It was a consummate performance: the perfect bureaucrat, eyes glued to the screen, ignoring all around her, a little discreet typing, lots of competent nodding, agreement, questions, plans. Business shirt, straight skirt, stockinged legs, low-heeled pumps. Desk, phone, computer. Right in the middle of Todd Mall.
Passers-by were non-plussed, amused, intrigued. Apparently some dared to interrupt her important business: “What are you doing?”
Some admired her setup. After all, on this warm winter’s day what better place to work?
It’s a new approach to marketing, suggested one man – yet there were no signs, no products, no appeal to passers-by.
Was it a case of bureaucrat creep? Into what corner of our lives won’t they go next?
A clue perhaps: a discreetly placed video camera under a nearby tree.
Further along a discreetly placed artist under another tree – Franca Barraclough, cameras, laptop, thermos on hand. She wasn’t giving away too much, except her excitement at this first live arts event by EXTRA-ordinary Agency. The video footage is for their own records and reflection.
The ‘agency’ is the creation of Barraclough and Melissa Kerl (the bureacrat), both stalwarts of the Alice Springs arts scene, particularly performance art, dance and cabaret. This work is experimental, ephemeral. And above all in the public space, in and around everyday life and people.
There’s more to come. Watch out for that wrinkle in the ordinary. – KIERAN FINNANE