restricted area, 2021
Weather, found objects, liquid latex, biodegradable gold pigment
Site-specific durational work, Haydon Lane Kensington
Online process documentation, @site_praxis
restricted area formed part of the open exhibition, ROADMAP presented by State of Disaster and co-curated by Tameka Carter and Rute Chaves.
The exhibition took place between 11 – 25 September 2021 across the 3031 postcode (Kensington, Flemington) in Victoria, Australia. restricted area is a durational site-specific work that remains in place at Haydon Lane Kensington.
A selection of the site-specific art is shown here and at @site_praxis.
restricted area is a series of 49 small site-specific interventions installed in Haydon Lane, Kensington, plus one intervention that takes place using social media, as @site_praxis.
As a part of ROADMAP, restricted area forms an invitation to communities within 5km to explore locally and discover overlooked spaces. It encourages visitors to celebrate wonder in the ordinary by seeking out gold elements playfully hidden along the length of Haydon Lane. The gold pieces are small, nomadic, and hard to spot; visitors are not told exactly what to look for, so they must be highly attentive and seek out what matter looks “out of place”. The nature of these elements – including cigarette butts, scoria, building materials, empty snail shells, textures, gaps in crumbling walls – is a provocation to examine our own relationship with materials in place. If a discarded cigarette butt is gold, are we more likely to notice it and pick it up? Could this shift our future behaviours and attitudes?
restricted area addresses a need for change by reclaiming the jargon of construction sites and COVID-19 lockdown. The artwork is situated in an under-utilised public thoroughfare in a suburb undergoing rapid change due to construction projects; it takes place at a time when citizens of Melbourne have been largely confined within a 5km radius of their homes. Rather than perceiving urban change and limited access to public space with resignation, the artwork embraces restricted area as a catalyst to seek ways of inhabiting familiar places differently, through acts of care and creativity. In doing so, it aims to open up opportunities for new discoveries in small areas, and highlights the potential to become more connected and caring toward local spaces through attentive engagement.
Part of the artwork is the process of inhabiting the laneway, during which time I watch, listen and ask: what ways could we practice care here? To explore this I become an ‘urban flâneur’, combining aspects of transect and artist walks with critical approaches to dress, and acts of responsible citizenry. Through this I have formed an approach to material practice that applies a lens of “dirt-affirmation” (a term used by anthropologist Mary Douglas) to recognise and respond to existing conditions – whether socially or environmentally desirable or not – in order to highlight what makes a place unique. There is a lot of detritus in the lane, but it is not “matter out of place” (Douglas 1966); this is its place. I dress a selection of these elements with a coating of latex and biodegradable gold pigment as an affirmation of what’s here, now.
This reflective and material practice is documented on social media at @site_praxis during each day of the artwork’s realisation. It forms a critical intervention to reframe the social crisis of more than 260 days of lockdown due to COVID-19 in Naarm (Melbourne), within the broader context of human disconnection from ecology during the Anthropocene age.
restricted area on Instagram – @site_praxis
Exhibition Website – State of Disaster
Exhibition Instagram – @state.of.disaster
Tags – #roadmap2021 #stateofdisasterkensington2021 #stateofdisasterkensington
The artist would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land where this work takes place, the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, and to pay their respects to Elders, past and present. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.