The work is a proposal; to act as a portal, a place where floating across borders is permitted and encouraged. The installation would be a camera and screen, positioned on roundabouts in both Bondi and Kandahar. The camera and screen allow the viewer to simultaneously see ‘the other’ and be viewed. The participants choose how they respond – this could be passively, by seeing, or by choosing actions that build communication and rapport between these municipalities. Collaboration between Bondi and Kandahar municipal authorities is necessary to implement this work.
The concept and device generate multiple opportunities for interventions: through setting up flexible universal devices that act as pathways, allowing permeable conditions without predetermined outcomes, perhaps a kind of transport out of ideological entrenchment and apathy, transitions might occur for new configurations of society.
The artwork intends to establish a kind of fluid border, a membrane or portal through which we are allowed to pass through and observe another’s city, culture, people; to connect with the ‘other’. Membranes act as kinds of translation vehicles, as mechanisms for transition, for transformation; access or portals or interventions. Scientist Martin Vlaar’s points of permeability, transport and transition paths suggest an interesting framework for investigations around globally shifting spaces, transitions and border collisions. Through setting up flexible universal devices that act as pathways, allowing permeable conditions without predetermined outcomes, we might transport ourselves out of apathy and transition into new forms and configurations. Permeability, transport and transition paths can perhaps be identified in the global transitions and ‘the Protester’ of the last few months. “In Tunisia, says Lina Ben Mhenni, ‘We didn’t complete the revolution. We got rid of the dictator. Maybe the mistake that we made was that most of us rejected the idea of entering political life’… Absent dictatorships to overthrow, idealistic purity can carry a high political price, and if you leave the dull but essential business of governing to the squares and grownups, you lose’” (Time Magazine, ‘The Protester’, 14 December 2011, Kurt Andersen). Perhaps by using “non-places” (Marc Auge) we could create membraneous thin places for exchange. The roundabout, used in the work, is one of these “non-places”, wasted ‘dead’ space regulating traffic flow; what if this space could become a membraneous thin place of exchange, a portal? Using “non-places” and technology as a portal or membrane, the work aspires to assist thinking about redefining and transforming boundaries, which might shift culture and attitudes.
The voice of the people and the power of the multitudes is increasing across the world. Seeds are being sown, connections and threads are growing that reveal a larger, globally breathing organism. This lifeform presents fascinating stories and undercurrents of this global organism that is in crisis and renewal. The challenge is to unearth these roots that form a connectedness, develop a vehicle to enable the language of this time; we need to find its form, give it breath and a voice. What could the people of Bondi and Kandahar create – what form, breath, voice?