Please, take a seat 2021
4 x digital photographs
I wondered if I could create a ‘crevice community’ – it seemed to me that during the COVID crisis, which is on the heels of the longer CLIMATE crisis, politicians and those with the power to make change did nothing to help artists, and universities. All artists, and universities, were sidelined for any assistance during the pandemic, and yet, here we are… not yet flourishing, but stubbornly continuing – a crevice community? And who did the general public turn to during these difficult days? The Arts persisted, universities continued to teach, despite the lack of financial and moral support.
In order to create a ‘crevice community’ that could be a metaphor for the political and climate crisis, I looked to artists from the past. I have always admired the work of Rosalie Gascoigne, Australia’s most well-known assemblage artist. She said that her art-making materials “need to have been open to the weather.” I determined to re-use items I had in my back garden – an old chair, a plant tray, cuttings of succulents which look particularly uncomfortable. And I would invite the politicians to “take a[n uncomfortable] seat” – particularly the current National Party with its ‘sports rorts’ and corrupt politicians who keep their seats regardless of bad behaviour – “Please take a seat!”
These four photographs show the ‘assembled crevice’ I created from the items around my garden; I placed the crevice chair in front of the local National Party representative office to invite her to “please take a seat” and think about all the artists, and the environment they don’t care about because it’s not economic; on the walk back to my own garden I found some street art that seemed to be calling to the world to “look to the future – think differently;” and finally, a wild field, a crevice community in my neighbourhood – but what will the future hold for that place?
As a creative practitioner, I try to blend and juxtapose objects and arts disciplines to explore ideas and metaphors to help an audience look at an issue or a situation differently. An audience brings their own life experiences to an exhibition or theatre event and then might consider a different viewpoint after looking at the artist’s work.
Jenni Munday is on the academic faculty at Charles Sturt University and is a member of the Re-Create Textile Group and the Mayday Hills research group. She is an arts practitioner using combinations of theatre and visuals arts (and sometimes music). She has been invited for a residency at Arts Iceland in 2022.
Provenance: Peer reviewed submission