Banalities of the Perfect Home

Written on 21 May 2007

SLOT is an exhibition space that measures 2.35M high x 4.5M wide x 1M deep. It may sound a bit tight, but considering it’s slotted into a window, one should not compare it with a typical gallery. SLOT is located in the street level window of 38 Botany Road, Alexandria in Sydney. Like similar art spaces that face the street, SLOT blurs the boundary between the gallery and the street – artworks become public artworks. Art then becomes accessible for pedestrians, and more importantly, brought closer to people who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it.

In a very down-to-earth kind of way, SLOT’s website further elaborates on its location, mentioning that it is nestled between a laundrette and a Thai restaurant. Quite a nice Thai place I might add. I went there tonight to grab some takeaway and noticed the complete facade of the adjoining building had been covered by large white text highly contrasted by black background. This was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. For a fleeting moment I thought that what I’m seeing is a construction site concealed by a decorated hoarding. But that didn’t really make much sense. Quite quickly, I came to the realisation that this had something to do with SLOT.

Read about this installation

For a space that measures only 2.35M high x 4.5M wide x 1M deep, this installation by Ruark Lewis is quite an undertaking. “The process of articulating and translating words in our environment–building meaning and rendering association–is something we do everyday subconsciously”. In Banalities of the Perfect Home Lewis encourages us to be aware of and question our immediate surroundings.

Unexpected ‘surprises’, such as this one, that appear in public urban spaces carry an important social value. They engage people in an untypical way, add vitality to our streets and enhance people’s everyday experiences.

Banalities of the Perfect Home on display until 2 June 2007

What others think:

  1. MDR says:

    Jonathan, I saw this on one of my morning walks into new territory. It momentarily stopped me in my tracks aslo as it took a few ticks to work it out. I didn’t stay long as i was underdressed and freezing.

    17 July 2007

  2. Ruark Lewis says:

    Many thanks for your interest in this installation – initially this facade installation was part of a performance at The Performance Space on Cleveland Street. Gina & Tony asked me to do a window at Slot – but I thought I owed the people of Redfern this work – by boarding up the 4.3 × 7.0m facade of the building with a people’s poem. The idea generated out from the concepts of the plan to undertake urban renewal – by The Redfern Waterloo Authority. It’s a plan masterminded by Frank Sartor and it’s jeopardising the future of public housing in the area. This will force inner-city communities like Redfern/Waterloo and Millers Point in The Rocks to think hard about their survival in the coming decades. How will fragile and under resourced communities like this have the confidence to resist that thing called gentrification? These urban locations have historic and genuinely cosmopolitan communities living there. I feel that these communities created the heritage precincts not just the inert buildings and streetscapes. These are traditional communities who have been there for the past 2oo years. Communities too are worth preserving as a kind of living heritage. So after Melbourne composer Rainer Linz and I created the “Banalities for the Perfect House”, in the old theatre space on Cleveland Street – the opportunity to expand this central poetic form out from the theatre sets and place it in the main street of Redfern was like a dream. I must thank the owners of that building for their commitment to contemporary art and their natural sense of social obligation – as their street windows were blocked out for the duration of that 5 week installation – tre’ kewl & many thanks
    in solidarity

    6 September 2008

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