A public action…..
Rabbits and Numbats at the MPavilion
Taking Shaun Tan and David Marsden’s book, The Rabbits, and the artist collective MMMM’s public art performance in the city last year as inspiration, we asked can rabbits and numbats be coerced into cohabiting the same ideological political and or social space?
I guess you don’t know you are in the midst of a public art performance if you are lying on a sweet smelling grassy knoll on a summers day in the Queen Victoria Gardens. Enjoying your afternoon break, laying back and allowing the sun to smile all over your body. Not far away a public structure, also known as a pavilion houses an audience of sorts listening (half listening) to a group of speakers. Smatterings of the dialogue drift over you along with the Plane Tree fibres as the wind picks up, you drift off.
You are part of the pavilion audience – unexpectedly you are asked, or told, to put a stamp on your hand as you enter – you have an ’N’ – but your friend seems to have an ‘R’ – You are guessing at this stage that there is some sort of system of recognition that seems weird if this is a free event and moreover it doesn’t even have a door.
You leave this thought as the panel starts to rally and the discussion begins. From the start, this starts to look like a public performance panel – the moderators flick large sheets of paper with words like ‘RISK’ REFRAIN’ INVISIBILITY’ – the panel is asked for a response and seemed to have been caught off guard and decide carefully their answers. Seven sins of public art – the contributors breathe a sigh of relief and we are then told to gather on the two small beautifully rounded hillocks on the northern side of the Pavilion. To enjoy this you need to let loose and forget your traditional idea of a ‘panel discussion’ there seems to be no direction –
All at once you awake from your warm deep sleep by a megaphone – a voice bellowing instructions and you wonder if you are in a disaster area – looking around – you find 30 people standing over you on your hillock- how dare they. Acres of parkland and they have to stand right here? You gather your senses and blink to find you are in the middle of some sort of demonstration or is it a riot? You quickly gather your things and high tail it off your grassy mound.