I Am Nothing Without You, 2015
POP-UP SHOP, Site-Responsive Installation (in conjunction with 2015 Pan Am Games)
Curators: Jim Riley & Rita Camacho Lomeli
Photo mural, astro turf, audio, motorized ball
749A Barton Street East, Hamilton, ON, Canada
What happens if there are no spectators cheering for the game?
We witnessed the absurdity of that scene on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore; the match between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox at the Camden Yards was held in front of over 48,000 empty seats. There was no roar of the crowd, no excitement, and, I can only assume, there was no smell of hot dogs, popcorn, etc. After the match was over, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said “It was just a surreal environment ... I really don’t think we want to play another one like this." Essentially, the game is not the same without the presence of spectators. In this installation, I’m reversing this scene: no players, only spectators!
Sports are heavily capitalized on the fans’ devotion for their teams; sales of team merchandise, season tickets, broadcasting rights, and so on. When it comes to large international matches such as the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, the Pan Am Games, etc., the fan base becomes clearly divided by nationality. Key to the success of the hyped consumerism is the sense of “my” team vs. “your” team, Us vs. Them. So, what happens if there is no team to cheer for? What if there is no “Us” and “Them”?
I’ve converted the exhibition venue into football stands for spectators only by stitching up multiple photos from my personal archive of crowd photos in football matches on TV. The view from the street level window plays another form of spectacle for passersby. However, unlike the playful look from the outside, there is a tension lingering inside the installation space due to the presence of protest sounds: marching sounds of police and citizens, banging on pots and pans, screaming slogans, etc. This audio component of the installation breaks the mundane aspect of sports events, and asks the viewer to question what goes behind the shiny spectacles of international matches such as the Pan Am Games.