Without You I am Just a Sign or Unemployment

20.08.05 |

Exhibition: Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Awards 2006, Waikato Museum, Hamilton, New Zealand

Concept Description:
Lodged in among American urban legends and folklore, there is a personal family story about my father’s Aunt and Uncle driving across the country from Missouri to California in a two-week long semi-annual adventure. Before Interstates deserted the thriving Route 66 iconic roadside novelty stop offs and before Route 66 carved its way across the country, there was nothing more than handwritten guides, suggestions from isolated farmers, compasses and the memories of previous successful journeys to guide them. One such story is the story of the barn and the tree; the brightly coloured red barn and it’s companion the enormous walnut tree. Here, all involved highly recommended a turn to the left for sure success as a turn to the right would put you on another route altogether. One summer, the owner of the farm, friendly as he was, repainted his barn a different colour and chopped down the picturesque walnut tree (as it was suffering from blight). And without his knowing, caused great confusion to passing motorists, which led to many losing their way.

Coming from a graphic communications background, I have always been interested in the way in which information is presented to us, in terms of all things graphical. Though we are constantly inundated with such information, often what makes a building a referential icon is its signage. Without the comfort of text and imagery, we are left wanting. We are left unbalanced. The removal of the sign takes with it the workforce and its identity and leaves us with a hull; a structure without a particular location, an eerie testament of something that was.

Short Description:
Video footage from street corners, where emptiness, stillness, business (pun), nature, pedestrians and transport all compete for space and attention. Suddenly it is obvious amidst the moving parts what is missing.

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