Memories for the Future


  • Michael W. Barrett University of Arizona


Arts-based Research, Performance ethnography, Auto-ethnography


Artist Michael Barrett, a former Marine, polished nearly 7,000 pennies – one for every war casualty between 2001 & 2014 – as part of his Memories for the Future exhibit in the Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery.  Over the eight-week time span, Barrett's mission was to create a tangible, yet fragile symbol of recognition, mirroring the circular footprint of the Government Center Rotunda.  Using a Kevlar ballistic apron, a book, metal polish and 6,805 U.S. pennies, Barrett individually polished each penny, while creating a spiral mosaic on the rotunda floor.

Author Biography

Michael W. Barrett, University of Arizona

Michael Barrett is an Art and Visual Culture Education candidate and assistant instructor at the University of Arizona. Over the past 13 years, Barrett has performed in England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the Netherlands.  He was recognized by Las Vegas Weekly and Las Vegas CityLife publications as "One to Watch" in 2013 and in 2009, the San Francisco Foundation acknowledged his work as a recipient of the Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship.  Barrett recently completed a 320-hour performance, over two months, in Las Vegas and presently holds a Guinness world record.


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