Would you trust a total stranger? Would you help a stranger in return? Would you enter an artwork designed to test our fears of dark, unstable spaces and our limits of trust?
Hold examines the fluid divide between our experience of pleasure and fear by juxtaposing the visual and sensory languages of minimalism, pop and the body with that of children’s recreational structures. Consisting of a 25 meter by 8 meter purpose built inflatable structure the work is part bodily ordeal, part children’s playhouse that draws the audience into a dynamic relationship between play, interaction and phobic space. In interrogating the art/entertainment divide, Hold turns from sculpture to performance to spectacle as it considers a number of issues to do with architectural space, performance art, participation and aesthetics. Specifically, Hold asks us to consider the nature of trust in the context of current participatory art forms. By limiting the audience’s knowledge of the performer to the act of touching or ‘holding’, the work questions whether trust can be established without a clear understanding of the identity of the performer. To this end the work seeks to explore the relationship between current participatory art practice, with its focus on exchange and the individual agency of the audience member, and the more assertive and often agitational methods of performance art.