A tube of plastic sheeting attached to the air vent on an empty London Underground train is filmed as it inflates and deflates, the plastic materialising air as it shoots through the vents with the stop and start motion of the carriage. A note next to the piece reads:
“This is not the Tube on the tube. This is a setup to describe the mechanics of the real situation. The real Tube left Bounds Green at 11:58 am, on 06/02/15 travelling the length of the Piccadilly line.”
The viewers experience of the footage is not the primary viewing of the art (an empty tube carriage is an unnatural experience), the primary audience are the people who stumble upon the intervention in their routine journeys from A to B. Removing the reactions of the primary audience lets the secondary audience imagine the experience of this humorous and unexpected situation.
With Tube, I want to materialise new spaces through the repetitive and familiar spaces of the London Transport network. A commute to work for example, seems like a necessary but non-productive period of time, and we look for ways to cut it out, make it shorter and more efficient. Taking these idle moments as my material, they become counterparts in a mechanism that will reveal what is overlooked. Through repetition, detail is lost through the familiarity of the situation. The mind no longer needs to register it – It already knows this routine. We regain this awareness only through breaking routine. Tube is an unfamiliar experience of the familiar, creating unpredictability from a predictable situation.
Eleanor Turnbull - Artist statement
Performance? But that suggests a staging, and the movements of a body.
I try to remove myself from the work or use myself as a tool that reveals something bigger happening in the environment. I want to show how things are working outside of ourselves – how things move around our bodies – A performance of material, maybe?
I want my work to transform existing materials: I am not trying to invent new objects or experiences – I work to highlight the infinite number of ways we can experience what already exists:
Walking through the environment, I look for routine moments that fall into the white noise of everyday life: I try to make use of this useless – the detritus, the throw away. Taking these idle moments as my material, they become counterparts in a mechanism that will reveal what is overlooked. Plastic sheeting over the air vents of a Tube carriage for example, inflate and deflate with the motion of the train. The air that shoots up a sea wall, picks up strips of bin liner tied to bricks, and flings them about. Here, the familiar is shifted into unfamiliar territory as air is materialized, revealing its chaotic motion. The simplicity of motion in the physical world holds a complexity within it: There is discovery in this lack of control that exposes how the world continually works.