“U marauasce” – “Border Light”
The original fires of historical St. Joseph celebrations in Italy neatly coincided with pagan rituals of burning bonfires at the Spring equinox. It was a perfect act of marketing from both that caused both Catholics and heathen to join the dances and songs honoring the heat and the flames reaching high into night skies. In another hybrid activity of sorts, we find a former graffiti writer crossing into a new field to pay homage to his graffiti and Italian roots; employing professional graphic display skills to re-activate a public space.
Designer and scenographer Matteo Capobianco (aka UfoCinque) lights the municipality of Santa Croce di Magliano with this new flaming installation called “U marauasce” to recall the majestic fires lit over centuries at the feast of St. Joseph, the original caretaker of Jesus.
Foregoing the traditional olive trees and vines from the countryside typically used in fire-making, Capobianco conjures the tall licking flames by cutting plastic sheets and playing with light shining through the negative space.
The organizers say that as the winning submission for the “Creative Living Lab – 3rd edition” public notice, this fire is part of a more considerable effort to revitalize the municipality. As you can see from the photos, this is a legal installation done with the community’s involvement in the courtyard of the former elementary school. It is yet another way that artists can use urban interventions to alter public space and provoke/evoke discussion, memories, emotions, and historical events.