I decided to create an intervention that brings ‘my’ red into the world in some kind of way. initially I started thinking about placing random red balls dotted round public places. This was inspired by Kurt Perschke’s RedBall Project however, later on, I decided that the colour was more important than the shape. It was when I stared thinking about invading a space with large blocks of colour. To experiment with how different finishes would effect a space I got 2 types of card, one was normal red card and one had a shiny, reflective surface.
I went to a park on a busy, sunny day with both types of card and spontaneously slotted a piece of shiny card into the remains of a recently cut down tree. I then found a bench, overlooking the intervention, to keep watch for any reactions.
It took quite a while before anything happened.
It was largely ignored, even when people were looking at the tree stump and commenting on the fact it had been cut down, they made no comment about the A2 piece of red card shining in the bright sunlight. I considered finding a way to kickstart a public reaction to it, by bringing attention to it. I was thinking I might have to go up to it and draw attention to it, although before I decided to do this a girl, who had been sat close by, suddenly went up to it, touching it and eventually pulling the card down.
She went back and showed the card to her friend, possibly questioning it’s reason but I was too far away to eavesdrop. She then decided to put it back in the tree however she wasn’t tall enough to reach the slot in the tree so she decided instead to place it, shiny side up, on the nearby grass. This action definitely changed the perception of the work.
I considered going over and placing it back in the tree however I decided to leave it to see what the public’s reaction would be to it’s new position on the ground. It was out of my control about what happened to the intervention next. Someone could have picked it up and put it in the bin but they didn’t. Instead an teenager picked it up and walked off with it, to another area of the park. Initially he carried it in his hand, kind of folding it, before wrapping it around his bare chest and ‘wearing’ it. I think it is a very ‘teen’ thing to do, to start wearing it. You can’t see an older guy start wearing it.
It became obvious that his intention was to keep the card at which point I decided to introduce myself. It confused him as he was unaware that he had become part of my intervention. He offered to give the card back, which I accepted, as having the card means I have the documented marks of it’s travels during the intervention.
Thoughts about the intervention
It became clear that small children were taking notice of it a lot more than any adults were.
What if it hadn’t been a teenager? Different ages would have done different things. Maybe an older, litter conscious person would have tried to throw it away. Thinking about it I would have let them do that but would have fished it out afterwards.
Are humans attracted to shiny things? I know I am. Is it because they might be precious, like silver or gold?
I couldn’t have planned what happened today. I love the fact that I had no control about what was happening. It is spontaneous, in the moment.
I am going on holiday soon and will be near a beach. I am considering bringing a new piece of card with me and carrying out a similar intervention on the beach… to be continued…