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24hr City Barricade Foretells Future Scenario

Sunday 14 December 2008


Remarkable 24hr City Barricade Foretells Future Scenario


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*****

Car wrecks, discarded furniture and other urban detritus are barricading Stout Street at the corner of Lambton Quay in central Wellington for 24 hours today, Sunday 14th December.

This large-scale art intervention, created by British artists Heather and Ivan Morison, is part of the year-long One Day Sculpture series and is commissioned by the Litmus Research Initiative, School of Fine Arts, Massey University. The temporary public artwork entitled Journée des barricades acts as a rupture in the everyday comings and goings of the city. In its barricade form, the sculpture might suggest associations with the history of political actions and social unrest, but as a collection of discarded consumer products it may also bring to mind questions about our environmental and economic future.


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This new commission is the latest in the Morisons’ ongoing investigation into future catastrophic scenarios and their social implications. Known for their stunning 2006 installation of a jack-knifed lorry which had spread its load of 25,000 flowers across Bristol.s city centre, the capacity of their work to evoke darker concerns about our future has recently become more explicit. Tales of Space and Time (2008), commissioned for the Folkestone Triennial, for example, was an ex-military Green Goddess fire engine converted into a survivalist house truck which was equipped with a comprehensive library of apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction.


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The Morisons. work challenges people to look squarely into the future and prepare themselves for what might be coming. It proposes a shift in thinking from the popular environmentalist view that we must preserve the status quo to the survivalist approach of preparing for an unstoppable and inevitable change. .We.re interested in the history of politics on the street, of barricades as social sculptures, and wonder: what would it take for the residents of Wellington to take to the streets and build their own barricade? We.ve also been thinking about wash outs, storm surges and the detritus that wash up after these kinds of environmental or climate events,. they say. Wellington City Council’s Arts and Culture Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer says the One Day Sculpture series has been a great channel for the Council’s public art fund.

"Wellingtonians are getting to see so many different types of artworks throughout the year that it will have them reeling in thought about their public surroundings and also the nature of sculpture itself. I can’t wait to see all the rest - and I.m especially excited to see what the Morisons are bringing to these shores," he says. Claire Doherty, Curatorial Director of One Day Sculpture, adds, .The Morisons. work is the first of the international One Day Sculpture projects, following a remarkable set of artistic interventions in Auckland, Taranaki and Wellington which have occurred since August.


The city of Wellington is now witnessing the extraordinary imagination of this British duo.. In stark contrast to the sculpture.s grandiosity is its temporality . installed overnight between dusk Saturday and dawn Sunday, the work is in situ for just 24 hours before .disappearing. overnight, returning Stout Street back to normal for the Monday morning rush-hour.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Heather and Ivan Morison - www.morison.info

Recently named by the Guardian newspaper as .Artists of the Week., Heather and Ivan Morison’s work blends factual recall with fiction, merging information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and the lives of people they encounter. In previous work, the artists have looked at the currency of the escape vehicle, something that can transport you physically or mentally away from the here and now, or away from a potential future disaster. Dark Star, a 2006 film, Pleasure Island, and Fantasy Island, 2007, both timber structures, took their starting points from the American house-truck movement of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the hand-built shelter and self sufficiency movements of the same period.

The Morisons have conducted research visits with the founders of these alternative lifestyles, tracing their influence in today’s California. Their work often takes the form of sculptural objects within the public realm that act as catalysts for urgent discussions about our environmental future. The Morisons featured in the British Art Show 6 and are represented by Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, London and Clint Roenisch, Toronto.

They represented Wales at the Venice Biennale 2007 and have forthcoming projects with the Barbican, London, Milton Keynes Gallery, Baltic, Newcastle and Firstsite, Colchester. Heather Peak was born in Desborough, UK in 1973 and Ivan Morison was born in Nottingham, UK in 1974. In 2005 the Morisons acquired a site of ancient and mature woodland in North Wales and they are developing the area of mature conifers into an arboretum. They live in Arthog, North West Wales.

One Day Sculpture . www.onedaysculpture.org.nz

One Day Sculpture is a series of temporary public artworks by leading New Zealand-based and international artists. It is first event of its kind to happen, both locally and internationally. The series, which runs until June 2009, takes place across five cities in New Zealand and involves the creation of more than 20 new artworks, each of which will last no longer than 24 hours.

The one-day artworks will all be located in the public domain . beyond conventional galleries or museums . and occur within their own discrete 24-hour period. One Day Sculpture is led by the Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University with UK curator Claire Doherty and realised in partnership with arts organisations across New Zealand. Journée des barricades is the sixth One Day Sculpture project to date.

The next occurs in Dunedin on Saturday 20 December, with the remaining 14 projects realised in Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington in the first half of 2009. For more information on all the projects in the series, please see our website.

Acknowledgements

Journée des barricades was commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University. Funding support from the British Council, Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, the University of the West of England, Massey University Foundation and Massey University College of Creative Arts. The production of the work was also supported by Loadlift Equipment Ltd, Mega Wreckers Ltd, Transpacific AllBright Ltd and PSIS Limited. One Day Sculpture is a Massey University College of Creative Arts, School of Fine Arts, Litmus Research Initiative

ENDS


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