In Closed to the public (protecting space), professional security guards are employed to prevent the public from entering a demarcated area. This area is selected to cause mild disruption to people’s regular, unthinking movements around a space and sectioned off with tape on the ground. When the public accidentally or deliberately crossover the tape, the security guards are instructed to firmly tell them to desist and move on.
Catherine and I intend the work to prompt members of the public to pay a new sort of attention to the ubiquitous security apparatus that is increasingly creeping into and controlling public spaces. This sort of apparatus (security cameras, fences, guards), accompanied by rhetoric about maintaining public order and safety, often exists largely in the public’s peripheral vision. By presenting an exaggerated, absurd version of this public control—one in which the capriciousness of authority undermines itself—we hope to allow reflection on the current situation of public spaces.
From 13-17 August 2014, Catherine Ryan and I presented Closed to the public (protecting space), at the 2014 Melbourne Art Fair, as part of the MAF Edge Program: Social Capital, curated by Jacqueline Doughty.
Over four days in February 2016, Closed to the Public (protecting space) was also presented in public spaces in Freiburg, Germany as part of the Museum für Neue Kunst program Während der Ausstellung ist das Museum geschlossen/During the exhibition the gallery will be closed.
A review of the Melbourne Art Fair in Ocula magazine described Closed to the Public as “the most watchable work in the fair”.
For more information about the project see also:
Photos by Marc Doradzillo, Amy Spiers and IMG X Tom Teutenberg.