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Search lights installed for one night in a park behind Trocadero Gallery, Footscray, Melbourne.


What the invite said:

Amy Marjoram
Trocadero Gallery, Footscray.


Two searchlights, for a single night, circle the dark sky at Trocadero gallery in Footscray. This work responds cheekily to the Objects in Space program title, using an object to produce a non-object that's searching for something that isn't there.

A play between spectacle and discretion, it is in a sense spectacularly unspectacular as simply two-flood lights silently re-enacting gimmicky suburban rug sale promotions. Yet it is robust as an art work seeking expanded terrain, that can hit the clouds and be easily visible kilometres away.

Referencing and toying with the concept of proximity, the installation is timed from 7pm-midnight on the 15th May, to partially coincide with the official launch of the Next Wave Festival at Federation Square. With the Trocadero gallery closed, the work acts as a tenuously connected promotion at an empty outpost- invisible from the main celebration.

You are warmly invited to seek out this work, optimum viewing is achieved some distance away from the gallery and is left in your hands to ascertain.


What happened:


My searchlights arrived in a van and where set up in the park behind Trocadero. The park is really just a square of grass and trees frequented by junkies although the council has put in some new benches and lights for the trees at night. I’d chosen a very standard light unit that made random sweeps and there was some good cloud cover so the lights could be seen really clearly from kilometres away ( I got text message reports they could be seen slightly from Fitzroy). I was shocked that up close they looked bright blue, but later in the night when we drove away the lights looked white like I had expected.

It cost me two thousand dollars to have these lights going for five hours and with an artists fee of one hundred and fifty dollars I was solidly nervous about if the lights would look right when they were turned on.  But they looked great and searched really hard for nothing. During the month before I had been trying to save the money so I’d been budgeting like hell. This caused me to think about why I wanted these lights to happen so badly.

I think at the heart of the reason was the fact that when I was a kid these lights were quite big for promotions in the suburbs. Whenever I saw them if we were out in the car at night I would desperately want to go and see what they were for but my mum would always say they were far away and would just be for a rug sale or something like that. I think this work was in some skewed way an act of parental defiance twenty years too late. I was going to see the lights up close and they wouldn’t be for a rug sale they would be for conceptual art.


Exhibited in Objects in Space, Trocadero Gallery (one night exhibition as part of the Objects in Space program, Next Wave 2008)