homing (2011)

Iteration:Again. Curated by David Cross and produced by Contemporary Art Tasmania

⬿ Selected Works

Iteration:Again, was a series of 13 public art commissions by twenty- two Australian and international artists that took place across Tasmania over a month between September  – October  2011. Aiming to transform the experience of place for a moment in time, each commission performed temporary interventions or responses to public sites, environments and buildings, re-working an artwork over the course of a specified period of time.

Iteration:again was produced by Contemporary Art Tasmania in collaboration with curatorial director David Cross.

Extract from Iteration:Again publication

Taking the complex permutations of our attachment to place as her starting point, Lucy Bleach’s homing investigated four distinct thematic threads around spatial longing and attachment, all of which were played out in a small laneway off Criterion Street in central Hobart.

Beginning with a dawn performance where a modest neon sign of a pigeon was illuminated in the laneway the artist then had a set of concrete steps deposited in the middle of the laneway just as the sun was coming up. Following in quick succession, another truck delivered a recycled clothing bin on top of the concrete plinth. A slightly peculiar, yet still highly functional, sculptural form took shape in the middle of the laneway and for the rest of that week the bin was an unmarked and quietly iconic fixture of the site.

The sophomore week began when the unusual pop-up charity depository was opened to reveal a full bounty of donated clothing. The material was then put to use in a craft workshop set up in the Save The Children shop next door run by expert seamstresses and Bleach herself for recently arrived immigrant women. Together they worked on making colourful segments of fabric that expanded in the shop window over the course of the week. During this time the concrete steps were bare until at the end of the second week its purpose was again reconfigured. At dawn in the beginning of the third week a powerful and unaccompanied voice fills the empty streets of the CBD with a yearning lament.

The performer proceeds to sing two songs of lament in English and Spanish standing atop the steps. She is wearing a cloak decorated with a piece of the hanging fabric and the sound echoing through the surrounding streets is extraordinary. Each day for that week she proceeds to perform two laments one of which is always ‘Llorando’ the cloak growing in colour over this time. The week concludes with the performer and with a large trailing audience finally shedding the cloak at the end of a shopping arcade a short walk from the steps. The next morning the steps have gone.

The final week begins with the laneway at first seemingly empty though over the course of a few days black and white bill posters appear of birds. These pictures are on closer inspection all pigeons and true to the reproductive power of the species more and more keep appearing in the laneway as the week and the work itself draws to a close. On the final day an object almost the size of the steps appears on the same spot. It is a trailer with many small compartments each with a number. This curious object sits unattended across the day until at dusk a crowd begins to form and the artist herself appears. With the help of another she opens the trailer doors and releases hundreds of pigeons into the sky, a brief visual cacophony of flapping wings and dodging spectators. In a moment they collectively arc for the sky and make for home.

—David Cross, Curatorial Director