Welcome/ We come/ Me/ We: guerrilla turf action
This guerrilla turfing action was undertaken, unapproved, in Sydney September 2017.
This work was a reactive response to the unannounced installation of a line of anti-terrorism blocks in front of a public square in Parramatta. The square is at a pedestrian crossroad, both a resting and transit space, near a busy road. It was previously a visually and physically open place, in the middle of a highly multicultural community. The line of blocks created a physical dotted line demarking the square; not there one day, there the next.
It raised questions over who held rights to enter, to linger, to occupy the demarked space, and who had the approved rights to install objects in the public square.
The artistic intervention and action was to top 15 anti-terrorism blocks with turf, each rectangle of turf had been shaped to fit the blocks and spraypainted with orange and yellow text. The text used was various fragments of the work ‘WELCOME’ . The vernacular term rolling out the welcome mat applied to the defensive architectural incursion.
Defensive architecture is a term coined primarily applied to street architecture that is specifically designed to prevent ‘unsanctioned’ occupation and use of urban spaces- spaces used by skateboarders, parkours, rough sleepers, beggars are all made less comfortable and available by the specific design of the architectural elements on the street.
The power is held by those with the approved, sanctioned rights to the street.
The guerrilla turfing action was undertaken with the collaboration with Artist Kalanjay Dhir. The turf remained for 4 days, before Council removal with other street rubbish.