project image
Jamie McGann

first performed on February 09, 2020
Museum Of Reclaimed Urban Space, MORUS
performed once in 2020


New York, NY


This performance required audience participation, a community ritual, where we stepped into the flame of Daniel’s life and let him go, by collaborating to make a work of biodegradable art.

Daniel Polnau was a community artist, master puppeteer and activist by example. His inclusion of all people in his community art projects brought people together and set them free, trusting in their own creativity. “IN THE FLAME” was us, his friends—being what he gave everyone around him, passion and surrendered to the space to be great, and always connected to the power of nature.

He had no bosses nor Gods dicating to or influencing him. Living on grant money, not a servant to money but a conductor of cosmic and physic energy. Not separate from nature, he squatted and couch surfed, patched, sewed and gleaned, joyously part of the boundless, unexpected sky, earth and garbage.

Deeply shocked and saddened by his sudden departure, well beyond the death of others in my life. Of all people, the Trumps, the Kardashians, The Jones’s, why Daniel? We need Daniel now more than ever. He who was rich without possessions and ignited spiritual abundance in those around him.


Lights dimmed.

I am brought in, laying on/in a stretcher/bag/wrap carried by four people, up the front stairs and into the gallery. I am placed on foam in the middle of the room.

Solemn and methodically the fabric is unfolded to reveal me, laying like a cocoon, wrapped in watercolor paper and rice-paper with sewing thread wrapped around me.

I am misted down with water.

All participatory actions are initiated by close friends of Daniels:

  1. One by one participants/mourners rip then drop/throw rice-paper on me, handed person to person to be ripped and placed on me. When the paper is finished…

  2. People place/trail cotton thread or hair on me. When the string and hair is finished…

  3. Close friends sprinkle ocher dust on me and the paper.

The paper with dust, thread/hair rice-paper and I are misted.

I hold black, red, yellow and brown ink, I squirt ink on it all.

Two minute silence, ink bleeds into the paper.

I, in the painting, am carried out.