Building Sight - Landscapes and Living Spaces - 29/29 September 1974

Submitted by root on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 13:53

This was the first  of the Building site installations. It was a work by performance artists Shirley Cameron and Roland Miller.

The Idea  Shirley, Roland and their twin babies would 'live'  on the building site for the day. 

We have only three photos from the event and these can be seen below

Shirley with one of the twinsShirley with both twins

Showing how the installation operated on two levels

Above Shirley with the twins and below showing how the installation worked on two levels of the site.


Below is the press release for this event which includes Roland's thoughts on  Performance Art.


BUILDING SIGHT 28th. and 29th. September.




Performance Art by Roland Miller - 1974.

I consider primarily presenting directly to the spectator the human actions for creating art, rather than the product of those actions. This means they are less vulnerable to financial or ideological take-over by forces outside the artists' control.

There is no need to question the impulse that creates art -it exists, now as always, in everyone. What happens to the things created is another matter, open to much questioning. I no longer believe what I was taught at school : that art is beauty and beauty purifies the soul. The role of art in our society is a positive one, so we are told, whereby the imagination of the beholder is stirred to more noble thoughts, above the humdrum of workday life, freeing his mind from the contamination of the flesh, and permitt­ing unattainable ideals to crystallize in objects of lasting beauty.  It is a theory basic to our system of education and public patron­age. I think it is a highly dangerous theory. It denies the orig­in of creativity in individuals and the right of everyone to self- expression. It places all forms of art at the service of society - a role that I dispute.

The traditional cultural ethical theory of the arts diffidently ignores the origin of the arts - human self-expression. Our current situation denies the theory. It is just not true that classical statues make people good, nor that romantic paintings make a life of toil and poverty bearable. Equally untrue is the idea that inner personal convictions, imaginative impulses and activities running against the conditioning of society must be subjugated by the law's sanctions because they lead inevitably to the violent destruction of our institutions.

The arts are a condition of human experience, rather than a quality. Visual art is based on shared physical facts of perception and the human faculty of vision or imaginative fancy. So it shares the filth, cruelty, disease, madness of the world - and artists pursue these things as well as the acceptable human experiences of love and delight.  It has seemed to me important to produce only that which cannot easily be abused in concrete form, and remains close to the original creative impulse - a solution that we have called 'performance art'. This art form disobeys the cultural ethical theory, it has no lasting product, it doesn't strive for an ideal, it remains in touch with living people. We practise creative disobedience, and that is something our society could do with.