Tonight: Mount Force
Image by 31 Days In
We spoke to Loren Kronemyer about her contemporary art installation that has been turning heads across the City of Perth…
What’s happening on Friday? I hear there are horses? and birds?
Friday is the last patrol of Mount Force, an imaginary police force that I created for the City of Perth. Mount Force consists of human officers that are mounted on horseback carrying birds of prey. I created the project in response to the City of Perth’s TRANSART: Experimental Fund, where they support engaging ephemeral art projects that take place in the CBD.
What’s the idea behind this?
For me, Mount Force started with a conversation I had many years ago with an equestrian police officer. I asked him why police on horses were still a thing, and he explained that the high vantage point and intimidating bearing of a horse is why the police still use them. The imposing physicality of horses means that they are effective at parting crowds, herding people, and subduing disobedients. If a person yells at you from a horse, you are more likely to pay attention than if they yell at you from the street. This got me thinking about how certain animals are associated with authority, and how we humans manipulate that authority for tactical purposes.
Australia is a place where security, authority, and surveil
lance is very much part of the urban landscape, and part of a larger conversation that people are engaging with. In Perth, the fantasy of having avian officers is just slightly more absurd than the existing reality of our security apparatus, so most people who encounter Mount Force on the street assume it is real. I’m very interested in using my powers as an artist to create subtle ruptures like these, where reality is pushed just a little farther than people are used to.
Why are displays/patrols/parades/performances like this important?
The importance of anything that breaks the pattern of the everyday is that it keeps people engaged and keeps people thinking about the potential of the world and their city. This work is extremely public and visible, and thus it is intended to be a gentle provocation suitable for a diverse audience. It is part of a conversation that anyone can participate in, whether they engage with it as an artwork or not. I think that there are a lot of valid ways you can interpret this work. Even though I am dealing with aesthetics of authority, I’m not interested in looking at it from a hardline “wake up sheeple” point of view. The fact is, it is part of the city’s responsibility to do something interesting once in awhile, and I think their support of this project hopefully sends a message to other artists – that we don’t have the be The Giants, that we can be reflexive and subversive and cunning and still engage a public audience.
Have you done anything like this before?
I have never worked with horses or raptors before, but I have worked on projects that take place on the street. The most recent would be working with pvi collective on developing their latest work blackmarket, in which an urban area is overrun with performers and audience members inhabiting a post-economic survival marketplace together. Working publicly is a fantastic and humbling experience for any artist, because you have to consider the needs of a much wider audience.
Is there anything else happening on the other than the “patrol”?
Yes; for the final patrol of Mount Force I have commissioned local musicians Mining Tax to compose a bleak, authoritarian synth anthem for the Force. They will be donning the Mount Force uniform to play this and other music at a stop along our patrol route, in Grand Lane between 7:30-8:30 Friday evening. Anyone who wants a good look should meet us there.