Photo: Emily Hlavac-Green
SHIFT 2009 in Unstable Institutional Memory, curator Ali Bramwell

The Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin, New Zealand


SHIFT is part of Unstable Institutional Memory: 10 Years at the Blue Oyster curated by Ali Bramwell. It draws from the history of the Blue Oyster because it is related to New Walls, a wall installation constructed in the Blue Oyster in 2000. It is the same as New Walls because it uses the same process of determining a footprint by joining points that correspond to the centre of each main wall, and then constructing floor-to-ceiling walls over it. Its difference is that the corresponding point was moved in from the wall by 2 metres for SHIFT, rather than the 1 metre distance used for New Walls. (The resulting footprint also differs because the Blue Oyster has moved since 2000, and the architecture is different.) While the New Walls version of the process produced surprising new spaces between the old and new walls, the question for SHIFT was whether the greater distance between the new and old walls would just produce wider spaces, or whether it would be enough to allow the space of the room to retain its familiarity and shift attention instead onto the wall-construction as a self-contained tall object in the centre of the room.

It was constructed in the upper room of the Blue Oyster by Colin Howes using my rough footprint specifications. It was photographed by Emily Hlavac-Green, but curator Ali Bramwell also describes 'the subtle qualities of light changes and wonderfully odd, almost holographic angle deflections that are not [able to be] recorded' by photographic documentation.