Artists bamboozle customers in Ashford shopping centre with kaleidoscopic installation

By Sarah Jackson | 10 September 2013

Installation preview: Catoptromancy, County Square Shopping Centre, Ashford, September 17 2013 - February 2014

Kaleidoscope image of a shopping centre's glass ceiling
© 2013 Courtesy of Hoodwink
Ashford’s County Square Shopping Centre is perhaps not a venue that springs to mind when thinking about contemporary art – which is exactly why Hoodwink have chosen it for their latest project.

Hoodwink is a Kent-based commissioning project aiming to target non-users of museums and art galleries by exposing them to contemporary art in unexpected places.

From September 17, shoppers at County Square may come across Terry Perk and Julian Rowe’s large-scale mirrored kaleidoscopic installation. Catoptromancy (a form of divination using a mirror) uses live CCTV feeds from the shopping centre itself to form its ever-changing and collapsing images.

This is the first collaboration from Perk and Rowe, who are both preoccupied with the ways in which we use spaces. County Square Shopping Centre serves as a blank canvas on which existing theories on how we use space can be re-examined.

Shopping centres exist all over the world and very often seem to be created from similar, if not identical moulds. The anthropologist Marc Augé has called them "non-spaces", devoid of cultural resonance and yet also sites of transitory activities.

Catoptromancy offers viewers the opportunity to view the shopping centre as an alternative space and question their own position with it.

It is the third project carried out by Hoodwink as part of its three-year site-specific commissioning programme, which aims to disrupt everyday life with site-specific interventions in a live environment.

The first commission – Jonathan Wright's Profound Riches – opened in April 2013 at The Forum, one of Tunbridge Wells’ oldest independent music venues. The sound based sculpture used the building as both transmitter and receiver.

Their last commission, Hop, Skip and Jump, from Ultimate Holding Company, has seen gym users at Putlands Leisure Centre donate their old trainers to be made into a giant hop flower-shaped chandelier with LED screens displaying their personal bests.

Hoodwink have other new projects opening in pubs, supermarkets and shops during the next few months and will be working with artist Adam Chodzko on a project in 2014. They will also feature in Folkestone Triennial’s fringe festival in 2014.

  • Open 9am-6pm (7pm Thursday, 10am-4pm Sunday). Follow Hoodwink on Twitter @hoodwinkhq.

More pictures:
Black and white kaleidoscope image showing a bird's eye view of shoppers.
© 2013 Courtesy of Hoodwink
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Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.


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