Mocksim, Contra-Invention (2010)

To those who say, I could have done that when faced with contemporary art, here is a project that you really could have done. The catalogue provides instructions.

Mocksim’s show comprised some 200 photos of illegally parked cars. 1) check the parking ticket; 2) visit the Penalty Charging Notice website; 3) enter a code; and 4) retrieve your artwork.

The artist notes that data is also available about the make and model of the camera used by each traffic warden, along with shutter speed, aperture, focal length. The mind boggles.

But the final exhibition still represents a lot of work, as much pounding of pavements as a so-called civil enforcement officer. You would have needed some time to emulate it.

As social minded art, Contra-invention seems very honest. We do not have many wars, famines or plagues in Brighton. But we do have zealous parking restrictions.

Part Two of the project presents photos of wardens at work. Using another cheap camera (a cameraphone, in fact), Mocksim now appears to be working in tandem with his subjects.

So there does not appear to be all that much difference between the artist as flaneur and the traffic warden. He snaps them. At times they snap him (see picture above).

No one much wants their portrait taken at work. But the shots reveal a tolerance and resignation which redeems this hated job. If you too could do that, then great. Go make some art.

Contra-Invention appeared as part of Brighton Photo Fringe in 2010. Thanks to the artist for sharing documentation with me in the form of catalogues. See Mocksim’s website for details of other projects.

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