CIVIC - A COWBOY IN TOMORROWLAND: THE CITY AS THEME PARK
CONSIDERING THE CITY, ARCHITECTURE, ART AND THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
PROJECT DATES: FEBRUARY 2014 - PRESENT
EXHIBITION: MISSION GALLERY, SWANSEA, 12th APRIL - 2nd JUNE 2014
Note from Bella kerr, curator of CIVIC:
CIVIC is intended as an interrogation of the city, an invitation to propose architectural and other interventions for a number of sites across Swansea; a process of observation and speculation to create an imaginative, discursive and creative space within the gallery.
As part of CIVIC, Jason & Becky collaborated with architect Niall Maxwell on A Cowboy in Tomorrowland: The City as Theme Park, exhibited in the Mission Gallery for the duration of the show. This took on the form of a series of drawings and tweets exchanged between the collaborators, resulting in Niall's interpretation of a city he was unfamiliar with, described by Jason & Becky via the medium of Twitter, with each description limited to only 160 characters each. Niall's drawings were exhibited alongside Jason & Becky's tweets, which were attached to a drawing / collage of an aerial view of Swansea, exploring the concept of The City as Theme Park. They also wrote a collaborative paper on the same idea, which can be viewed here.
During their feature week as part of CIVIC, Jason & Becky ran a series of nightly sound-walks, inviting participants to re-experience a familiar environment and re-imagine the existing architecture, getting lost through sound in a city of adventure and intrigue.
5 groups of 8 participants experienced the nightly walks, which were facilitated through the use of wireless headphones and a radio-transmitting device in a backpack. The walks began in Travelodge Swansea, with each participant being instructed to 'Go to room 502' by a member of staff from Mission Gallery who stood outside the Hotel - letting one person in every 2 minutes. They then made their way up to the room where they were handed a series of instructions. The room was set-up to convey the atmosphere of surveillance activity, with private-detective-style photographs of the same person - captured in various locations in the city - strewn across the bed and table, hand-held radios emitting random transmissions, a 1940's tape recorder and a laptop displaying audio signals. The sheet of instructions participants were handed before entering the room told them to go into the bathroom and choose one of the items on the shelf to take with them on the walk. When all 8 participants had arrived and chosen something, Jason & Becky entered the room, gave all participants a set of headphones, and the 45 minute walk around the city began.