Thursday, April 4, 2013

INSIDE LOOK: Death Project 2013 Investigation: New York City Ghost Bike Project

We’re doing an exciting investigation into death, dying and the afterlife in NYC for our next project this season. Our team is interviewing tons of amazing people with various spiritual, cultural, professional, and personal perspectives. We want to share our investigative process with you, so every Thursday check here for a glimpse into the worlds we’re entering and the people we're interviewing.

Our Associate Artistic Director Ian recently interviewed Jessie Singer, founding member of the New York City Ghost Bike Project, to learn more about bicyclists killed on our streets. Check out that project HERE

Here’s a glimpse of what Jessie had to say: 

“A woman named Brandie Bailey was killed on Houston Street and we painted this bike and locked it up on the street and we all looked at each other and said “Holy crap let's never do this again.” Then the next week after that, a block away, a young man named Andrew Ross Morgan was killed on Houston Street again so we built another bike and then we couldn't stop. It became as much a burden as it was, you know, our gift in a way. I've never had anything in my life to force me to think about strangers so much. People you would never meet. To spend so much time with their deaths and therefore their lives and their families, um, which has become a big part of the project. I think it was Brandie Bailey's sister who contacted us and said “I was able to take my parents. My parents came to the city to clean out Brandie's apartment, and I told them that this bike was there. They said before that they would never go to the crash site, that they would never go anywhere near that block ever again.” And this made them feel like they could go there and they could have a moment and put down flowers and spend time with this space where their loved one had died which otherwise would've been kind of sullied. It was dirtied before and now it was a space for them maybe...maybe it was a little reclaimed.”

"Death is something that is out there, sure, but the only thing that matters is what you do when you're living and what I do when I'm living is helping these people that have to deal with death. The process of memorializing is a process of memory but it's a process for the living. This is not a stairway to heaven. It's for the people who are still here who still have work to do, good to do, hopefully, or at least bad to correct. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable. They are caused by someone doing the wrong thing, someone is driving carelessly or irresponsibly or dangerously or drunk or on their phone. That's not an accident, that's an intentional decision that killed somebody. If anything the goal in all of this talking about death is to actually talk about, like, doing better in life...creating that new culture of respecting each other so people aren't dying like this or at the very least if they are dying then people are taking the time to remember that some terrible shit happened on that street corner."

Please donate to the Ghost Bike Project HERE

And join them for their 8th Annual Memorial Ride on April 21st. 

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