Show off 1993
Each year, Malmö City stages a two weeks outdoor culture festival. In 1996, I was invited to participate with a temporary outdoor sculpture, wich was to be added to a street corner of Södra Förstadsgatan.
This was the corner of a short street in between one of the most central merchant streets in the city, and an anonymous crossing. There was a post office, a tobacconist, a furniture upholsterer and an ice cream manufacturer, located in the building just beside the corner.
I chose not to add a work of art to the corner, but rather to add my own activity as a practising artist, during the entity of the exhibition.
Photo: Cai Ulrich von Platen
I moved in on the corner with a container and a tap of cold water . During the two weeks of the festival, I sat here, performing the exact same sequence of actions every day, mimicing the every daay work being done in the offices and workplaces around me.
From 9 am and noon, I produced a series plastic bags, filled with water. At noon, I opened my lunch box, surrounded by the heap of waterbags produced. From 1 pm to 2 pm I layed out the plastic bags of the day, in large improvised formations directly on the pavement. Then I photographed the formation of the day and walked 500 meters to the nearest printshop, to print an enlarged photo of todays formation. At four I moved all plastic bags into the container. In this way, the container gradually became filled up with bags of water along with the documentation of the temporary shapes.
The repeated and non sensical act every day provoced conversations with passers by, airing their doubt about what is art, concerns about the waste of perfectly clean water or issues of how this street corner actually could have been square of sorts.
At the end of each day the container was sealed off with doors of acrylic glass. During the evening and night-time, there was light inside it, like any shop window around me.
On the last day of the festival, the container was emptied. All plastic bags containing a total of 3,000 litres of water, were placed on the pavement in the middle of the street. This caused the traffic to a temporary stop, with a long line of cars were waiting. Almost ritually I went from bag to bag to puncture them. The water leaking out formed a temporary lake. For about 20 minutes, the very character of this otherwise so anonymous street corner of Malmö was quite decisively altered.