A large black cube, viewable only through Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces’ front window, confronts viewers of WITHOUT. Its minimal form, and the limited perspective offered by the street-front viewing space, seems designed to deflect the public gaze. Though legible as an meditation on – and extension of – the legacy of sculptural minimalism, the collaborative, interactive focus of the work is played out away from the public gaze in a sophisticated series of actions and activities accessible only through a weblog called “Outside 200 Gertrude Street”.
WITHOUT enacts a complex interplay between inclusion and exclusion, public, private and virtual space, and the parameters of artistic and community practice. Whilst Panigirakis’ oblique installation may seem designed to exclude any form of interaction or participation, the activities played out within the space tell quite the opposite story. Throughout the timeframe of the exhibition, the window space is periodically blacked out for short lengths of time. During these times, Panigirakis utilizes the space – and the materials contained within the sculpture – to organise, initiate or facilitate a succession of activities with specific groups, each of which occupy different positions in the continuing history of “queer” discourse. At once a protective device and a canny political comment on the inclusion of queer practice in social and artistic histories, this cloaking process nevertheless contains a (mediated) window of insight in which local and global audiences can access the activities.