Bored Astronauts on the Moon and other 'Things That Happen'
You've got until the end of the month to 'run don't walk' and see 10 x 10, an absorbing video screened at the new Carroll/Fletcher gallery just off Oxford Circus. I've been twice already and i won't stop there.
The camera of 10 x10 slowly scrolls down a 100-storey building, going from one floor to the one below, looking through the windows, room after room. The result looks like a strip of film.
The rooms are often occupied by an ordinary office worker. It is always the same guy and he is wearing a suit. A pair of Dr Martens betray the fact that he might not want to be there, with a pie chart as his sole companion. He is very probably the most bored office worker you could come across. He kills the hours cycling within the confine of his office room, hiding behind furniture, crafting paper planes, launching paper planes, inflating a swimming pool mattress, dressing up as a cowboy, Spiderman or a knight Templar, etc.
He might also be the one who arranges plastic office chairs into sculptures or perfectly symmetrical installations.
Extract of the 15:37 min video
There is a tension i've never seen in a lift film since Elevator to the Gallows. You're kept on the edge of the seat wondering what will come next, why and how the man ended up in such situations, why he's recurrently portrayed battling with illuminated fluorescent tubes, what the meaning of the chair arrangement might be, what is going on with that pie chart: is it always the same or is it changing over time? Yet, 10 x 10 is not a drama. We might try and piece together fragments of narration but we never fully understand what is going on. Maybe that man is not even an office worker anyway. Besides, 10 x 10 is more akin to a comedy verging on slapstick than to a drama. I think that anyone with no interest in art whatsoever could enter the gallery, sit down in front of the video and spend 15 minutes smiling at the images on screen.
10 x 10 is part of John Wood and Paul Harrison: Things That Happen, an exhibition that generously proposes plenty of activities for the sick and tired man. Experimenting with the laws of physics using sheets of paper, fans or an electric sander is one suggestion...
Or recreating scenes from disaster movies using models...
And of course you could also invite a friend, pretend you've landed on the surface of a satellite and pose as 'Bored Astronauts on the Moon'.
John Wood and Paul Harrison: Things That Happen remains open at the Carroll / Fletcher gallery in London through March 30, 2012.