A Pretty Punk Move
Claire Healy Sean Cordeiro in conversation
CLAIRE HEALY: Our first collaborative project took place in 2001 with ‘Location to Die For’. We actually had no intention of collaborating at the time. We were both Masters students at what was then the University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts (CoFA), and had put our names down for the student gallery Kudos. When we went to check out the space, we began thinking about using it in its entirety. As the exterior of the building was ‘to die for’, in real estate speak—and the interior was spacious with polished floorboards—the space was begging to be converted from a gallery into New York style loft apartments.
At the time, Sean was living at the Imperial Slacks warehouse in Surry Hills and I was living up the road in a three storey terrace. Both of us were being driven mad by the perpetual state of renovation that both spaces were undergoing. The whole pre and post-Olympic period had turned Sydney into a frenzy of makeovers. The noise of this ongoing state of flux was like living in a warzone. Thus came about our idea for Kudos. We placed a real estate placard out the front of the gallery, which featured the usual wide angled interior shots of the space with real estate jargon describing it, as well as a contact number to arrange a viewing and even an open day (the actual exhibition opening).
"someone stole the real estate sign we put out the front"
The installation consisted of a floor plan of a house made from sandbags that resembled bunker walls, and a gas lamp in the centre of each room. The space was bombarded with smoke machines and every sound bite of war-like noise we could find.
SEAN CORDEIRO: Yeah, it was a pretty punk move. We changed the answering machine in the gallery, asking people to leave a message while sounds in the background made out that a military apocalypse was in action. People actually left messages of interest in the property on the answering machine and someone stole the real estate sign we put out the front; I like to think that it was a competing real estate agency. In the end, I believe we were able to double our audience numbers thanks to the real estate investors visiting our show.