The theme of the space was ‘break of day’. The space was laid out roughly like this:
At the entry we had michelle painting “my god my god why have you forsaken me” onto the wall.
along the wall behind the corner, almost hidden out of view, was a table set up like the last supper, but with broken glasses, wine spilt, and bread crumbled over the table. there were some words to the effect of ‘there are days that break us… a cruel word that shatters us, a betrayal, a heartbreak, an ordinary day that turns to tragedy’ [they’re not the words, but i can’t remember what they were!]. That was a late addition. next time i think we’d put chairs around the table and make it interactive, rather than being purely visual.
the first thing you saw when you walked into the carpark was a screen with looping footage taken at docklands in the 30 minutes before sunrise.
the floor was covered with ashes. Poems, bits from Job and the story of the crucifixion, etc. were written on black card amongst them. you only found them if you wanted to.
in the end we had to light up the piles of ashes with candles because peoples’ eyes didn’t adjust quickly enough to the lack of light, and in the preparation someone walked straight through a pile of ashes… messy…
[nahum got the ashes from a sourdough bakery – over 100 kg worth in wheatbags. They were great ashes. ash gets into everything. i wouldn’t do it anywhere but in a basement carpark…]
a cd of recorded poetry was playing over in the corner – a selection of poems that approached death, lament and brokenness in different ways. people could make their prayers and write their stories into the ashes or onto the wall over on the far side.
moving on through… we had two kind of waiting spaces: one was a bland, sterile waiting environment. we used the black ikea leather sofas and office chairs from my floor of the office [have i mentioned how wonderful it was to simply be able to put equipment and furniture into a lift to transport it?], brought in a lamp, put a tv and dvd player in the corner… we showed a recording of ‘the bold and the beautiful’, and had, scrolling over the bottom part of the screen [CNN style] a series of waiting statements – things like ‘waiting for a better job… waiting for an ad break… waiting for the train to come… waiting for 5 o’clock… waiting for life to begin… waiting for someone bold or someone beautiful… waiting for the day to break…’. we had a copy of shaun tan’s book ‘the red tree’ there for people to read and a simple reflection on blandness and mundanity. [i loved this space!]
the other waiting space – a meditation space – was much more active waiting. we [blythe and dave were the screen hanging masters] hung white transparent fabric to create a separate space. cushions on the floor, a great little selection of music on discmans, with words for people to reflect to. on one ‘wall’ of the space Blythe wrote the words to 1 Corinthians 13… ‘we don’t yet see things clearly. we are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. but it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright’. on another wall we had a collection of images looping. these words went alongside it: is there a song here which says the words you need to hear? listen to it… is there an image that says the prayer you need to say? wait for it… wait for the fog to clear. wait for the break of day.’ a lot of people spent a lot of time in there.
right up against the far wall we had the ‘break of day’ space. there was a large screen with a loop of someone trying to light a cigarette lighter. on the ground we had a large pile of charcoal with grass growing over the top [a real-life manifestation of the image we used for publicity]. scattered around the edge were boxes of matches which we’d re-labelled with the image we used in the publicity. people could take a box home to use to light a candle we’d given them at the entrance.
on another wall we projected [straight onto the concrete] the loop of daybreak with balloons. we’d covered part of the wall with newspapers, and we had people painting images of hope over the top.
The words in the space were :
We live in a world that’s shattered
Sometimes all that holds us is a taste of hope
and a glimmer of promise.
If you can hold this promise for someone else,
paint a word or image of hope onto the wall.
If you need someone else to hold the hope for you,
just sit for a while…
look at the images, listen to the music…
let us hold it for you.
along the side wall, leading back to the entry/exit, was a ‘tunnel’. we’d hung long strips of fabric – a mixture of thin and thicker – and transparent paper [baking paper]. we’d written blessings onto the paper. right alongside the wall was a row of candles.
We included this space as a transition point – a way of getting people out without having to retrace their steps. interestingly, someone told me this week that she didn’t go over there at all, but she really loved looking at it from all the other spaces as she moved through. she loved that it was always in the corner of her eye. it’s another one of those things you don’t plan for.
we handed people a little booklet as they came in. on the next post i’ll put up the pdfs for that. it will explain it all a little better.