Monday, July 11, 2005

Cracks In The Pavement


Kevin Hampson is participating in a multi-venue public art project called Cracks In The Pavement. I'm pleased that, in a city bustling with a wide assortment of people, Hampson has honed in on the pedestrians rather than the physical location itself.

The project is to create site specific works that speak to the location in which they are installed. The works should be portable and will be expected to be picked up and taken away by those who find them. The show will continue until all of the works have been taken.

Kevin's piece is a series of bookworks that create a narrative surrounding individuals he encounters on his walk to work:
The encounters I have had range from the strange to the mundane. For example, there is the janitor: I pass the same janitor every day working outside the Art Gallery of Ontario. We have very set schedules so we always pass each other at a particular time. We share a nod or a knowing glance but never converse. I want to weave this experience into a fictitious account of his life. The text I invent will blur borders for a viewer and create an evocative account of a life lived in that space.

I particularly enjoy the story surrounding the creation of the Peter bookwork:
Queen and University is the site of Osgoode Hall, a Victorian building that functions as courtrooms and great library for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the centre of downtown Toronto. It is here that I met "Peter," a man who exposed himself to several others and me on a busy afternoon. My relationship with this individual is much different than the other two since it only happened once and was quite shocking. The piece will depict the moment he flashed me as well as the events leading up to and after the offense. His excitement and mental state will also figure heavily. To my knowledge, "Peter" was never caught.

I often find myself watching strangers on the street and I wonder what their lives are like. What are they thinking about at that very moment? What would it be like to be them? Where did they just come from and where are they headed to?

Hampson takes on these questions and answers them according to his own dreams and desires - much as we all do in our interactions with others. We tell ourselves stories about each other and, sometimes, we believe them. Ultimately, these stories are about ourselves.

Hampson's installation began on the 10th. Go to the show's website and get a nifty map. Happy hunting.


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