Just when you thought you knew where you were going! Occupation: Artist invited pedestrians to detour through a maze-like installation of colourful traffic cones as part of Park(ing) Day, 2019.
OCCUPATION: Artist developed the project after noticing an increased frequency of random roadway sections blocked or narrowed by bright orange traffic cones. Detours are a part of life, and the cones a ubiquitous feature of travel, an indication of our aging infrastructure and part of the challenges of regular road safety maintenance. We complain bitterly when our lives are disrupted by detours; we object to our path forward being blocked; we groan when we calculate the delays incurred by detours and we fight road rage when detours redirect our movements in ways we can’t predict.
Determined to extend audience interaction further than the usual conversations, pedestrians were detoured through changing arrangements of the cones across two parking spaces. Unfortunately the weather was un-co-operative, with a 4-hour deluge overflowing gutters seeing our ‘audience’ hurry past hunched against the elements, stopping only to swiftly snap selfies.
With our project ‘detoured’, simple fun with 160 traffic cones became the new agenda. Under grey skies and against bracing winds, O: A members orchestrated a lively performance, dragging cones this way and that, positioning these obstructions to block the way, and creating patterns, mazes and sculptures.
Compounding the experience of working long hours in all weather, the physical effort involved in lifting and moving these unexpectedly heavy and slippery items, offered a new perspective on the demands made of road workers.
So why do we hate being redirected by a detour?
We’re bombarded with the latest medical recommendations telling us to slow down, well-being gurus encourage us to stop and smell the roses and well-intentioned social media posts suggest we take the road less travelled. In down-town Wellington, Detour! challenged us to reconsider whether or not we should blindly follow our smartphone’s directions to reach our destination, and while it’s annoying when our best-laid plans are blocked or our movements are controlled by others, maybe, just maybe, we should welcome the occasional detour and see where it takes us.
OCCUPATION: Artist was awarded the Judges Prize by sponsors, Wellington Sculpture Trust.