Tunnel Vision

2010. Timber, polythene sheeting, Eastern European workers

"What meaning does your construction have?" he asks. "What is the aim of a city under construction unless it is a city? Where is the plan you are following, the blueprint?"…Work stops at sunset. Darkness falls over the building site. The sky is filled with stars. "There is the blueprint," they say.
- Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The artist employs migrant workers to construct a network of polyester tunnels of varying size and shape in a public place. The tunnels are animated by weather, visitors and by the labourers themselves, who are on site throughout constantly changing the construction. Built of relatively cheap, simple, disposable materials, the resulting tunnels become a symbol of the workers' social status and the workers become unwitting performers. The visitor, equipped with hard hat, hi-vis jacket and torch, navigates the maze with childlike curiosity and the hope of discovery; but the absence of any significant focal point forces us to consider the transitory and temporary nature of the tunnel itself, its material construction, our physicality within it and our own metaphorical 'tunnel vision' around issues of exploitation, social structure and the relative notions of value and satisfaction.

Project manager Joe Duggan.
Text by Chiara Williams.