Placebo Queue

Roman Ondak, Good Feelings in Good Times, Frieze Art Fair, London, 2003

Roman Ondak, Good Feelings in Good Times. Frieze Art Fair, Lon 2003

So this is an idea I’ve been toying with since I started this research. And finally I’ve decided it is the route I should go down.

Context: Sweden
- the swedes are perhaps the best queuers in the world.

System: Queues
- they are spontaneous
- a symbol of order & civilised behaviour
- have their own rules
- culturally dependant

The natural ability for some nations, namely the Brits and the Swedes, to form queues when waiting is said to be a sign of civilisation and order. However some argue that it’s a mindless conditioned behaviour to follow the rules, and that those nations who don’t queue are more aware of what rules ought to be followed and what rules they know they really just have to go through the motions on. So if we can get people to question the queuing system, perhaps we can make them more aware of their inbuilt cultural behaviours and thus give them a space to re-evaluate their behaviour.

Fake queues are not uncommon. However many of these queues come from a top down, advertising-driven approach. Roman Ondak (above) is one artist who staged a static queue at the frieze art fair – a performance of a “moment of non-activity”. So what if a queue was formed from a more bottom-up approach? By the people, for the people.

Previously I’ve been trying to add errors to the queuing system to see how people behave when rules are broken, and things don’t work as expected. Now the next step is to subvert the queue itself. To take something that symbolises order and efficiency and process it through an absurd and playful lens. Basically a queue that leads to nowhere. Similar to Roman Ondak but I’m interested if people begin to join the queue, behaviours that arise from people waiting without needing to wait, and if passersby notice this error of social code, and question their perception and understanding of it.

The date for the staged queue will be around the end of March. I’m looking for a strange public space in stockholm to stage it and hope to bring some extra props – tents, korv grills, musicians, to elicit different experiences. Come!! All are welcome.