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I will investigate urban asceticism in NYC by modifying and inhabiting an RV with the goals of personal artistic exploration and community outreach.
Genevieve Belleveau
Brooklyn, New York
United States
1 Team Member


I am Genevieve Belleveau, a social practitioner and artist living in Brooklyn, NY.  My work encompasses a broad range of methods and mediums to challenge the accepted modes of operating within the structure of civilized society.  I have been exhibited internationally from large scale immersive installations in Sweden to intimate gatherings of feminist visionaries.  I was recently called "the Queen Bee of the Brooklyn contemporary art scene" by Interview Magazine and have a rich history of working collaboratively with artists, night life organizers and creatives from all walks of life.

I have worked as an Mister Softee truck driver in Manhattan for 6 years and more recently as a truck manager for the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.  I consider my experience with mobile vending to be foundational to this endeavor and consider my knowledge of truck mechanics, street culture, traffic laws and general hustle essential to the success of this project.

photo by Angelina Dreem


This progression in  my work is a natural extension of my growing concerns with networked culture and the toll it takes on individual spirituality.  The idea of the online acting as a divine space has influenced my work for the past 3 years and is now coming to fruition as the New Ascetic; a tonsured monk avatar I enact on my social media that urges others to examine the roles that the internet plays in their lives and offers helpful suggestions on how to mediate modern age metaphysical dilemmas. 

In immersing myself in the unfamiliar challenges of the mobile monastery I am acknowledging the need to reflect inwards in order to better serve the community I am asking these questions.  The mobile monastery pushes my work one step further into an active exploration of solitude and sanctuary in the midst of urban chaos.  This physicalization becomes the metaphor for life now increasingly lived in constant connection.  I have been in a period of deep research into cenobites, hermits and monastic life and believe walking the walk can only aid in talking the talk.

My companion, Cuckoo, the teacup cat


The contributions of donors will help me fund an RV that is efficient and modest but can protect myself and my teacup cat, Cuckoo, from the NYC elements.  It will also serve as a hub for outreach projects with the community and with my peers. 

I am asking for my goal amount in order to purchase, license, insure and inspect a 20' mobile home.  I am looking at models that are post 1980 for maintenance reasons and that are all-inclusive so I won't have to purchase an additional vehicle to haul a camper. I have been looking at used mobile homes on Craigslist in the $2,000-4,000 range.  I cannot ensure that the purchase will be made in state so I am also accounting for license plates/title (est. $45), state inspection (est. $35), a years worth of insurance (est. $500) and the purchase of a NYS reduced cost solar panel (est. $250) to minimize emissions from a propane generator.  Any additional funds will be used to modify the RV with a simple sanctuary aesthetic, inside and out.

My timeline for moving into the RV is based on finding my dream home-on-wheels, but I am aiming for mid January 2014.

Example of a beautifully modified RV mobile home

In the spirit of a traditional monastery, I will include social outreach as a part of my life in the RV.  As part of an ongoing study in civil disobedience I have begun dumpster diving as a part of my practice and would like to devise a way to use my vehicle to donate recovered food to shelters or under-resourced members of the Brooklyn community.  If you are unfamiliar with the practice and logic behind dumpster diving and food reclamation I suggest the insightful and smart documentary Dive! .

Additionally, I have been recovering gorgeous flowers from the trash and using them in recent artworks as floral healing and generally spreading good-will around the city by handing them to people I strike up conversations with.  I'd like to use the Monastery as a place to perfect the art of Ikebana flower arrangement and offer this form of meditative healing to others.

Performance of floral healing at The New Museum for Performa13


Any amount helps to defray the cost of this investment.  Due to the price of rent in NYC I have been unable to save very much for this transition and while I am I comfortable with the challenges of making it work on my own, your donation would help me realize the very highest and best iteration of this dream.

If you are unable to contribute please feel free to share with friends who can.  If you know any press outlets that might be interested in covering this story that would also help, as my mission is not only monetary, but metaphysical: I want to challenge people to re-examine the way they have been programmed to live and discuss alternatives for these lifestyles.  In exploring this project I hope to establish guidelines for one way to live outside of the grid while still embracing the sacred nature of urban space.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 143 people in 1 month
79% funded
No time left
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on January 1, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD

    No amount is too small: even just spreading the word helps me immensely! Any donation under $10 will garner you a sincere shout out on any of my social networking platforms.

    10 claimed
  • $10USD

    Each donation of $10 or more will have your name or the name of a loved one honored inside the RV on the birch bark wall of gratitude. Its like signing our collective work of art!

    39 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $25USD

    This collectible package includes everything you need to create a do-it-yourself tonsure just like Genevieve has! Kit includes razor blade, perfect circle stencil, rosewater infused shave balm and a vial of palm oil to make your crown glisten!

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $45USD

    Secure your slice of sanctuary with this at-home monastery kit. Includes palo santo wood incense, seed starter for your own medicinal herb garden, self affirmation card on genuine north woods birch bark, and a surprise figurine to begin your own altar to worship whatever you wish!

    5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $50USD

    I will edit a personalized karaoke video meditation just for you! These videos have the look and feel of traditional SunFly karaoke but with text that speaks to the deeper cathartic properties of music and the poetry of pop culture.

    7 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $75USD

    Limited edition scented oil custom blended by Genevieve, evoking the scents of a monastery with notes of frankincense, rosemary, myrrh and oak. Bottled and boxed in a birch bark and leather gift case; very rare collectible 'eau de patron'. This perk has been made possible by the generosity of Catland Books. http://www.catlandbooks.com/

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $100USD

    Glass encased prayer candle with a picture of Genevieve and Cuckoo printed on the surface, as well as an original prayer meditation. Very rare limited edition! Kitsch, kyute!

    1 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2014
  • $125USD

    You will be invited to a workshop on the art of Ikebana flower arrangement. Based on the ancient method of floral arrangement as mediation and divination tool we will use re-purposed flowers liberated from the Trader Joe's dumpster to create original sculpture of botanical delight. If you are not in the NYC area I will create a video tutorial just for you!

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $250USD

    You will be invited to join me in the RV on a field trip pilgrimage to the Cloisters Museum in Inwood, NYC. This is a rare chance to spend one-on-one time reflecting on the power of spirituality over the ages and to discuss it's significance now. A hand prepared meal will be given in the RV kitchen and individual healing session is an option based on the needs of the patron.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $300USD

    Secure a first edition of The New Ascetic Illuminated Manuscript I will be writing and illustrating over the course of this project. Based on the aesthetic of hand-drawn sacred scriptures this book will document my journey with the mobile monastery. It will be a limited edition printing and collectible art object.

    0 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2014


    Name it anything you want! Name it after yourself! Name it something perverted, we will WERQ with it. Name it after your deceased hermit crab or better yet after your crush; you're imagination will be forever honored in countless forthcoming legends and press releases about this project. Lick your finger and make your mark! *Caveat: name must begin with the word Saint, St. or Ste.

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
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