For this participative installation, I used furniture and objects from the streets, trash that people dumped. That way, everything was served back to those citizens in the shape of an installation, which has the appearance of a home environment. To enter the room, people must follow a ritual: first, they have to sign a release form, and then, put protective gear on. Finally, a baseball bat is given to them with some detailed instructions. Once inside the room, they can destroy everything they want during a limited period of time. Participating in this installation is completely at odds with the main rule of most museums and exhibitions: “please, do not touch”.
Everything is indeed filmed and the installation gives a clear view from the inside to the outside. This is very important. The place of the viewer and the reactions are essential to my work. The first installation happened at Palais de Tokyo in Paris after the terrorist attacks. Back then, everyone was kind of nervous – you could feel the tension in the air. Then, it happened in Austria, just some time after the elections, which created a lot of tensions in the country. In both cases, I noticed people really needed to out their aggressive feelings by going totally crazy. But despite the violence present in this installation, it also seems to have a liberating effect. Both in Paris and in Austria, most people had a smile on their face and felt some kind of relief and happiness.
Once inside, most people do the same thing and smash as much and as hard as they can. Some people react differently though, like one person in Austria who didn’t use the baseball bat and didn’t actually destroy anything, but started yelling at the furniture, losing his mind in a pretty funny way. I loved the different reactions and the feelings that people experienced while participating, and I think it’s a nice experiment to explore human behaviour in a specific situation.