Blue Seven, at Art In Romney Marsh Churches 2014, was a participatory installation within the church of St Peter and St Paul Newchurch, Romney Marsh, Kent. The work was created for the church and, as a commission for Art In Romney Marsh. Visitors were invited to wear one of seven blue cloaks, I’d created, whilst they explored the church. They were encouraged to pose and post photographs of themselves on various social networks. My work was an exploration of the symbolic use of colour within ritual contexts and the hierarchy of costume wearing within institutions. In donning a robe and wandering about the church, the spectator became performer, directing the interpretation of the work by their actions whilst in costume. I worked with members of the Newchurch community who acted as dressers, introducing visitors to the idea of wearing the cloaks.
Newchurch serves as a thriving community center for the village and surrounding villages and the cloaks were worn by visitors there for coffee mornings, cycle tours, the church museum and other socials activities in addition to those there to see the artworks. As Newchurch is full of life, I wanted my work to reflect this. I wanted the experience of visiting a church to become one of communion with space and fellow human being; to celebrate presence, rather than an esoteric absence.
You can see more photos of Blue Seven in action here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahsparkes/sets/72157647693729537/