In my last post, I talked about choosing the site and theme for my site specific installation artwork: the town’s bus shelters and ‘waiting’. My work will respond to the specific purpose of the site, which is a designated place for people to wait. I have spent time considering objects or features that are frequently found at waiting places, such as timetables, seats, advertising, etc. and was able to create a long list of such features. Next I began to compare interior and exterior waiting spaces and to list similarities and differences between these: this will help me identify and develop specific ideas for the artwork.
The next step was to visit the site at different times of day and to document what I discovered using photography, written notes, short video clips and sound recordings. In particular, I found the photography to be especially helpful as I was able to record the scene in its entirety and also capture tiny details using the macro function. I was surprised to find so many marks made by people using the shelter, from litter to words written in the dirty panels and scratched into the paintwork. There were also a number of burn marks in the plastic panels, presumably made by holding lighters to the plastic. There was an unexpected beauty to be found in these marks – I’ve included some photographs of these below. Using the macro function on my camera, I was able to capture the tiny bubbles and rich array of colours in some of these burns.
Other marks included remnants of sticky tape glue; writing ‘life sucks’ and a finger drawing of a heart in the dirty window panels; graffiti tags; and marks left by nature, such as the interesting patina of lichen on the roof panels and moss growing in the guttering.
Discovering the range of marks left by people using the bus shelter has allowed me to focus my response to the site more tightly. The marks that people have left provide a visual history of ‘waiting’, which is actually an invisible concept, much like the concept of time. As humans, we use the notion of ‘time’ to impose a linear structure on the happenings around us. It helps us to compartmentalise the past, the present, and the future. I have decided to focus on the marks I found and documented as a way of ‘seeing’ the act of waiting.
Although I have not finalised my specific response for the artwork yet, at this point I intend to use paper based resources and materials, such as drawing, painting, printing, photographs, and/or collage. These materials are easy to handle and transport, and are not prohibitively expensive. They also do not pose a risk to members of the public: it is important to remember that the bus shelters are a public space and I should not create any additional hazards to the use of the space. However, the materials may change as I develop my artwork. It may be that a different material may become more appropriate for creating my response to the site, although being mindful of risk and hazards will still apply.