Heather and Ivan Morison
Heather Morison (b. Desborough, UK, 1973; lives and works in Arthog, Wales), Ivan Morison (b. Nottingham, UK, 1974; lives and works in Arthog, Wales)
COMMISSIONED BY Litmus Research Initiative
Heather and Ivan Morison, Journée des barricades, Wellington, 14
December 2008. Commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey
University for One Day Sculpture. Photos: Stephen Rowe
(click to enlarge)
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Journée des barricades
Sunday 14 December 2008
Stout St between Lambton Quay & Ballance Sts, Wellington
> Click here for a map
> Click here for Heather Morison's interview on Arts on Sunday
> Click here for Dorita Hannah's commissioned critical response
> Click here for information from the Public Programme event
Car wrecks, discarded furniture and other urban detritus barricaded a central city street in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday 14th December 2008.
The temporary public artwork entitled Journée des barricades acts as a rupture in the everyday comings and goings of the city. In its barricade form, the sculpture might suggest associations with the history of political actions and social unrest, but as a collection of discarded consumer products it may also bring to mind questions about our environmental and economic future.
This new commission is the latest in the Morisons' ongoing investigation into future catastrophic scenarios and their social implications. Known for their stunning 2006 installation of a jack-knifed lorry which had spread its load of 25,000 flowers across Bristol's city centre, the capacity of their work to evoke darker concerns about our future has recently become more explicit. Tales of Space and Time (2008), commissioned for the Folkestone Triennial, for example, was an ex-military Green Goddess fire engine converted into a survivalist house truck which was equipped with a comprehensive library of apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction.
The Morisons' work challenges people to look squarely into the future and prepare themselves for what might be coming. It proposes a shift in thinking from the popular environmentalist view that we must preserve the status quo to the survivalist approach of preparing for an unstoppable and inevitable change.
In stark contrast to the sculpture's grandiosity is its temporality - installed overnight between dusk Saturday and dawn Sunday, the work was in situ for just 24 hours before 'disappearing' overnight, returning Stout Street back to normal for the Monday morning rush-hour.
Journée des barricades is commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University. Major funding support from the British Council, Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, University of the West of England, Massey University Foundation and Massey University College of Creative Arts.
Also generously supported by Loadlift Equipment Ltd, Mega Wreckers Ltd, Transpacific AllBright Ltd and PSIS Limited. The commissioners wish to thank Wellington City Council for all their assistance, especially Martin Rodgers, City Arts; Kevin O'Keeffe, Drainage & Water; Tony Tupaea Landfill Operations Manager; Peter Dodge, Transport Asset Performance, Infrastructure Group; Rob Tierney, Building Consents & Licensing Services.
Heather & Ivan Morison, I lost her near Fantasy Island. Life has not been the same, 2006. Installation view, British Art Show, Bristol
Recently named by the Guardian as ‘Artists of the Week’, Heather and Ivan Morison's work blends factual recall with fiction, merging information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and the lives of people they encounter. In previous work, the artists have looked at the currency of the escape vehicle, something that can transport you physically or mentally away from the here and now, or away from a potential future disaster. Dark Star, a 2006 film, Pleasure Island, and Fantasy Island, 2007, both timber structures, took their starting points from the American house-truck movement of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the hand-built shelter and self sufficiency movements of the same period. The Morisons have conducted research visits with the founders of these alternative lifestyles, tracing their influence in today's California. Their work often takes the form of sculptural objects within the public realm that act as catalysts for urgent discussions about our environmental future.
The Morisons featured in the British Art Show 6 and are represented by Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, London and Clint Roenisch, Toronto. They represented Wales at the Venice Biennale 2007 and have forthcoming projects with the Barbican, London; Milton Keynes Gallery, Baltic, Newcastle and Firstsite, Colchester.
Heather Peak was born in Desborough, UK in 1973 and Ivan Morison was born in Nottingham, UK in 1974. In 2005 the Morisons acquired a site of ancient and mature woodland in North Wales and they are developing the area of mature conifers into an arboretum. They live in Arthog, North West Wales.