• Virginia Kennard

The danger of the walk-by

The walk-by with Kirst The not-really- sure-what- to-do first The safe playful ‘in’ provided by the Trust Power pink circles The quiet emptiness of the containers not yet activated by an audience The return of the cool Wellington wind The nooks and crannies full of Arcade crew that you wonder if you can ever sneak into The mistaking Lynn’s green room for an art container The meandering jogging cycling commuting touristing lunching grimacing wondering general public and me The dynamics of pre-organised tour groups: school kids big kids adults? The waiting in anticipation for Lynn to dive in The croaking cries of seagulls

The danger of the walk-by. It is my 3 rd day at Arcade and I’ve yet to ‘properly’ enter a container. What does that even mean? I’ve been into a lot so far, and a friend from Brisbane accompanied me down on the way to a lunch and had a spare 10 minutes so we did a dash in and out. Well, she lingered in some she liked a lot, despite insisting on “just having a look”. You can’t just have a look, but you can limit your ‘involvement’. I read some stories of misogyny. I wished the video game where I could throw bibles was working. I promised to come back for some red nail painting (and then never did). I talked about some stuff to my friend. We jumped on pink circles and generated some tunes. But for me to ‘properly’ engage I wanted to spend some time, a good amount of time, in the containers, figuring out what was going on, being awkward, looking at things for too long. I hadn’t brought an object AGAIN. I didn’t know what Jennifer was up to with the objects, and in fact I thought it was a totally different container. I didn’t get that container that I thought it was and I feel bad I didn’t go back to find out/try to understand. But it was an awkward container. It felt too open and every time I walked past I felt a little intimidated, and wished there were more people in there so I could mooch about unobserved. As if I could ever be scared of an artwork! Urgh. But the walk-by is dangerous. Unsatisfying but an excuse in a sense. I never made it back for a good mooch about the whole container series. I talked to people I knew instead. I swanned about sometimes, re-confirming this was my ‘turf’. I sat and listened to music because it was safe and easy. I ate some fries because i never have enough food on my person. But is the walk-by dangerous? Am I regretting the things I didn’t do…which I always promise myself I won’t do, only regretting the things I do do! Or did I engage ‘properly’ in that I didn’t have the emotional capacity, energy levels, be-bothered- ness to actually sit in container for what I had pre- decided to be the ‘proper’ amount of time? What does that even mean? What is this cognitive dissonance I am allowing myself. Bloody existential crisis. I can’t even look at some cool art without overthinking how much I am looking at cool art, getting cool art, giving it the time it deserves. Maybe it doesn’t deserve the time I gave it! Maybe it wasn’t art for me! Urgh.

I spent over an hour watching Lynn. I watched her get in to her diving suit and her robe and head to the water and lead into the water. I watched her for the full hour, listening to the furies speak for a full hour. Observed her incidental audience. Watched her leave. Because I wanted to. That’s totally allowed. And the fact that I ‘missed’ some of the container series last week, that is allowed to. Phew

I went back with my object on Sunday, I missed soundcheck even, for John Jarboe’s Cabaret. I ended up in the right container, I hung out whilst someone else destructed and restructed their object. I destructed and restructed mine. Definitely not reconstructed. I talked about nostalgia and memory and my desire to hold onto objects, their existence value (outside of memory) and loved Jennifer a lot. I get to pick up my orange cotton plastic mush of art next week. I left behind the scraps of my My Little Pony. Bye bye some aspect of childhood I had forgotten anyway.

I wanted to go back and I engaged with this container art ENOUGH and how I wanted to and therefore was it successful? Am I now a proper audience member or is this all just elitist art-wank.

I get to walk-by again this week. And watch and engage, if I want to. Not because I am meant to, or maybe i am meant to in order to be a good blogger. Urgh. Meh. #sorrynotsorry Sorry to the artists, or to myself?

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