Red Light Confessional (II)

The first Red Light Confessional was created for Red night part of the ur:project Gabrielle and myself are a part of. As an installation it worked particularly well, receiving a great response at the time. We gained plenty of confessions dressed as Priest and Nun.
Although when we re-installed the confessional within our studio space we didn’t use them. It was felt that using other peoples confessions was really drifting from what the piece for us was about, that of course being us! However we recorded our own confessions, and these seemed to be lack lustre, they didn’t engage properly with those that were to view the piece. So these short burst confessions were then replaced with a couple of long meandering confessions from myself, with the voice distorted as though i was delivering some sort of ransom demand. I’ll not list off other changes and messing around we went through, the point to re-building the installation within our studio was to live with it for a while. See how we could move it on, make something more of it. Of course bearing in mind what other people had to say about it, but mostly so we could keep it “front of mind” as Maxwell jnr would say!
And so to those final changes. There’s an overriding feeling of Catholicism you get from anything “confessional”, not surprising as it’s a pre-occupation of that faith. However most religions cover confession in some way, a coming to terms with yourself and your actions. Plus of course lets not leave out all those with no particular faith, they too confess, we all talk to people about our actions without considering the actions of those we “confess” too. We of course made ours very sexual with the red light and with the penis shaped grill on the inside, these seemed integral to our piece. (Well maybe the grill was over the top). Our main feeling though was that it was way to comfortable to sit within our confessional, to easy to sit there and spout away, or listen. We needed to make the experience more intimate, and little uncomfortable. Thus increasing the seediness feel.
The simple resolution to these and other thought processes I’ll not bore with………. Chop a few feet off the top, put a ceiling on, take some width off the interior partition. The 8ft tall cavernous space reduced to around 5ft, 7 inches in height. The 4 ft square floor space reduced to something more like 2.5 x 4 ft. The penis grill thus becoming more dominant within the space, and the feeling of cramped space inescapable. Now whether you find that more comforting and intimidating I guess depends on your childhood, it certainly means the experience is less comfortable, and that was the main goal. The fact it now resembles the Kaaba, probably some sort of latent effect down to visiting Whitworth Art Gallery, the wonderful Idris Khan exhibit; The Devil’s Wall an inspiration. Other inspiring work there at the Whitowrth, especially the artwork by Saudi artist Ahmed Mater using a magnet and iron filings to represent people circling the Ka’ba in Mecca.

Red Light Confessional (II); installed at Islington Mill for the 'Sounds From The Other City' event

Red Light Confessional (II); installed at Islington Mill for the ‘Sounds From The Other City’ event

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