Lookout is intended to be a site-specific forum for dialogue and observation, an opportunity to question and investigate how public space is marked and shaped by different interests and histories. A temporary enclosure in a pedestrian square provides the site for interaction between the artist and interested publics as they engage with materials describing the area in which the project is situated. The materials, including tourist information, maps, and civic planning documents, serve as landmarks, perpetually annotated by private and possibly contradictory observations. Through this process, and the use of dictation machines, a audio-based document, cumulatively marked by five days of different voices, is generated and continuously played back, providing the project with an immediate and accessible audio history. Summaries and key phrases from each conversation, in agreement with the participants, are written directly onto the found texts on a notice board.
The project concludes with no final or definite text. The cumulative documentation (audio tapes and annotated texts) rather than being an in-depth description of the actual site, are the wake of live process drawing upon memory, actuality and metaphor in the act of describing and defining what public space has been, is, and could be.
Working under the name of otiose, John Dummett has been active in the field of ‘live art’ since 1997, with work shown at the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), the Root festival (Hull), YYZ Artists Outlet (Toronto) and recently at the Spaces Gallery (Cleveland, USA). He lives in London, England.