Between a Stone and a Shrine is a cinematic experience featuring a gilded gold leaf casket airlifted over the city of Pittsburgh. In Braddock, PA, a group of people will be awaiting the casket’s arrival and lead it in a procession to a grave that I am digging in an abandoned lot.

My hope is that this gesture will resonate within the community to perpetuate positive action in Braddock’s revitalization efforts. Symbolically, placing this gilded casket underground acts as a seed to re-generate growth in urban communities. Helicopters used in mercy flights, news casting, war and surveillance create a sense of urgency; within my video, I am using the tensions of a helicopter to communicate the necessity of solidarity within the community. The monumental gesture with a golden casket alludes to an alchemical idea that death is a transition and not a finality. The event and final video will function as a social allegory that extracts layers of symbolism and mythology to provide a narrative of hope, preservation and transformation for post-industrial neighborhoods.

Within an urban context, art is a tool to promote awareness, provoke dialogue, and inspire action. My sculptural interventions is a critique of social perceptions of urban areas to prompt conversations about transience and growth within post-industrial environments. I am creating an avenue for engagement that instigates positive reflection and action within Braddock’s revitalization initiatives. The goal of my video, Between a Stone and a Shrine, is to permeate the local history and mythology by translating social tensions into narratives. The stories told by the participants and witnesses will, if passed on, persist and become a myth that survives the event itself.

Learn more about Between a Stone and a Shrine at oreencohen.com