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un·habited space

It appeared to me that that very place where the doorway divides the outside world from the inside space, is where a major issue resides. And that is; how to coax, in the desired manner, visitors across that threshold? Transitioning from being an anonymous public to being less public and less anonymous. How to present the prospect of entering this space as being as unthreatening an issue as is taking the next step along the footpath? Of course, people in a space (not immediately understood as a gallery) not obviously presenting artworks in a conventional way, neither performance nor exhibition, is perhaps somewhat confusing and challenging to interpret for the onlooker. So there is an inherent tension in our presence, we are creating an ambiguous space that hovers between public and private, performance and non-performance, yet we wish to encourage passers-by to give our presence some kind of consideration.

We had an “artists statement” in the window along with a sign ‘PLEASE COME IN’, as a way of communicating to the passer-by who needed to know what kind of commitment was involved or required in entering the space, what transactions were expected, what was the purpose, how would they benefit? I’m not sure I saw anyone read the statement when it was posted in the front window.

During the early morning of Wednesday the “artists statement” was placed on a music stand illuminated by a reading light on the street at the front of the building while a performance was underway around it. As the day brightened, the sign was brought back inside. I don’t recall if the light was switched off. However, the whole sign including light found its way back onto the street early afternoon and I began to notice people pausing to read the statement. Throughout the day more people entered the space than had done previously. The music stand-statement-light object suddenly seemed extremely important and useful in communicating some basic ideas, a story, an introductory gesture, seemingly putting people at ease in knowing what to expect inside and welcoming the curious.

Even if that visitor’s expectation was now “oh, that’s some kind of art thing, so we know now that we can behave in in a manner that we have behaved in our previous experiences with art events, or in ways that those art events have allowed/encouraged us to behave”, now at least there is an offering, to begin with, that says; what happens in this space can be taken up as a journey of experiencing an “art performance”.

THANKYOU CARMEN for a special experience, and to Leo and Marie at Conduit, sadly closing. Ren.

photo Elnaz Sheshgelani


“As artists, we have our respective processes to help prepare for performance. Whether we perform in an enclosed space, a public one or outdoors, and whether we perform with instruments, tools or just movements, something particular is required from us to transition from non-performer to performer and back again. Sometimes the brain takes on the role of

a performer longer than necessary and leaves the performer/common person confused – until we are brought back to the non-performers space.

Our intention is for the residency to be both a private and public event – as well as neither one nor the other – exploring our everyday lives between the non-performer and the performing artist. When does one become one and not the other? What is the difference between the ordinary being and the performative being?

We would like to create a conversational space within and about the performance space and attempt to articulate, through selected media, the shift of energy that is an integral part of the processes of our respective practices.

Other ancillary themes we would like to explore during the residency include the relational link between us and the hosts at Conduit Arts (guest artists may also be involved); the perception that such relationships seem to be subservient to the “work”; and what happens between the happening of, and the mindset during, the performance.”

For CARMEN'S response click here. Carmen's website -

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