Discarded hosiery, pipes, pumps, air
shown here in the Atrium of Middlesex University February 2015
Relational Abjectives: CORRIDOR considers the spatial boundaries and relationships between object, audience, spectator, activator and activated-upon participant, through a three-way audience interaction. By testing the liminal boundaries of passive and active; inside and outside; the viewed and the voyeur Corridor presents a claustrophobic section of abjected space.
From the inside, the activated upon can spy their possible assailant through small, worn away apertures in the sock circles. The subtle nature of the spyhole suggests the furtive action of the voyeur introducing an abjected exchange of roles between the blind and the sighted, the victim and the perpetrator. Above the action, from the adjacent balcony, the apex of the Panoptican, distanced spectators can observe all actions but are unable to influence on either side of the wall.
For participants on the outside of the corridor, who may or may not anticipate or consider the results of their actions, a physical activation through pumping motion creates a haptic exchange on the interior side. The nature of this physicality, necessitating a firm grasp on a phallically fleshy air pump, makes sly reference to Vito Acconci’s Seedbed (1972), abjecting the idea further by making the pumping both visible and invisible at the same time, according to the location of individual viewer. This haptic engagement of a hand action with a hidden outcome or object also echoes VALIE EXPORT: Tapp und Tastkino (Touch Cinema) (1968).
Using the participatory aspects of CORRIDOR as randomiser, a different combination of affect is experienced at each interaction dependant on other audience members, or absence of, participating at each particular point of entry or haptic engagement with the work. In taking a position of liminality, CORRIDOR follows Merleau-Ponty in using ‘haptic metaphor when defining the chiasmic relation between seer and seen’. (Levin, 2014, p. 12)
As a structure, CORRIDOR presents a sparse, monolithically white neutrality, interspersed with bright colour in a visual aesthetic which references Damien Hirst’s Spot paintings (2012) but as the antithesis in production, taking extreme work in wear to create textures and colour. The varied groupings of spots suggest unspecified classifications: stripes, colours, previous owners are mooted in the ambiguous configurations of size and wear. Obviously worn and discarded objects, the texture alludes to memory held within the fabric, which upon air activation creates an uncanny sense of the re-animated body, in ghostly ephemeral trace.
The grid-like arrangement of supposed spots also relates to works by Kiki Smith: Untitled (Bosoms) (1994); Eva Hesse: Untitled (1966) and the work of Yayoi Kusama. The use of socks as metaphor for absent body is also used by Andrea Duncan: 23 Pairs (2002).
The utilisation of a corridor formation relates to experimental works by Bruce Nauman. Like Nauman’s corridor, this work considers the ambiguous status of performer within a work, and whether the participant is knowing or unknowing of in his or her importance in the role as such.
Levin, Laura. 2014. Performing Ground. Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In.