Sunday, March 1, 2009

Laura: Beddin(g)stallation

Temporary installation, Alda's café
Feb 18th 2009
Inter collective

As Claire outlined in a previous post after many a weeks in discussion, brainstorming and researching a laneway project an opportunity arose itself for the Inter Collective to install a work for a function for the Planning Institute of Australia at Alda's café which is tucked away in Wolf Lane. Although having been targeted by urban and Laneway activation programs we had previously dismissed Wolf Lane as a site for us due to it already being an activated space. Sitting in the lane discussing ideas we where surprised at what a huge thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic Wolf Lane is, the majority of which are full time workers not keen for there journey to be disrupted or inconvenienced in any manner (as Claire and Anna experienced when the lane was closed off for a Tony & Guy function). Alas we saw the opportunity to get some physical work happening, testing out some ideas and getting some feedback from an audience of people who are working towards activating urban sites and as there tagline goes ‘creating sustainable communities’.

We had been tossing around the idea of using mattresses for quite some time now, softening the space if you like and inviting the viewer to sit or lie and hence offering an alternate way of using and seeing the space. During our residency Site Fiction at the Arcane bookshop last year we found covering a space in a particular material allows a viewer to have a different experience of a space they have often become so accustomed to. Through covering, papering or wrapping the form and physicality of a space becomes more evident creating a new engagement with a site that users may have unconsciously become detached from.

Anyway after a week long debacle of trying to accumulate enough mattresses to fill the dimensions of the alfresco area we spent the day crazily sewing covers before loading them into the van and setting out to Alda's. Arriving a little behind schedule we get to work piling the mattresses in the centre of the area moving around tables, chairs and the few remaining patrons. After lining the floor with the mattresses (perfectly fitting the area) we set tearing strips of sheets which we then start wrapping basically around anything we can get to in the space; trees, chairs, planter boxes.

All in all (given the time, budget and site restrictions) I felt that we managed to create an interesting environment people would not be expecting yet remained accessible even if simply on an aesthetic level and invited interaction. Well, in summary a few patrons ventured outside with a glass of wine or a cigarette to make use of the space however it become all too frequency someone stumbled into the space looking hesitant made a nervous comment about ‘a sleepover’ before hurrying over the mattresses to safe ground and continuing on with their evening.

Perhaps it was the wrong audience for this kind of work but it was hard to shake the feeling that no matter what we could have done the majority of people who experienced the work where either simply not interested, struggled to take us seriously as artists or felt confronted and uncomfortable with a work that was geared at trying to achieve the exact opposite effect.
Anyway thought I’d post some photos of the work – we would love some feedback and comments and that is mainly what the night was lacking for us.
Is there an audience for this kind of work in Perth?