Yes it is just the beginning of this work for me.
It grew from a project about Icons and fame, it has developed legs and arms and is now flying!
So what’s it all about?
It is about freedom and how politics affects that human right, and more.
It’s about how we take our freedom for granted
Its about how politicians make decisions which affect our freedom
Its about how people have challenged the politics to demand freedom
Its about human rights and what people are prepared to do for freedom.
What is freedom to you? and how does politics affect that for you?
The project made me think about these issues.
I don’t know why I hadn’t really thought about it properly before. I watch the news but more and more I am feeling that they are just telling us what they think we need to hear, for whatever reason. Maybe I am getting cynical these days?! Do we ever really get the truth, surely everything is affected and coloured by who Evers reporting its perception of events, that would be impossible not to happen. Is there any such thing as unbiased news? I think thats for another day….
I worked through my design process for this brief over many weeks. I quite quickly realised there was a huge political statement to be made.
The work I have done has two elements really, the installation itself and the hand in of the work. Which I understand had to include an artefact as part of the completed work. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what this meant at first!
(I cover this in the next blog post.)
SO lets talk about the installation first…..
My installation achieves two main criteria, it engages the viewer by getting them involved and makes them think about and consider the subject. My hope is that it will be thought provoking and eye opening, if it makes them be a little kinder for a few hours or even days then that is an achievement I am happy about.
It is based around a polling booth scenario.
Why? Well, it’s a classic situation where our powers of freedom are expressed.
Everyone knows what the polling booth is about and it has a strong political message. This is my polling booth. (see right)
It has a classic design with a curtain for privacy when experiencing what the booth has to offer. On the outside of the booth is a burnt on stencil of all the Acts of Reform which show all the ways in which our voting rights have been amended over the years.
I chose this to highlight how many reforms there have been, these reforms have not always been for the good of the people, the first reform after the WWI was to enable more voters to vote.
It changed the law so women over 30 who had a home, and all men over 21 could vote which increased voter numbers by thousands just before the election. (previously it had been men who had been in the country for a year, but with so many away at war this reduced voter numbers)
Now the cynical among you will feel that this was not for the rights of the people but for the ‘rights’ of the politicians…I believe this is a fair comment.
What happens in my poling booth?
In you go and as you step inside the curtained
booth you trigger a movement activated audio to play sounds of war and destruction.
You can listen to that yourself here.
As you stand in front of my booth you hear the sounds of war, horrific sounds of destruction and fear.
Then you look around you, plastered on the walls of the booth are images of political headline moments and iconic freedom fighters.
These images are shocking.
Then you see the ballot paper.
It has questions on about freedom and how you feel about it. I want you to think and write on the ballot paper with the pencil supplied.
How do you feel about your freedom?
What is freedom to you?
What would you sacrifice for freedom?
How has political decisions affected your freedom?
Is there any such thing as freedom?
Then the voter would take the ballot paper to the ballot box and post it into the hole.
My Ballot Box is in it’s own booth away from the voting booth.
The reason for this is that I don’t want any spoilers to affect what happens in the voting booth.
When the ballot paper is put into the slot this triggers a shredder which shreds the ballot paper.
This should be unexpected and shocking, it may even make the voter angry.
And this is exactly what I have in mind. I want the voter to think …’what the…?!’ and this serves to negate the feeling of power and control the voter previously had about the decisions they had just made about The Politics of Freedom.
I want to highlight the feelings of powerlessness and futility of the political vote and highlight how people have made great sacrifices to get changes made to our rights, but not by voting, by demonstration and acts of protest.
And that is The Politics of Freedom.