Collaborative Installation


Lorna Brown and Sheila Hall
Adverse Practices, Association for Noncommercial Culture

Colour silkscreen on plexiglas and paper

The image of the photographer is a photo silkscreen on plexiglas: the model is Lorna Brown. The image is placed so as to intervene between the audience and the exterior or interior of the shelter. As the spectator works into the enclosure, the image reverses, facing out to the street: one cannot confront the camera lens. It places the viewer in the process of photography, the medium that is used predominantly in advertising, and disrupts the usual dynamic of the site.

In the interior image, Sheila Hall is included in the group of people documented as they wait for the bus. These members of the public become collaborators in the piece, breaking down the barriers between the roles of artist, model and audience, contradicting the advertising strategy of presenting idealized or heroicized types. The shelter exemplifies the corporate usage of public space as an interface between their objectives and the private lives of individuals. This installation represents art making as a cooperative and dialogic process rather than an isolated and rarefied activity performed and viewed by specialists,

The portrait of Sheila Hall is enlarged and cropped out of the group scene from the interior, and relocated on a luminous colour field. The blue field refers to what is absent and uses the advertising technique of visual seduction but carries no further information—it is luminous but does not illuminate. This blue corresponds to the silkscreen of the photographer; the off-register image is black over blue resulting in an aura around her. This seductive edge refers again to advertising and the role of photographers as mediators. Attention is drawn to the frame of the crop, representing the essential structure of photography that edits reality and re-presents this construction as truth. Hall is also presented in the act of recording, or picture-making, but her camera is partially hidden.

This documentation of an installation that no longer exists presents yet another edit.

Lorna Brown, “Adverse Practices”, 1991
 35mm slide documentation. Display: Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Archive, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Association for Noncommercial Culture fonds.