In the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, someone close to me referred to their pending therapy session as “Hot tips on how not to be bothered.” All I heard were the book-ending words: hot/bothered. Then, all I could see, were those words replicated in hot, red neon letters.
HOT TIPS is about bridging a gap from here to there. In one sense, it is a jest, an empty promise; it uses the medium of a neon sign—that traditional stalwart of high-impact advertising—to offer HOT TIPS, but there aren’t, in fact, any hot tips, just a nominal offer. We are all being told to stay where we are, to not travel. We are all getting agitated and are being told how important it is to engage in “self-care”. We are all waiting. We hope, though we never know, (or perhaps even want) life to get back to “normal”, whatever that was/is. And so we are sitting in a kind of limbo, slack-tide, horse-latitude. Which way do we want to shift, or move? As we move towards an outcome of this pandemic, it’s as though our boats will be placed on the sea-bed as the tide recedes, but we don’t know where or on what we’ll come to settle. HOT TIPS is a synaptic leap we must make between where we are and where we want to be as our lives begin to realign with…what? How will we be different? At once this sign is supposed to be both funny and obtuse. On the other hand, it is a dare, a proposition, a question without a question mark. It is a proposal to imagine, or to fill in the gap for oneself—what is the hot tip for how not to be bothered?
My thanks to the Owens Art Gallery, Struts Gallery, and their collaborative venture Umbrella Projects for supporting this project and making it happen. Thanks also to Mathieu Léger for his fine photographs of this installation.