Khoo Kheng Lin
The Place that Never Was (III) is a concealed route inside the widened partition walls of an exhibition space in the Central Saint Martin's 2010 fine art degree show. The visitor's first encounter with the piece is an exhibit label above what appears to be a handle-less cupboard door on the end of a dividing wall in the exhibition space. The title reads “Pull the Ribbon to Enter the Place that Never Was” - an invitation hiding in plain sight. When pulled, the ribbon opens the cupboard door. However before the visitor can enter the space, a note behind the door states that visitors are required to put on the attire provided in a nearby changing room. When visitors emerge from the changing room, they are cloaked in hard hats, dust masks, boiler suits and wellingtons. Their identities are obscured when they enter the hidden route.
Once visitors step behind the art works of the degree show and into the in-between hidden spaces of the exhibition, they find themselves standing between unpainted wooden panels held up by wooden frames, forming a narrow and poorly lit path with pens dangling from above. If used, the pens leave no mark. On a wall, an apparently unfinished note states “Please turn on your torch and …”
If the torch on the hard hat is found and turned on, the sentence is completed as the torch illuminates the invisible ink which invites the visitors to “use the pens to divulge your secrets to the walls”.
So, in a hidden space and cloaked in anonymity, the visitor has several choices:
… to carry on walking through the route with the torch off
… to turn on the torch and absorb what is revealed
… to turn on the torch and use the pens.
Finding the Void