COMMUNITY SPIRIT (2010)
The project took place in the UK, London, Hackney Downs Park. I wanted to do something simple and good, something that brings people together, fuels solidarity and a sense of belonging. I thought of most basic and instinctive way of bonding i.e. sitting by the fire. I decided to set up a small campfire in a local park, where people could come any time day or night, warm up, talk or just look at the stars or fire. The council due to Heath and Safety regulations rejected the proposal but after further persuasions I was allowed to run the project on the condition that the fence is installed around the fire, all appropriate hazard warning signs are displayed and a fire fighter is present at the allocated, fenced and CCTV monitored premises at all times. I followed the rules however still I was not allowed to light the fire due to London Fire Legislation (no open fire allowed). The project resulted in a lonely and bored fireman staring at the hazard warning signs pinned to the fence, guarding a dead wood monitored by CCTV. Rather than place of belonging, solidarity, faith and meditation the setting reflected isolation, dead spirit, institutional control in the name of our own good.