ASBURY PARK, NJ - Monmouth University professors Mike Richison and Marina Vujnovic have teamed up with photographer and local businessman John Viggiano to create an interactive video art installation in the Carousel House in Asbury Park. The installation, entitled The Living Carousel, pays homage to the carousel that once occupied the space. It will feature photographs and images of carousel horses projected onto a circular video screen. This video art installation will be interactive – motion detectors will be used to sense the proximity of audience members and will alter the audio component and the appearance of the video according to touch.

After a meeting with Richison and Viggiano last February, Pasqualina Delucia and Angie Sugrim of Madison Marquette generously agreed to allow a public art installation in the carousel house. Madison Marquette has

made a priority to develop and revitalize the Asbury Park Waterfront and is creating a year round, world-class retail and entertainment destination. In less than two years, Madison Marquette has redesigned and rebuilt over 75,000 square feet of retail space along with a miniature golf course and water park on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

Richison first exhibited in the Carousel House last fall as part of the City Arts Festival. He found it to be an ideal location for public art due its layout and location. “The intent of The Living Carousel is to visually depict the memories of the carousel,” says Richison. “I’m very interested in the idea of taking memories and creating a life-size video projection. This will be a celebration of Asbury Park, and it should be very colorful and fun for those who experience it.” Richison has been working in the media of interactive video installation and sculpture since his arrival at the Monmouth University’s Department of Art and Design in 2007. He has most recently shared his work in New York City and at a new media festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

Viggiano, principle of Vigg Designs, The Gallery 13 and Collective Art Tank, sees the photographic aspect of the piece as an extension of his studio practice, “My photography attempts to create a perspective that is not only distinct, but creates curiosity. The absence of people yet capturing their relationship left behind is my focus.” Viggiano is a unique individual whose interests range from graphic design to electronics. Not only is he providing the photographic images, he is currently working on the physical challenges of the video screen and the complex circuitry of the interactive interface. This is not his first foray into public art. His Gallery 13 shows the work of local photographers, and Collective Art Tank is an arts cooperative funded by Col Art Americas (distributors of Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, and Conté a Paris fine art materials).

Vujnovic, a journalism professor in Monmouth University’s Communication Department, will provide an audio component in the form of recorded interviews of several Asbury Park residents. This oral history of the carousel will play on a set of speakers surrounding the video screen. While gathering material for this project, she has taken note of how eager local residents are to share their vivid childhood memories. Residents are very interested in sharing their description of the animals, and other sights and sounds of the carousel. Like the interactive video component, the audio will react to the input from the audience. She is also assembling musical components that will add a sound bed and serve as another layer of audio texture. Vujnovic is an experienced journalist who has recently written Forging the Bubikopf Nation, a book that chronicles Croatia’s first female journalist.

This installation is free and open to the public. It will be open on May 7-8, 15, 28-29. On Saturdays, it will be open 4pm-9pm; on Sundays, it will be open 1pm – 4pm.

This endeavor is possible due to the generous support of Madison Marquette, a creative grant-in-aid from Monmouth University, and the cooperation of The Gallery 13 and the Collective Art Tank. More information on this project can be found at www.thelivingcarousel.com.