A row of motion detector flood lights are placed in the darkest alley in the city of Leeuwarden. (Hoedemakerssteeg, translation: Hatmaker Alley) Every move the visitor make is been detected and the lights show every detail of the alley on that particulair place. The artwork is now part of the public lighting provided by the city.
In het donkerste steegje van Leeuwarden plaatste ik een reeks bouwlampen met een bewegingssensor. Bij elke stap die de passant zet, wordt de steeg op een andere manier ervaren. Alle details van de steeg worden op die plaats zichtbaar. Het kunstwerk is nu onderdeel geworden van de publieke straatverlichting van Leeuwarden.
From 2005 to 2008 VHDG organised HEAPSTEAPS, a 9-part series of projects in the public space. HEAPSTEAPS is Frisian for ‘suddenly’. The starting point for this series of projects was the unexpected appearance of temporary artworks in the public space. These unanticipated interventions inspired some artists to devise new strategies for a confrontation with the public.
It was interesting to see that the artists whose contributions were not initially intended as art were, we felt, most successful. And it was precisely these contributions to HEAPSTEAPS that infiltrated everyday life – impacting not only physical but mental space. They raised issues such as: how do we experience public space, what do we define as public space and when are our expectation patterns of it disrupted to such a degree that we are compelled to reconsider the boundaries, conditions and rules governing public space?
VHDG is increasingly intrigued by artists who employ strategies to bring about casual encounters between art and public. This incidental approach appears capable of creating conditions for making the public receptive to art, because it does not initially manifest as art. Reflecting on this conclusion, in Yourspace/Myspace we define our question to the artists more sharply and zoom in on one specific strategy: infiltration. What options does art offer for infiltrating the public domain; how does infiltration stimulate debate on both art and public space, and what is the effect of the ultimate ‘unmasking’ of the artwork and its acceptance by the public?
Yourspace/Myspace 2009 (2010)
In addition to a plethora of visual information, urban public space is inundated with text: instructions, commands, exhortations, announcements, advertising, street signs and the like. Some of them we are consciously aware of, many we automatically filter out, while some direct our behaviour without our knowing. At the end of 2009, VHDG invited three artists to create a predominantly (written) text-based artwork for the public space. VHDG is curious to see which strategies the artists will use in using text as a significant device within the context of art, public space and the public.