Dig­ging deep in the name of art

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - DAVID KILLICK

WORK­ERS were last night pre­par­ing to bury a steel con­tainer un­der Ho­bart’s busiest street as part of the lead-up to one of Dark Mofo’s most provoca­tive events.

Some lanes of Mac­quarie St were closed for sev­eral hours last night as a hole was dug to hold the ac­com­mo­da­tion for per­for­mance artist Mike Parr’s work, Un­der­neath the Bi­tu­men The Artist.

Mr Parr will be en­tombed for 72 hours un­der Mac­quarie St in mid-June as part of Dark Mofo. Lanes of the road are ex­pected to be closed for sev­eral hours at a time dur­ing his per­for­mance.

The work is in­tended in part to “memo­ri­alise the vic­tims of 20th cen­tury to­tal­i­tar­ian vi­o­lence in all of its ide­o­log­i­cal forms, in­clud­ing the shadow cast by the geno­ci­dal vi­o­lence of 19th cen­tury Bri­tish colo­nial­ism in Aus­tralia.”

Per­for­mance cu­ra­tor Jar­rod Rawl­ins said the early re­sponse to the an­nounce­ment of the work re­flected some of the ex­pected anx­i­ety about see­ing a 72-year-old man buried un­der a city street.

“I think peo­ple are ex­cited, and cu­ri­ous more than any­thing at the mo­ment,” he said.

“Peo­ple would just, I guess, be try­ing to pic­ture them­selves in a box un­der­neath the road and what that means to them.”

Mr Parr will take items in­clud­ing a book, a sketch­pad, a stool and mat­tress into the 4.5m x 1.7m x 2.2m con­tainer.

And he will have earplugs to min­imise the noise of traf­fic pass­ing above him.

The box will be con­nected to the out­side world only by a tube feed­ing fresh air in­side, and an emer­gency but­ton.

He will leave ev­ery­thing be­hind as he ex­its the con­tainer, which will then be en­tombed in con­crete below the road for­ever.

Mr Rawl­ins said the vast ma­jor­ity of the per­for­mance would be un­seen.

“We don’t know what’s go­ing hap­pen. All we do is make sure things are safe. That’s our main role, is mak­ing sure that all of the safety pro­ce­dures for ev­ery­one — the artist and the au­di­ence — is safe. The rest, be­ing per­for­mance art, just hap­pens,” he said.

In an in­ter­view, with the Week­end Aus­tralian, Mr Parr said Ho­bart was the right place for the work — which was knocked back by two other cities.

“Maybe that’s why I love Tas­ma­nia so much. I don’t think you’d get away with this any­where else,” he said.

His pre­vi­ous works have in­cluded fast­ing in a glass cage for ten days, hav­ing his lips sewn to­gether and spend­ing 30 hours blind­folded with his right arm nailed to a wall.

The per­for­mance will run from June 14 to June 17 and will cost Mona, Dark Mofo, and De­tached Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion $150,000. None of the ex­pense will be born by tax­pay­ers or Ho­bart ratepay­ers.

Ho­bart Lord Mayor Ron Christie said while he sup­ported Dark Mofo gen­er­ally, he was con­cerned about the im­pact on city traf­fic

“At that time of night our traf­fic of­fi­cers say there will be around 850 ve­hi­cles an hour and I’m con­cerned about the di­ver­sions and where the traf­fic is go­ing,” he said.

So Ho­bart con­ges­tion is some of the worst in Aus­tralia, so let’s dig up the cen­tre lane of one of the busiest streets, seal for three days, then do it over again just so this guy can be buried alive for an art piece? Se­ri­ously?

Wouldn’t the drive­way to Mona be a bet­ter choice?

Ben­jamin Po­prawski

I guess if it’s go­ing to be left in the ground for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions there are ob­vi­ously no plans

for im­prov­ing Mac­quarie Street any time soon?

Lynda Davey

This mind­less waste of money should be can­celled. Tax­pay­ers’ funds go­ing to waste. Dan­ger­ous, we will have peo­ple stand­ing in

the mid­dle of the road tak­ing pho­to­graphs en­dan­ger­ing their and other lives.

Michael Cor­field

I thought Mofo was about art, its turn­ing into stu­pid­ity.

Sally Roberts

Per­for­mance cu­ra­tor Jar­rod Rawl­ins

Yes­ter­day’s P1 re­port in the Mer­cury.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.