by Oliver Palmer
Drawing upon a protest aesthetic (cobbled-together cardboard, tape) these objects re-function Minimalist-like forms for the purpose of making small interventions into the urban visual field. Utilising simple, fold-able, portable forms that apparently ‘buttress’ the walls of banks and empty retail units (a patently absurd thing for cardboard structures to attempt), they are both ambiguous and humorous. Passively, they occupy small bits of the city where public paths and private buildings meet – and whilst being firmly stuck down with gaffer tape (the bodge-jobbers temporary fixer-upper of choice!) they are clear in their impermanence.
The intermingling of humorous impermanence with mild violations of private property – as well as the intermingling of a protest aesthetic with unusually re-purposed fine art forms – gives the pieces an ambiguity that could point to a form of individual protest that might fall under the radar of (some) authorities. They are interventions into the visual fabric of the city rather than physical obstructions to its running. If they disturb its functioning then it is as an interruption, a discontinuity in the semantic field of the city.
Ultimately, these temporary interventions could be seen as nothing more than an irritant to those whose job it is to tidy them away. But they can still – as an interruption – act as a small-scale dérive; a disturbance that, if repeated, could, on a local level at least, infiltrate the psyche of their regular passers-by.
Oliver Palmer has recently finished studying an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Images in order of appearance; Red Tory – Blue Labour, 2011, cardboard, vinyl tape, gaffer tape, newspaper, buildings of questionable worth; In This Together, 2012, cardboard, gaffer tape, boarded-up retail unit; Untitled, 2011, vinyl tape, road markings.
This work was submitted by Oliver Palmer on 17 March 2014.