Seven spoke to Arianna Bosi from Dashboard Animals about the event.
Arianna, why Ocean Shores? And why the carpark?
Because it’s where I live, and because it’s where everybody at some point congregates, whether you live on, or off the grid.
I can’t help myself but to continuously imagine what I would do, with a storyline, a found object, a conversation, or an empty space. I read, even when I’m walking. Books, not my phone.
I had begun to explore projection mapping with a real interest in mixed reality projects, so we (with my writing partner, Alison Bicknell) began to devise and collect second hand projectors.
We wanted to start small. We weren’t interested in large scale architectural mapping, and as writers and filmmakers we are much more interested in story and narrative than just pretty lights. We also want to create works that are participatory, which the audience can get up close to and be immersed in, rather than stand back in awe. Shopping centres and car parks are full of those small spaces.
My daughter and I would scooter through the Ocean Shores Village car park, and I would wonder at its ugliness. There was a good sized shopfront beside Target that had been empty for some time before COVID-19 hit. It’s big, all glass, and was still very empty.
It seemed such a waste. Believe it or not Ocean Shores, like the whole of the area, is full of all kinds of artists and the idea to bring an element of surprise to a truly suburban car park was very exciting. I know I would stop and watch if someone else had put up something other than advertising, and I would have responded with ‘what would I have done… ’.
Tell me a little about Dashboard Animals and the partnerships you have engaged to get art and culture into the public space?
A Dashboard Animal is a shiny, but shy, hood ornament; a nodding dog with anger management issues; a melted plastic wildebeest that’s never been kissed; a Lotto scratch ticket that sings to you of untold riches. They’re the strange and beautiful things you want to take with you on a shared journey. The hitchhikers who tune your radio into something new. The odd stories that fill the car as the road rises ahead: odd people, sticky situations, madness, music, absurdity, and great images. It’s a trip, so buckle up.
For now, Peter (Castaldi) and I had been developing a business around screen eventing, offering large screen opportunities for artists and filmmakers. Our strategy, our aim, was to get artists and filmmakers ‘off the small screen’ and away from the ‘swipe’. Ironically, when COVID hit, the world was asked to pivot online, a complete turnaround from where we wanted to go.
North Coast events had already been sponsoring our ‘Open Screen’ short-film screenings (ProjectallShorts) in Mullumbimby at the back of Byron School of Art, prior to COVID. So when we all faced the dilemma of ‘what now’, Peter and I sat down with Sean and Dan from NCE and chatted projection mapping and outdoor COVID-Safe screen eventing. Nothing was going to stop me. There was a way. Everyone was trying to pivot to an online format, but DBA business was about getting ‘off the small screen’. Peter and I come from an industry that has always been hamstrung by lack of access to points and places of exhibition. We wanted to change that by creating new venues, in uncommon or unlikely places, and so here we are.
For those who are unfamiliar, what exactly is a ‘lightbox’?
Well a lightbox is just that – a box that glows with light. In our case, we are projecting onto the corner of the building, and filling it with projections, to give it a new surface and some depth. We are literally giving the shopping mall a lick of new light.
Why is a site like this important to repatriate?
It’s all about access. Places like this are full of prompts to buy and consume, not to enjoy and engage in any sort of cultural or creative way, and yet they are always full of people. You’ll find that many, many more people walk through this car park, than who ever walk through a gallery. It’s not that the ‘gallery’ or ‘art’ experience, in some form, is unimportant to them, it’s just that it may either be out of their realm of experience or just lower on the needs list than pork chops and sushi. So take it to where the people are. Serve them a nice big dollop of colour and light and a new experience alongside the red-spot specials.
Who can get involved… and how can they?
If you create digital art – use screens in your arts practice, or have an Instagram account where you share your ‘work’, whatever that may be – you can exhibit with us. Open Screen opportunities include open screen micro cinema (no longer 11 minutes). Outside projections for 2D and 3D creators, sound designers, hashtag hour is Friday night from 5.30 – which is your favourite Instagram hashtag to share on the big screen?
You can watch In-Side-Out from the car park. This is a headphone (supplied) experience, and with social distancing. From sunset, Friday 28 August, to Sunday 30 August.