(concept for installation inside a squash court, november 2008)

D s nformat on

THE SQUASH COURT is presented as a unique site of aesthetic and political engagement for a critical sport art work. Not only does this site of sport resemble a traditional art gallery space with its sparse orthogonal shape and stark white walls, but it also belongs to a political genealogy that dates back to the earliest days of the Manhattan Project.

D S NFORMAT ON interrogates this nuclear genesis with an installation whose elements explore themes of body, surveillance, spatiotemporality, race and representation. The artwork is on display outside the privileged space of the gallery or museum, while the privileged activity of binary sporting competition is challenged by the recoded use of this space.

Squash Court

AS ONE ENTERS THE ROOM a surround-sound system plays poetry written and spoken by Etan Thomas, slowed down to 40 percent of its original speed to create a densely-laden atmosphere. The irregular muted echoes of squash balls striking the walls of surrounding courts offer punctuation points to the low drone inside the room.

ON THE TWO SIDE WALLS are two series of pictures, hung alternately from one series to the other. The first series, taken from Creative Commons-licensed work on Flickr, represents moving bodies as they negotiate various types of waveforms in public space, such as the street skater who fluidly contours the urban architectural field. The second represents similar imagery, but which has been leveraged as part of the spectacle industry. The images are all the same size and mounted in identical silver frames with white matting. They are spaced as if the wall was the x-axis of time and the two series formed the intersection points of cosine and sine waves, respectively.

ON THE FRONT WALL is a third series of pictures, this one representing instances of the linear as they may be found in the varied landscapes of sport, such as the chalk line of the baseball path or the running lanes of a sprinting track. They are irregularly-sized and mounted in frames of assorted shapes and colours. They appear to proliferate from both above and below the service boundary at the centre of the front wall: line, sine, cosine.

ON THE BACK WALL, mounted over the entrance, is a surveillance camera that looks directly toward the centre of the court.

THE CENTRE OF THE COURT, where the short line dividing frontcourt and backcourt intersects with the line dividing service areas, is the position of power in squash. At this point stands a regulation ten-foot basketball net whose stanchion and backboard are painted white to match the walls of the court. The rim is freshly painted orange. From the rim hangs a full body suit of skin, similar to a wetsuit, fashioned from some type of Hollywood f/x latex. The skin has a pair of long basketball shorts and wristbands sewn onto the appropriate points of the body, and is inscribed all over its surface with a number of tattoos. It hangs from the rim by large hooks whose points pierce through its stretched back, not unlike as if Stelarc had been a basketball player.


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