Playing The Mall (1994)
Playing The Mall
“walking through a shopping centre is like being in a computer game. different levels to get to, rewards to be had.
it’s a very visual space. metal, glass, mirrors, windows, signs. glistening and reflecting each other, and reflecting you as you look at them.
you’re playing the mall”
I liked the idea that glistening, reflecting, revealing and frustrating optical spaces could be laid bare by base descriptive language standing in for light, colour and texture. I also liked the idea that words could be made spatial. Some people wish that the images looked less stark, or that the language could more poetic. But that wouldn’t work. The images had to be this way to communicate how I felt about manipulative architectural spaces. They double as a parody of lit-crit textuality.
Visually the images draw on Dr. Ahmed Moustafa’s art and the simple photocopied flyers that advertise bands playing in small venues. Conceptually they draw on Dean Motter’s “Mister X” and whoever used the term “postmodern hyperspace” to describe the non-linear space of the mall. The source images came from sketches of The Bentall Centre, Kingston-on-Thames, photographs of Canary Wharf, London, and video footage of a multi-storey car park in Canterbury.
I made these works in 1994. The 386 PCs running Corel Draw let me have a tea break each time I edited a single piece of text, and the more complex images took a couple of weeks each to make. The images were laser printed A4 at 300DPI and digitally photocopied up to A0. They project well, too. You need to see them big to get the full impact.