If you were passed a camera and asked to take one Polaroid of an object that
personifies who you are...what would it be... Experimental art installation
project Object Relations, has been asking Richmond residents this very
question as ten Polaroid cameras have stealthily trickled throughout the
veins of the borough.
For the past two months, each of these cameras has followed their own
destiny passing from person to person throughout the community. The images
range from the curious to the familiar, each photograph in its own way
intriguing as it offers a surreptitious glimpse into the lives of our
The project began as an expression of community, as a way of illustrating
the invisible threads that link each of us to each other, says project
developer Julia Ruppert. We also wanted to create an art piece that would
provide an opportunity for personal expression regardless of creative
talent; something that could be open to everyone.
As an experimental piece the project has not been without its pitfalls,
largely brought on by the organisers' desire to have the cameras pass freely
and unfettered by outside controls.
In organizing this project we really put our community in the line of
fire, says Ruppert. Someone hands you a £50 camera, asks you to take a
picture and pass it on. No one knows you have the camera ...what do you do?
They're nice cameras…
Six hundred shots of film were made available for the project. However, to
exhaust the supply would have required each camera passing once every 24
hours for a two month time frame.
We realised this was an unrealistic expectation...people are busy, adds
Ruppert, but we had to provide some kind of guideline to keep the cameras
moving and not sitting around on someone’s desk for four weeks.
As it stands, the exhibition involves over 150 photographs and an amusing
commentary of how the experimental process unfolded. The images are a random
sample, as representative as any of a London Borough and offering a taste of
contemporary community in all its unique, individual and quirky glory.
Object Relations is the most recent in a series of community art
installation pieces organised by Collective Arts. Last year's project, the
Community Portrait, involved artwork by over 1,800 residents of Richmond
Borough and later went on to exhibition at the Museum of London.
Object Relations opens at Orleans House Gallery Stables, Riverside,
Twickenham, on 17th May and runs until 10th June, 2001. The event has been
made possible by grants from Awards for All, the LBRuT Small Grants
Programme and Hampton Fuel Allotment Charity. Admission is free.