Hidden in Plain Sight [August - December 2021]

August - September 2021

In association with University of Otago, Dunedin School of Art, Dunedin City Council [DCC] and Otago Polytechnic. 
A series of wallpapered billboards + signs were deployed into targeted social spaces around Dunedin’s city limits. The wallpaper feat. Trauma Chevron, Pill Tartan and Autonomy Thief designs which took mass-produced objects associated to female experience like lipsticks, surgical and gynecological instruments, medications, and other items found in domestic space. 

Union Lawn, University of Otago   

                            

 

 

 Museum Reserve - Otago Museum 

 

Museum Reserve

*at night - After the installation was trashed by vandals. 

Logan Park 

                                              

 

 The project was aided by an installation team of 10 volunteers who braved a multitude of Dunedin conditions across several locations and a range of dates. These individuals donated over 40 hours to construct, deploy, and monitor the installation. Special thanks to; 

Peter Marshall [lead construction/design], Chris Miller, Ayumu Kobayashi, Steve Marshall, Jess Covell, Sophie White, Jacqui Sue, Chantal Van Shark, Andy Straight, and Sam Cooper. 

The project is incredibly grateful for your support especially during covid restrictions, and for salvaging the installation from several public vandalism attempts. Moreso, it is important to note that many hands went into delivering this project to the public. 

*Project media tracked the public’s response including the public vandalism of the installation at Museum Reserve and The Oval. Read more here:

ODT:

https://www.odt.co.nz/entertainment/arts/public-centre-stage

The Critic:

https://www.critic.co.nz/news/article/9639/art-piece-installed-then-vandalized-then-re-instal

Stuff Online:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/otago/300381102/dunedin-student-art-project-highlighting-mental-health-smashed-by-vandals

 

The billboards paired with a grouping of smaller signs focused on ‘disrupting’ the spaces from general activities like recreational sports, fitness routines, daily commutes, and social gatherings. These interventions aimed to ignite curiosity and conversations by way of; a vivid palette, familiar patterns, and bold text [glitched to create a disease]. Over 1200 individuals [members of the public] scanned in via personal devices to learn more about the project. 

 

 The Oval

 

 

Mornington Park 

 

 

September - October 2021

This time was split between developing a new video installation work “Watchwords from Them” and prep mode for a series of public run workshops + pop-up installation/exhibition in a found space - in partnership with Dunedin Dream Brokerage. The video work included new neon based wallpaper treatments + phrases collected from the project’s online focus group of 160 women. The phrases were a litany of unattainable standards in which women were expected to aspire or adhere to like; ‘she’s let herself go’ , ‘stop eating carbs’, ‘she’s rail thin, gross’, ‘don’t be opinionated, it’s aggressive’, and ‘gutter mouth.’

 

Maggie Covell. Video still from Watchwords from Them, digital, 2021. 

This still belongs to a collection of stills based on Pill Tartan wallpaper treatment merged with Trauma Chevron design through a digital erasure technique, to highlight how many fragments [stories] merge to a more universal narrative. The Neon pink accentuates the undertones of societal violence tied to the female experience.

 

 Maggie Covell. Video still from Watchwords from Them, digital, 2021. 

This new digital wallpaper treatment features two key motifs from Trauma Chevron, the lipstick and the medical scalpel. 

 

Maggie Covell. Video still from Watchwords from Them, digital, 2021. 

This pattern is constructed from elements from several pre exisiting wallpaper designs like; the key which appear in the domestic sphere but, take on other roles like that of a weapon in the public sphere. PTSD medication from Pill Tartan forms the background coloured in vibrant neons which play on loudness and encompasses the artificialness of the beauty industry. Wallpaper also highlights societies obsession with covering over the cracks - 'You look like death warned up', 'Cheer up put some lipstick on'

 

Maggie Covell. Video still from Watchwords from Them, digital, 2021. 

'Basic Bitch' suggests many things, in a hybridisation of physiological warfare society brands women [like cattle] highlighting a cultural obsession with the body where women are expected to conform; ‘first impressions are everything’ or ‘be perfect’. This also signals to the disposability of the female experience, a pressurised space which pendulates between the private and the public [thanks to the internet, and social media presence]. The video work also contrasts language with wallpaper in a nod to the project’s conceptual framework “The Yellow Wallpaper.” 

