2010 Splat

Splat – a live work for Hazard Festival, Manchester

Standing in a high place, it’s common to experience the desire to jump or fall. The city, with its mass of tall horizontal surfaces, holds out opportunities for imaginative falling. However it denies us physical access to high locations. Maybe we daren’t trust ourselves. Clearly this push-pull of thrill-fear is complex and dangerous. We opt for vicarious ways of experiencing it; from Harold Lloyd’s famous clock tower scene in Safety Last to all three versions of King Kong. Or we laugh at it, as in the ridiculous final scene of the Cohen Brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy.

In Splat this process of scaring ourselves safely is extended into the street as a new way of looking at/playing among the city’s architecture and civic engineering. The project provides a feet-on-the-ground opportunity to imagine standing in high places, without actually doing it. Melons are posed on ledges etc, as an act of reification of the potential of falling. Their bright yellow colour, similar to that used for hazard warnings, gives them high visibility. Melons also have associations with the making of film and animation audio effects, the sound of their destruction (smash, split, drip, splurt) standing in for bodies breaking and skulls cracking on the sidewalk.

Viewed together, the melons dotted through the city will have a strong visual impact.

Most likely you will see them before you come across me. Hopefully you will wonder what the hell I’m doing. And why. And ask me. Perhaps you will give me a hand by standing back and shouting directions or looking out for the next suitable ledge.