The Greater New York Smudge Cleanse
In October and November of 2012, Jeanine Oleson enaged in a public art project to clease New York City with the world's largest smudge stick. This traveling public art project applied the ancient practice of smoking out dormant bad energies to contemporary challenges including environmental pollution in Greenpoint and Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn; gentrification driving queer communities out of Manhattan's West Village; and pre-election anxiety/U.S. economic imperialism on the steps of Federal Hall.
Smudging is an ancient practice of cleansing space with smoke from bundled and burned herbs, generally sage. The burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is common practice among many religious, healing, and spiritual groups. It is thought that the sage smoke attaches to bad energies and releases it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy. The world's largest sage smudge stick was built in New Mexico, where sage grows plentifully. It is 10 feet long—"Supersized" to combat negativity in contemporary times. Oleson's project seeks to cleanse New York and it's residents of eco-destruction, election anxiety, gentrification, heterosexism, U.S. imperialism, classism, racism and greed.
This book, published by Circle & Square, brings together photos from and articles about the project.