Performance in a Lift

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‘Performance in a lift’ was an art work created for my end of year final exhibition during my Fine Art Foundation course at Wimbledon College of Art 2010. The performances were located in three different lifts in different Art institutions.  The performances took place over three separate school days lasting five hours each from 10am to 3pm. The locations included Wimbledon College of Art, Chelsea College of Art and London College of Communication. The performances involved setting myself up in the lift (which I had specifically selected prior to the performance) with my typewriter, a receipt roll, a video camera, food, a chair and table of which the last two I found on location.

Where the idea came from

I had decided my final project would be about critiquing art institutions. I rushed into choosing this topic as I hadn’t realised that we had to present our project brief to our tutors on the day of our assessment, and the reason I hadn’t decided on a topic was because I felt uncomfortable choosing something way before I had even time to think about what I might like to focus on.

I called it ‘Within the Art School’. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and so I just decided not to think too far ahead and just think about the moment, that day and to pursue any random inspiration. I began stalking students, like what Sophie Calle did in her stalker piece but instead of the person not knowing, I asked them for permission to follow them for as long as I desired. They were very cooperative, some more interesting than others.

I started following and writing in my sketch book everything thing that Ricardo did.  At one point him and some friends took the lift to the ground floor to have a cigarette, so I followed them. On the way back, I was nearing the end of my page and as they left the lift, my time had come to an end, so I stayed there. I found the lift quite an interesting place to hang out. I was now stalking the lift and wrote everything that went on there for about 10 minutes. I had found something to base my project on.

Jamie, my tutor suggested that I stay in the lift for an entire day. I was not too keen on the idea and preferred just spending an hour or two, but he insisted I should go out of my comfort zone and that it would have more value or recognition if I spent the whole day there. So the next Thursday I was in, I spent the entire day in the lift. When I left, I had no desire to spend any more time in lifts in this way. But it excited so many people and they seemed like good material to pursue. I ended up spending two more days in lifts over the next couple of weeks. In LCC and Chelsea College of Art.

A documentation of the performance took place for my end of year exhibition. The three receipt rolls were displayed on a shelf with a large screen nearby. The viewer was then able to scroll through the receipt rolls freely in order to read the text without have direct contact with the rolls. Below is an example of the text on screen.





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