What’s in a life?

Public art

A 6-week after-hours course at Tate Modern called ‘What’s in a space?’ presented an opportunity to devise a participative work with classmates Joanne Payne and Susannah Sheppard.  We called it What’s in a life?

Throughout our lives social convention has prescribed standard markers – birth, bar mitzvah, graduation, sexual prime, cultural awakening, loss, death.  But in reality it is a different type of significance which signposts our own journeys – that first sight of a white guitar which precipitated a musical obsession, the first blow of failure which taught us fear………

A fragile strand of unraveled wool was placed on the Turbine Hall floor to represent a time continuum.  We invited the audience to reflect on their own significant timeline markers – the moments which revealed genuinely new perspectives.   What’s in a life was an invitation to participate in sharing these significant punctuations in our lives.  At its simplest this sharing was just visual, silent.  We placed personal possessions on the timeline to mark those moments.   Some shared their stories with the audience after placing their markers.  There was no compulsion to divulge personal moments of triumph, or pain.  The artists led this participative work and others followed

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