NO BIG COAL ( detail in progress: tri-wall cardboard)

opening Wednesday 2 May 6-8pm at Factory 49,49 Shepherd St Marrickille NSW. Open until Saturday 12 May.

NO BIG COAL is an experiment with expanded site-specific drawing. It uses one of the familiar electricity meter-boxes on the factory wall of the showroom at Factory 49, to test conventions of representation and serial repetition, and also to experiment with how close and how far things can be and still stand in for their subject.

Like most drawings, those in NO BIG COAL are selective in what they take to represent the whole—they take the location (they are in the same room) and the front-on shape of the nine objects on the meter board, each shape expanded to maintain the same scale relationship with their walls as the meter-box shapes do to their meter-board.

The two walls making up the showroom are approximately 100 and 25 times larger than the meter-box respectively, so the nine shapes were enlarged by the same factors and cut out in brown triwall cardboard for the larger wall, and white engineering felt for the smaller wall. At the beginning of the opening night the cardboard and felt shapes were stacked with their walls—rather than retaining the arrangement of shapes on the meter-box—as an invitation to the audience to use them to make their own spatial arrangements.

The title was added to recognise that the most obvious thing about a meter-box—the electricity—was left out, and to use that oversight positively given the increasing environmental cost to the way most electricity is generated now. The NO BIG COAL slogan conveniently repeats the number of shapes as well as extends the site from the local space of the showroom to include parts of NSW and beyond, where environments and communities are under increasing threat from the mining of coal for electricity generation.