Curator. Abi Spinks Participatory Performance
Where a Place becomes a Site: Values (Part 1)
Broadmarsh Shopping centre, Nottingham: 26th January; 10am -4pm
In 1995 I constructed a faithful reproduction of the ‘Riddler’s’ jacket. The work was made out of specially dyed and printed Merino wool. With its ubiquitous black question marks against a lime green background the piece brought together my childhood fascination with the Riddler. With extravagant public expressions as clues of nefarious activity, each gesture seemed to me to make that place a site of the intention. It sharpened my lifelong fascination with questions as a ‘fuel’ of human achievement, imagination and thought.
The jacket had a continuous tail of 50 metres of the cloth that held thousands of question marks upon it. This bolt of cloth runs like a carpet of questions from the base of the jacket. The work was titled ‘Where a Place becomes a site’ and was first shown at the Cornerhouse Manchester as part of a mid-career retrospective ‘The Sacred and the Mundane’.
For Nottingham Contemporary I installed the work in Broadmarsh shopping centre. I and a team of gallery assistants held a day long transaction between the shoppers and passers-by, the space, the work and ideas of value. I have long been involved in looking at what we ‘value’ in our everyday lives. I believe that we need to understand these values as an antidote to the relentless invitations to consume. I do maintain that all ecologies, especially our wellbeing, are endangered when competition outstrips resources. I consider that a greater understanding of what we value could be used to construct a ‘social soil’ that truly reflects our needs and wants without plundering the earth’s finite resources.
During the day question marks were cut from the work and given to passers-by in exchange for a ‘value’ that they hold true to themselves. It was a chance for me and others to chat with people about what they value and to add to a growing list of citations of value that I have been gathering for a while. On the day we collected 398 responses to the question ‘what do you value?’