SLOW NO

London, England : 1988

120 hour durational performance/installation at A.I.R. Gallery.

11-15 May 1988


 

This performance/installation saw MacLennan placing and displacing coffins – two adult sized, one child – in a room carpeted by turf and with 32 doors attached to its walls. Dressed in black, and with a length of scrim tucked under a balaclava, MacLennan drew gloves with charcoal between the doors – using the end of the scrim for wiping and smearing the charcoal.

Scattered atop the turf were an array of other objects – a butcher boy bicycle, flowers, a watering can, gravestones. Above them  hung a myriad of rope nooses – tied to hover just slightly above the grassy floor.

This performance took place in an upstairs room, while a downstairs space displayed a exhibition of 20 of MacLennan’s drawings, installed such that the viewer had to engage with them close up. Both installations were viewable to the public from the 11th to the 18th of May.

Two statements accompanied the installations:

‘Slow No is about societal wounding and potential healing. The work plays on notions of opposition: location-dislocation / placement-displacement / time being-time edited. Its underlying issues are political, social and cultural. Art can heal wounds within and without the self. The effects of physical wounds are obvious enough but spiritual, religious, psychological, political, social and cultural wounds often defy appearance. They stem from partial or fragmented systems of understanding and affect every aspect of our lives. In splitting our thinking, we split our world… We hide what we show and show what we hide…’

‘Double standards operate throughout political and legal systems at home and abroad, as do human exploitation and extreme prejudice against those whose religious, political and economic views differ from our own. Witness recent events in Belfast, Afghanistan, Central America and London. A fractured, splintered world “mirror-images” thinking. We are alienated from self and other. We chase effects without considering precipitating “cause”. Political, social and cultural dilemmas erupt around us. Worlds of ethics and aesthetics don’t even meet. Mostly we live in reactionary ruts. We clear scrap from the yard but not our thinking. We’re trapped by culturally inflicted (and self accepted) views of identity and meaning. “Choices” are made with partial reliance on “hand-me-down” beliefs. Whether we seem or ARE boxed in, many are “cut-off” from wholeness of living. The predicament is private and public. By vicarious “escape” we avoid the anchor and probing of conscience. We direct the blame ELSEWHERE (but not to our doorstep). There are massive discrepancies between our ideologies and Actuality. We need to FACE UP to self-made contradictions, not run… As a timely reminder beats towards stop, language is rope. OVERtalk and be hung. ART’s TO RECONCILE to make “one”.’