The public art event served as a framework that enabled us to sculpt, intervene and take on a prescribed public space as our project. Through the light courier event (in which passersby were asked to carry a light-emitting object from one block to the next) I came to view space as a material, as an environment that is shaped by its occupants and thus easily altered, easily marked and infused with energy. In this same context, the medium of space cannot be defined, nor can the bodies within it. Using these as raw materials provides for fleeting, malleable occurrences that leave the memory of experience as one’s final product. It allowed for a dialogue between the unusual, substitute holders of the space (us Fleet members) and the general public as our audience and collaborators. This raised interesting questions as to who dictates the use of a space; how we appropriate environments and come to manipulate them, or whether we allow them to manipulate us. Were we intruding in a normal and constant construct of space as determined by its occupants or gently persuading passersby of their ability to affect a space in which they exist as visitors? The transitional space we chose to illuminate acts most often as a funnel through which bodies pass without notice. By asking these bodies to accept and carry our work to mark their presence, we created an exchange to funnel attention onto the present moment in the existing environment. We sculpted a conscious and recognized occupying-of-space for our audience/collaborators, and for ourselves, even in our dream-like snowstorm of a place. The snow helped to bring the project alive, reflecting light, and creating a contrast in the transition between a passersby huddling introvertedly in their coat and coming out to interact both with strange people and with the air.
In creating the light-objects we considered the space and the audience as carrying them briefly, and so came to design them as adoptable tools for exploration and for the marking of human presence in the space. We used cheap and easily accessible materials (nylons, wire frames, led dollar store flashlights, wooden dowels, tape and mylar) that could be easily assembled, have noticeable but subtle effect, and be stolen without too much of a fuss (only a couple were taken). They were simple objects, without an obvious use, so as to showcase the light they housed, more so than their shape, allowing them to be easily accepted and manipulated by the public. We had a positive response for the most part in the enthusiastic and sometimes severely confused exclamations of “what is this for?” to which I shrugged. I found that a sense of urgency and a quick, precise “take this to the next corner for me” worked well to engage passersby and give the pedestrian a sense of importance.