Working Title : The Bridge
I would like to make a work which uses the bridge which connects the two buildings used for the exhibition. I propose to use the railings on both sides to hang a mass of imitated protest banners and signs, as well as a small number of megaphones, fixed to the railings at intervals. The banners will be copied from media images which document protest in Korea and elsewhere, addressing a variety of concerns. I am interested in creating a picture of our time, in bringing various issues, and territories of concern into relationship with each other through formal means. The placards used in the sketch I send today relate to protests about the foreign take-over of Daewoo, anti-globilisation, the Japanese version of history, Kyoto and the US military action in Afghanistan. This is just a sketch – though I will use some of these - I aim to include a mixture of very local issues as well, and also use material sourced at my end – creating a collage where viewers recognise some, agree with others, and are left without relation to a few.
Using the bridge interests me for a number of reasons – formally I am interested in the way it is semi-public and can be seen by visitors and passers-by. I am especially interested in the two very distinct viewpoints the bridge allows – the work is read best from below, with some distance, whilst gallery visitors become part of the work, in a way, like walking on a stageset. The megaphones aim to emphasise this position of viewer as actor – and allude to the fact that in the media age we live in we are maybe all actors, or at least if we participate in this form of political action, how we behave is co-determined by the workings of the mass media: I am interested in the relationship between the media and individual action.
The bridge, and its location here, also relates to my interest in the possible roles of art and artists in contemporary society, or the relationship between the imaginary and the real. This and my recent work investigating protest is in a sense part of a broader personal research into what might constitute a new kind of politics – on the one hand it involves learning from others about political action, through imitation (making the signs), on the other, through decontextualisation, bringing different issues into relationship with each other in a new context. When decontextualised I feel we are left with a kind of evidence of the many imaginations, which in sum point towards the potential for an entirely different world.
I hope this proposal interests you in terms of the PAUSE theme. I feel it relates in terms of subject matter - pointing towards alternatives, as well as formally – like a still image of several media images laid on top of each other, a flattening of the time and space which usually contributes to our seperateness from others, and thereby obscures understanding, discourages empathy, and ultimately contributes to war and hatred. How can I empathise with a stranger the other side of the world? What can I as an European artist do in South Korea? Ultimately I suppose I want to comment on the things which connect us all, not in a simple or nostalgic way, but in how underneath a difference in opinion there may lie a common humanity, a common set of basic needs.