Abandoned white goods

Year: 2011

A video feed was set up from a hidden camera in an undisclosed location and then projected live into a gallery in London. At exactly 18.00 hours, on the preview night of the exhibition, I arranged for a brand new fridge to be left on the street in clear view of the camera. No information was given as to where the video feed was coming from. People could only watch with no way of knowing where the goods actually were.

As the evening progressed more and more people crowded the gallery where the feed was being shown. Akin to watching football in a pub, every time someone walked into view people cheered them on hoping that they would get to see the person steal it. At the location where the fridge was several people walked straight past it, a few noticed it but failed to be drawn and just as there was someone showing real interest the connection was lost. By the time the feed was reconnected some 25 minutes later, the fridge was gone.

Even though the feed went down, the camera still recorded and a few days later on reviewing the tape I discovered a man in a yellow t-shirt had been circling it. He stood their briefly before disappearing out of shot and a few minutes later appearing again but this time with someone else. Shortly after he dragged it off out of view.

For the following four weeks of the exhibition, a brand new white good (fridge, cooker, iron etc) was left in the same spot. All of them were taken. Some were found later on the street smashed to pieces, the work of bored kids. Most of them were never seen again. None of these abandonments were recorded. The only people that would ever know who were responsible for taking them were the people that actually took them on the street and the people that might have been in the gallery in London at the very same time to witness the theft, creating - for the duration of the work - two distinct but exactly the same realities.