I Am Helium Raven has been exhibited in Installation 2012 at Gallery A202, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2012 as well as
Medium Without Measure in the Grossman Gallery, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2012.
The development of the piece began in 2009 inspired by Bruce’s fight with Parkinson’s disease. Bruce died of complications with the disease on February 9, 2012. Parkinson’s is a neurologically degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The degeneration is a result from the death of dopamine-generating brain cells. The cause of this is unknown and there is not yet a cure. Parkinson’s eventually results in loss of motor skills and eventually death. In some cases the disease can be kept at bay for a significantly longer period of time due to the progressions made through medical research, including stem cell research.
During Bruce’s eight year struggle with the disease he made many contributions to the community of people affected by Parkinson’s. He founded the Fountain Hills Parkinson’s support group in 2006. He was interviewed several times on television news reports and in local newspapers advocating for community and government support for research for the disease. In 2010 Bruce was invited to participate in a workshop in Washington D.C., to become a PDF Research Advocate. Bruce also initiated a weekly PD exercise class in conjunction with Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center personnel, a Parkinson’s caregiver support group Participation in the Fountains Hills Adopt-A-Street program, a weekly art studio for PD artists and caregiver artists, an annual Bruce Florence Parkinson’s Juried Art Show for artists with PD and/or their caregivers Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center co-sponsors this event. The art show has been open to artists throughout the Phoenix, AZ, metropolitan area since 2008. A website for the support group: fhparkinsonsupport.org/ Pennies for Parkinson’s - Until there is a Cure raising over $9,000 in his local community since 2008. After his death in 2012 he received a nomination for the National Parkinson Foundation’s Parkinson Superstar Award. Above all, he was a patient non-judgmental man who fostered creativity and encouraged critical thinking. He was a writer, an artist, an advocate, and an invaluable teacher. I am so proud to have had him for a grandfather. He is missed severely, but his positive influence continues to inspire me.
Thank you to Mags Harries, Sean Glover, Amanda Bonaiuto, Eunice Koo, Julian LeDoux, Andrew McKinnon, Val Ng, Zach Stanchfield, and Bradley Tsalyuk.
Special thanks to Bill Zsunkan, Donald Straney, Ricardo Carranza, Jannah Rashada, Amanda Brack, and of course Bruce Florence. Your support and friendships have enhanced my happiness in life infinitely.
I Am Helium Raven
Sound Responsive Instrumental
Trans-Communication Device, 2012
Helium Raven, or Sandra Belanger, is a ghost whisperer who studies Electronic Voice Phenomena and Instrumental Trans-Communication to help solve murder cases and as a therapy to the bereaved. Instrumental Trans-Communication is a process of two-way communication with possibly non-corporeal beings using an electronic interface. I built this piece as an Instrumental Trans-Communication device between myself and my recently deceased grandfather Bruce Florence. The piece celebrates that with determination and effort, a connection may be made between the living and the realm of the deceased. It is a vessel of hope.