Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Description of what happened: Part one: The exchange

A development of the (in)visible exchange project through use of appointments, usher, persona, narrative, recycling and dark humour.

An office within a corner of a derelict factory, 55 Leroy Street, Bermondsey, Saturday 26th April, 2008. The office which had been modified slightly to accommodate becoming a temporary photographic darkroom in low light, was in a dilapidated state, with peeling walls. There was placed in the space a new ikea roller blind as blackout and a stopped clock at 4.58pm. A clock ticking sound was audible.

The office had been identified as a place of exchange, for privacy, interviews. People had been asked to bring an item of soft furnishing or clothing to exchange. They individually entered through knocking on the door, and were invited inside. They sat down and were asked for the item they had brought to exchange. The objects were discussed, such as why the item was unsuitable and had been brought for exchange, and full details recorded on a proforma, then unpicked via a selection of tools, deconstructing rather than the usual construction practice in a factory. Parts were selected carefully by one performer, the rest swept into the remnants pile on the floor, and the kept parts laid onto photographic paper and exposed and developed; they surfaced fleetingly through a photogrammed trace of the object, but the images were not then fixed, as is usual photographic practice. This was intended as a dual narrative with the story of the object momentarily shared. This performance culminated in marking this fact through the ultimate ‘death’ of the image created, leaving it to overdevelop and disappear. The photogram was then dried and framed in an Ikea frame, wrapped in bubble wrap for the participant to take home as their new, exchanged item, as a symbol of the future occupation of the building of contemporary apartments. The discussion then returns to attention to detail on filling in the rest of the proforma, ensuring it it is an exact and agreed record which is signed by all parties. The proforma is folded, as is its carbon copy, very precisely and methodically. The proforma, rather than being filed or copy given to the participant, is then shredded in front of the participant. Two strangers, the performers and the participant, then leave one another taking away with them only their memories of the exchange as the images, attacked by light, continue to dematerialise and will become entirely invisible in their final location, and the written documentation has been shredded and erased.

Description by harriet of the space-in-between project, a collaboration between Harriet Poole and Laura Bean, 55 Leroy Street, Bermondsey, April 2008

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