit opens at Vision Gallery in Chandler
  • September 25: Collective Grieving event from 4pm-6pm at Vision Gallery in Chandler
  • October 9: Collective Grieving event from 5pm-7pm at Practical Art
  • October 10: Satellite exhibit at Vision Gallery in Chandler closes
  • October 17: final Collective Grieving event at Walter Art Gallery, 6:30pm-8:30pm, show closes after event.

Link to pop-up suitcase videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkdQkjS_j1RYWnVTaG-FhlRK8LmtxUwVG

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