Reading: An Open Gallery

I am fascinated by the idea that the context in which we view things changes our relationship to them. Take, for instance, Duchamp’s Fountain or any of the exercises in Roger Pol Droit’s 101 experiments in the philosophy of everyday life. Whether recontextualising a urinal as Art or Becoming Music as a philosophical exercise, a plethora of new experiences can be had simply by making the decision to change the way that we see things.

With this in mind, today Mark and I took to the streets of Reading with a view to experiencing the city as a giant Art Gallery. We went there and we viewed The Art. You too can experience The Art if you like; I have provided the location information that you need to tap into googlemaps to establish the whereabouts of all the pieces although with some of the ephemeral or time-based works, there can be no guarantee that they will still be there. I will spread The Art over several days of post because there was just so much to see.

The Lost Man’s Shoes found materials, installation, ephemeral work, located at the intersection of Swainstone Road and Basingstoke Road, RG2 area. Artist unknown.

Somehow very touching, these carefully placed shoes evoke the absence of someone. The positioning and qualities of the shoes are intriguing; they are clearly man shoes, and have seen a considerable amount of wear. But how did the person who left these shoes here get home? Were they obliged to travel in bare feet? Perhaps we are to perceive some deliberate subversiveness in the work, for the shoes are ‘parked’ (as you’ll note) on a double yellow line.

Resistance is not futile spraypaint, above Mr Cod on Whitley Street, RG2 area. Artist unknown.

Making its bold yet cryptic statement above Mr Cod’s fish and chip shop on Whitley Street this piece (with its references to street art and Banksy) openly contradicts the statement immortalised on Star Trek by The Borg. The piece speaks to me of dissaffection; of slogans for the sake of slogans. For what is being resisted? The inscrutable image placed beneath the slogan does nothing to further enlighten us. What we know is that *someone* is fighting back against the blithe and populist use of the unquestioned phrase, ‘Resistance is Futile.’ Good for them.

More Art tomorrow.

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