UWE academic commissions 'barricade' sculpture in NZ

Issue date: 18 December 2008

Heather and Ivan Morison, Journée des barricades, 2008. Photo: Stephen Rowe Car wrecks, discarded furniture and other urban detritus barricaded a central city street in Wellington, New Zealand for 24 hours on Sunday 14 December 2008.

This large-scale art intervention was created by British artists Heather and Ivan Morison as part of the year-long One Day Sculpture series commissioned by the Litmus Research Initiative, School of Fine Arts, Massey University (NZ).

Claire Doherty, (University of the West of England) is Curatorial Director of One Day Sculpture and worked with the Morisons on their distinctive Bristol 2006 installation of a jack-knifed lorry which had spread its load of 25,000 flowers across the city centre.

The temporary public artwork on 14 December in Wellington, New Zealand 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.

This new commission is the latest in the Morisons' ongoing investigation into future catastrophic scenarios and their social implications. 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.

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.

Claire Doherty, of 'Situations', a research and commissioning programme based at UWE says, “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 was in situ for just 24 hours before 'disappearing' overnight, returning the street back to normal for the Monday morning rush-hour.


Editor's notes
Image available from UWE Press Office
Image credit: Heather and Ivan Morison, Journée des barricades, 2008, commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University for One Day Sculpture. Photo: Stephen Rowe

For further information on Situations, see:

For further information on One Day Sculpture see: http://www.onedaysculpture.org.nz

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