Poetic tent Obstacles
Part of the Cluster Temporary Permanence
Other Projects of the Cluster
Dr. Åsa Andersson (based in Stockholm but works at Leeds Metropolitan University, The Leeds School of Contemporary Art & Graphic Design, UK)
a.andersson [at] leedsmet.ac.uk
My interest in tourism, migration, tents and 'temporary permanence' [tp]: In relation to tourism, migration, and transient spaces, the tent is a critical image and object. A tent is a mobile and temporary SHELTER, before its usage is assigned, whether at a camping site (leisure context), at a circus for housing entertainment, for homeless refugees, or the protection for victims of catastrophes such as earthquakes. The tent as an idea remains fairly intact: its operative construction (such as canvas, metal rods, supporting strings etc) is designed and given. But the site for its erection is precarious, shifting, and tangential to the terrain and availability of a space where to pitch it. This also goes for a tent's vulnerability - a target for strong wind, or for a knife cutting through its illusory surface, or a sound that will travel beyond its limits. Similar to the paradoxical nature of the utterance, "temporary permanence", the tent has its own material and psychological ambiguities that I would like to creatively explore.
Poetic (tent) Obstacles
I will take 3 starting points (see below for details) of which some are subjectively rooted in the personal, some are historical in its research methodology, and some will look at legal issues. Altogether, I propose to fuse the starting points and produce these things:
I will write a short piece of fiction which will be presented as a voice-over with projected still images within the installation space of the member cluster: "[Spaces of] temporary permanence". The images will be a series of imaginative semi-documentary photographic responses to ideas of tents.
A multiple, template edition of tents with short texts inside. The exterior of the tents will have imagery and some may remain white. Some of the tents could be interactive/empty in the sense that the audience can fill them with their own thoughts - words to be sheltered. The audience can then place these tents where they would like to within the city of the exhibitions. A table with pairs of scissors and gluesticks and pens would be available.
The 3 starting points are:
1. In Stockholm there are three late 18th Century mock Roman military type tents. The frontal sections are made out of painted copper plate, and the vertical blue-white stripes, give the appearance of lightness but as you knock on the surface, the tents are resolutely materially manifest. The walls at the back are made out of wood with traditional windows and look more like houses. The tents' usages have changed over the years: shelters for the Royal Guard, storage spaces, and currently a museum and restaurant. They are traces from the Romantic era, and appear as fantastical stage sets with fake facades - tokens signs for 'temporary permanence' [tp] - within the parks in which they are placed.
In Sweden, there is a law called "Allemansrätten" and briefly the law states that unless you are a nuisance in any way, you are allowed to raise a tent for 24 hours - (stay one night) in most places unless otherwise marked with signs that forbid this. I am interested in cases where this law has been pushed to its limit and thus the permanence of law in relation to the temporary nature of visiting/camping.
I recently discovered that a former lover has used my family summer cottage as a motif for a series of commercial paintings. (The paintings were made after the break-up.) In one of the images, he (the artist/former lover) has pitched an imaginary luminous white tent under the cherry tree of our garden. Against all rational thought, I reacted in an emotional way upon the discovery. It was as if he had trespassed a boundary of privacy/property by placing the tent in this space, even if only in the fiction of a painting. While artistically rendering the motif, I consider his brush to be a tourist, a temporary invader. Here, I am interested in the idea of 'temporary permanence' [tp] in relation to memory, migrant love/after effects, and how something as evanescent as a memory can take on material (albeit semi-fake) documentary properties