martin firrell


december 2005

south bank centre london

12 videos
14 images

Incidentally was created for the public information system at the South Bank Arts Centre in London.

The project was designed to appear in 20 second bursts between information about the centre and its current arts programme.

The project was titled 'Incidentally' because it aimed to introduce into the stream of functional information, other existential messages about the nature of human experience.

These other messages were incidental to the main purpose of the information system and incidental additions to the visitor's experience of the South Bank Centre.

There were twelve video sequences in total, each using strobing light of various colours to catch the viewer's eye and to reveal and frame text about the subjective experience of human awareness.

The twelve texts alluded to mortality, ambition, infatuation, language, friendship, isolation and loneliness, self determination, fear, and information itself (the primary purpose of the public signage system on which the texts appeared).

There was a great deal of concern at the South Bank Centre about the content of these texts, particularly those dealing with mortality.

The fear was that older people, who make up a significant portion of the centre's audience, would be offended or over concerned by these intimations of mortality.

Martin Firrell Company countered these concerns with the argument that of all people, the elderly are already the most aware of, and reconciled to, the lived truths of human existence.