[73 project]

london, june 2000

by Ant Hampton and Sam Britton

commissioned by the Stoke Newington Festival

"mixed media": rubber on asphalt, 200Xglass bottles, saline solution, 40Xcycle-mounted sound systems, darkness, 10ton double decker bus, bright white light (5X400w metal halide), smoke, dead girl in a tutu, saturday night.

all photos by martin hampton - SQUINT (click for full rotozaza73 gallery)

Fragments from a note sent to participating cyclists before the event:

We’re doing a large-scale TRANSFORMATION of Church St at night ... above all there will be strong overtones of a FUNERAL PROCESSION ... Although if someone has died, it probably won't be at all clear who it is. And soon enough the question will not be WHO has died, but WHAT? Something is not right... these "processions" are usually confident things with tradition and rhetoric working for them, working for them. But this cavalcade is full of holes, gaps and traffic jams. The tributes keep ending up as confused nonsense. And why are people handing out artificial tears? Have we forgotten how to cry? Or is it the thing that makes us cry that we’ve lost? Is wonder dead and gone? Is that what we’re mourning? ... so if WONDER was to die, gone forever, ["cover her face: mine eyes dazzle: she died young" ], no sons or daughters... what kind of confused ceremony would ever be appropriate? The gaps, silences, scars within the structure of a ritual CLAWED APART in an attempt to find a meaning that is mostly gone with the mourned dead herself. What we’re presenting, then, might be THE DEBRIS OF WHAT’S EXPECTED.

- So, quite a messy job... but we know what the people want. They want to be MOVED... to tears! This shouldn’t be ignored... especially if the people are prepared to be deceived. So, more questions: when is a funeral a spectacle? And when is it a mistake? [....] this "communal grief" phenomenon surrounding the death of popular public figures [....], how in the midst of thousands of fellow humans all happily deceiving themselves in order to have A GOOD CRY, it’s hard to retain tears. But in this case, what are you crying for?

... Maybe because of what a beautiful deception it is. It follows our tendency to build an image world over the real one, whenever "reality" becomes too much to bear... only in moments of massive, collective and voluntary self-deception can we still believe in this fabricated world of ours which we've come to regard as our only salvation, other than death. Look, everyone’s crying, so it must be a good show.

In the real world, this usually creates a dangerous social climate where bad ideas and authoritarian solutions can be "ushered in on a wave of tears". [is that why the police turned up?] OK, so accepting the rather heavy-handed artifice for a moment, let’s just say that we're setting all this up in order to try and coax in some so-called "authoritarian solution", on a radical, extreme scale, to deal with the LACK OF WONDER - WHAT WILL "THEY" DO WITHOUT HER?!

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