For Christmas I received a light box and set of letters. Statements or words, placed randomly or intentionally, can have surprising effects – from graffiti to art installations. I encountered Nathan Coley’s work ‘There will be no miracles here’ on New Year’s Eve 2016 and wrote about my response here.
I decided to place a kind of Christmas greeting in the front window of our house (which fronts on to the main drag here in Berwick-upon-Tweed and has become a de facto community noticeboard). And then I began to wonder what might happen if I put different statements up over a period of time? What responses might the statements (they have to be statements as there’s no question mark in the pack) elicit from passers-by?
My aim is to change the statements every week or so. Here are January’s words in my window:
And here’s the gen on responses so far:
I also used GLAD/TIDINGS/HERE & NOW as my post-Christmas pre-New Year greeting on this blog and Instagram and got thumbs up all round.
WHAT/LIES/AHEAD prompted one Facebook friend to respond: ‘Some from Trump, some from our politicians. Lots from the Daily Mail.’ Its placement (31st December) was quickly followed by the smashing of a lower window pane in the early hours of New Year’s Day – was there a connection?
NO REST/THEY/SAY perplexed some friends. Was it a biblical reference in response to the smashed window pane? Were they supposed to slip a word of encouragement through our letterbox?
I don’t really want to give guidance on what the statements mean. I’m not sure they mean anything other than what the viewer thinks they mean. Although some of the ambiguity is contrived by my choices, I am sure other ambiguities will derive from others’ interpretations.
Whatever the known and unknown responses of those who see these statements, I am enjoying placing them there. And, perhaps inevitably, I now find myself thinking about what the next words might be in a more purposeful and conscious way.