Stair/Slide/Space talk about their exhibition

Stair/Slide/Space are currently exhibiting in the phone boxes with their exhibition ‘The will of another cannot fulfil everything. Splendour isn’t slick.’ Here they talk about some of the ideas and themes behind the exhibition which will be constantly evolving until 7th January 2016.

What do two empty phone boxes mean in their landscape?

As the first artists involved with the newly opened K6 Gallery we were curious to find out who its audience might be. Who would we be making work for and who shares their space daily with these iconic structures? What memories and opinions do they evoke?

Is a phone box a shelter? A space for child’s play? A meeting place, a tourist photo opportunity, a toilet or space for privacy?

Along the way we’ve chatted in pubs, car parks, our homes, art galleries, under arches and on streets. Brief immersion in the area has allowed conversations about phone boxes to blur with discussion on the social dynamics of the place. Like an intricate noticeboard, we wallpaper paste snippets of these conversations onto and inside the phone boxes. We carefully choose the sentiments to share, whilst removing them from their original context. We haven’t aimed to present conclusions through this work, the sentences remain anonymous and often ambiguous, hopefully provoking reflection and curiosity.

How do people envision the phone boxes being used? How will turning them into an art gallery change their meaning, change how they’re already used, or how people experience the place? Is it important to be sensitive to what they were? What does the audience expect of artists?

As artists we began to question what our art does and what our responsibilities are in putting work in the public realm. We’ve embraced the lack of control that inevitably comes with putting art in outdoors spaces- the words belong to the passers-by after all, and any response is valid. We seek to question ideas of hierarchy between artist and audience, and play with preconceptions of the passivity of viewing artwork. We encourage responses and reactions to the statements, with a few interactions added to the phone boxes already we see this as an ongoing visual conversation to which anyone can add to. A scratch is enough.

The project is in constant progression until January, we will chat more and add more phrases to the phone boxes throughout this time. We hope to be able to speak to anyone passing by and our next day spent at the site will be Sunday 22nd November.

Photo credit: Gregor Hannah

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