To view Watchwords from Them click here; 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYh9UMZEh4M

 

October 2021

The project entered new territory via crowdfunding platform BOOSTED in which individuals + businesses donated funds helping the project finance phase two - public run workshops + pop-up installation/exhibition in a found space right in the heart of Dunedin’s CDB. To view the project’s successful BOOSTED campaign click here; 

https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/hidden-in-plain-sight

 

November 2021

A series of free workshops invited members of the public to make wallpaper + signs in response to their own experiences with mental health and body autonomy

The project would also like to thank; Dunedin Dream brokerage, Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust, and OCASA [Ōtepoti Collective Against Sexual Abuse] for their mihi around delivering this project to the public + Speedprint, Emerson’s Brewery, Spectacle Dunedin, and The Print Room for coming onboard as project sponsor’s and assisting with a multitude of things.


Image of public run workshops, courtesy of the ODT

 

The outputs from the public run workshops culminated in an installation which connected workshop attendees with the project’s online focus group, with over 70 individuals contributing to the work. Workshop attendees made wallpaper from a range of stencils that the online focus group suggested + signs were made from both attendees and focus group members. 

To read the project media about the workshops click here;

ODT: 

https://www.odt.co.nz/entertainment/arts/vandals-key-project-success

 

The video work “Watchwords from Them” also became part of this public installation where local alt-orchestra The Something Quartet created a soundscape in response to the workshops + focus group outputs. The installation was on display for a period of a week within the found space and was free for members of the public to attend. Across the course of this pop-up exhibition 100 people revolved through the doors to view the work and engage with the artist/lead researcher Maggie Covell prompting conversations and connections with some individuals returning multiple times. 

 

Closing showcase, video installation Watchwords from Them, 2021.

Image courtesy of Justin Spiers on behalf of the Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

Image courtesy of Justin Spiers for the Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

A closing showcase was staged at the end of the viewing period and was a free event for members of the public to attend. The Something Quartet also performed live with special guests; Sandrub Dawa [For The Quail], Lucy Oliver [Secret Cousins], Ayumu Kobyashi [Akoba, Glad Rabbit], and Ben Sargeant [Ha The Unclear, Biff Merchants]. Special thanks to Chris Miller [The Something Quartet, Coin Laundry, Alizarin Lizard, and Ha the Unclear] for all of your amazing insight and contribution to this phase of the project. 

 


Image of closing showcase, courtesy of Justin Spiers for Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

Image of the audience at the closing showcase, courtesy of Justin Spiers for the Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

The Something Quartet live performance at the closing showcase

Image courtesy of Justin Spiers for Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

 The Something Quartet live performance at the closing showcase

Image courtesy of Justin Spiers for Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

The Something Quartet live performance at the closing showcase

Image courtesy of Justin Spiers for Dunedin Dream Brokerage

 

*To learn more about Dunedin alt-orchestra The Something Quartet click here to access their Bandcamp profile;

https://thesomethingquartet.bandcamp.com 

November 2021 - January  2022 

The Hidden in Plain Sight Project was invited to join the group show Configure for a summer takeover of the Ashburton Art Gallery 2021/22. In its second incarnation Configure pays homage to a groundbreaking feminist performance project Womanhouse [1972, Los Angeles] while asking "What has changed for women in the 21st century?"

Sarah Baird, The Bertha Revolution Cont'd, Ceramic 2017. 

 

The group show explores femaleness through societal representations connected to; the body, identity, and how popular culture continues to shape our perception of femininity. Six artists all connected through the Dunedin School of Art explore this through an array of artistic media. The artists; Michele Beevors, Sarah Baird, Maggie Covell, Kiri Mitchell, Tamara Nicholson, and Kylie Norton each examine a different aspect of femininity through individual works in an attempt to challenge, critique and overturn female stereotypes which have lingered since Womanhouse. 

 

The Curatorial team installing Trauma Chevron wallpaper installation at Ashburton Art Gallery, 2021. 

  Installation view of Trauma Chevron, and Watchwords from Them video work. Sarah Baird's, The Bertha Revolution Cont'd in the foreground. 

 

 Media for the Configure group show can be found here;

 

Ashburton Art Gallery:

https://ashburtonartgallery.org.nz/exhibition/configure/

ArtBeat Magazine:

https://issuu.com/warrenfeeney/docs/artbeat_dec_jan22_final_copy

The Ashburton Courier:

http://www.ashburtoncourier.co.nz/community/artists-explore-female-form

 

*More details soon including the project's residence at The Faculty of Law, University of Otago from March 2022 - November 2022.