The densely forested Pine Barrens region of New Jersey is a beautiful and mysterious place. Filled with legends and stunning scenery, the Pine Barrens offer the solitude of nature near some of the East Coast’s most densely populated cities. Our partners at Atlas Obscura are inviting Untapped Cities readers to experience the Pine Barrens in a new way, through film, art and music at an upcoming event with the Whitesbog Historic Village, Middle of Nowhere. This overnight excursion will take guests into the forest for an evening on a 3,000-acre fallowed blueberry and cranberry farm. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can grab one of 20 free spots offered to members using an exclusive discount code found in the Untapped Cities Insider Facebook group.
This unique immersive experience was conceived and curated by filmmaker David Scott Kessler. For musical entertainment, Kessler brought in Laraaji and Arji OceAnada Cakouros. Laraaji has been hailed as one of the forefathers of both ambient electronic and new age music while Cakouros is a sound healer, musician, usui Reiki master, and dreamwork teacher. There will also be live performances by Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble, Jackson Pines, and Grassland Bluegrass Band. Stage performances and film screenings start at 5:00pm.
Photograph by Ed Mattson, Courtesy of Atlas Obscura
Screening during The Middle of Nowhere will be David Scott Kessler’s film The Pine Barrens. The documentary film will be presented with a live score preformed by The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra. The Pine Barrens is a celebration of nature and a portrait of a particular place, but one that casts doubt on its knowability, and our ability to discern reality from superstition. The film explores the symbiotic yet sometimes destructive relationship between man and nature. Through moments with individuals spanning several years, it reveals the influence of place on identity during a period of the gradual loss of both a way of life and of the environment that gave birth to it.
Photograph by David Scott Kessler, Courtesy of Atlas Obscura
In addition to the live musical performances and film screenings, there will be a contemporary art gallery and site-specific installations spread throughout the grounds to encourage guests to explore. These pieces will be viewable from 12pm on. Artists showing work include Kristen Neville Taylor, Emily Carris, Nick Lenker, Raúl Romero, Rebecca Saylor Sack, J. Alex Schechter, Jacob Lunderby, and many more. After the screenings, the Pine Barrens spirit will be kept alive well into the night by camping with at nearby Mt. Misery with a bonfire, more music and storytelling.
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