If you’ve been around Astor Place lately, you have probably noticed the poles and street lights lined with bright, colorful cable ties. The cable ties are linked together, forming a circle around the circumference of the poles. What is left is a spikey and vibrant post which somewhat resembles a cactus, hence the name, “The Flaming Cactus Project”. These public displays force pedestrians to stop and look around and appreciate the burst of color arranged on these previously drab and boring public objects.
Flaming Cactus was debuted at FIGMENT 2011 in the Governors Island Sculpture Garden and was later recognized by NYC’s Department of Transportation who expanded the size of the project for its “Summer Streets” program. The project is the brain-child of Animus Arts Collective, who have also created public art pieces mostly from recycled and found objects. The collectives’ multiple projects dare to create an environment which instigates a dynamic relationship between the participant and the object and between the participants themselves.
Their project entitled “1,000 Pieces” was an evolving puzzle display on Governor’s Island which encouraged pedestrians to contribute to the art by adding and readjusting the wooden puzzle pieces, after drawing personal messages on them.
The Flaming Cactus Project represents the simplicity of creating something beautiful out of everyday objects and the sense of public satisfaction which follows. As the Animus Collective explains, “We wanted to show that making art doesn’t require a lot of resources, formal education, or even money. Art and creativity are things we’re all capable of.”
12+ Flaming Cactuses will be on display around Astor Place for the month of August.