Dumfries events – #ParkingSpace with the Stove

Parking Space (#ParkingSpace) is a urban public art event,conceived and implemented by the Stove Network, that resulted from the creatives’ endeavour to take over the entire four-storey NCP Southergate car park in Dumfries and to transform it into a space of linked volumes packed with fun interactive and experiential projects.

I had a pleasure to photograph another art event, Illuminate 2013,  in the car park in Birmingham last year that was part of the Festival of Lights. The car park space there was used as a giant cavern displaying lantern replicas of the famous Chinese Terracotta Army. The adjacent space featured a kaleidoscope machine, LED tubes, light wall drawings and a dance performance illuminated by the walls projections. The attendee’s encounters were primarily atuned to colour, pattern and light.

#ParkingSpace, in contrast, invited the Doohamers to experience a familiar space of a town centre car park as as a place to play outdoor games, view moving image installations, skateboard, share and record thoughts in a black cab, eat, drink and watch movies. So an under-used one-dimensional parking space in the town became a multi-functional, interactive and  feature-rich living space where the artists and members of the public came together.

Like Dante in the Divine Comedy you were led by the Stovies through the levels of the multi storey car park as the series of experiences dislocating your ‘parking space’ expectations.

The upper level curated by the lead artist Katie Anderson was dedicated to street games.

NCP Southergate car park   occupied by the members of the Stove Network for an interactive arts weekend

NCP Southergate car park occupied by the members of the Stove Network for an interactive public arts weekend

Car park as an alternative street games space

The upper deck was dedicated to kids' outdoor games

Street games score board and paraphernalia

Street games score board and paraphernalia

#ParkingSpace visitors arrival

#ParkingSpace visitors arrival

Playing the game

Playing the game

The look of sheer excitement!

The look of sheer excitement!

Rain interrupts the Parking Space games

Interrupted by the rain

The ground floor potholes were encircled by the yellow paint. The row of lowered lampshades were reflected in the puddles disrupting the familiar.

'TheStove.org' entrance

'TheStove.org' entrance - the sign signals the artists' appropriation of the NCP car park

Rows of circular lapshades illuminating the puddles

Rows of circular lapshades illuminating the puddles

Strange yellow pothole circles

Strange yellow pothole circles

Light reflections

Light reflections

The next level was dedicated to the moving image installations. ‘Mirrorlands’ by Mark Lyken and Emma Dove were projected on two walls simultaneously.

Moving images projected

Moving images projected. Seats in the parking bays were made available to pause and contemplate art

Skateboarders from the Mutual Motion group occupied the next floor down transforming it into a fully-functional rink.

Skateboarders in between the car park levels

In-between levels - the skaters' passage

A skateboarder at the NCP Southergate car park in Dumfries during the #ParkingSpace art event

Practising their craft

Taking turns

Taking turns

 

Recording the experience

Recording the experience

Skateboarding lesson for the young one

Skateboarding lesson for the young one

Unpredictably, the skateboarder haven was followed by the sight of a London taxicab parked in the corner of the bottom level. Mark Lyden and Emma Dove, the Stove’s resident artists, came up with an idea of the Gab Cab, a filming studio that recorded users’ relationships to Dumfries right in the cab.

The Gab Cab project by Mark Lyken and Emma Dove

The Gab Cab

Emma in the recording section of the taxiab

Emma in the recording section of the taxicab

Mark explaining the idea of the Gab Cab to the event attendee

Mark explaining the idea of the Gab Cab to the event attendee

Of course, you cannot attend the cinema without popcorn and hot chocolate, even if this cinema is organised in the car park!

Public gathers for the free screening in the popcorn movie theatre

Public gathers for the free screening in the popcorn movie theatre

Alice Francis serves the popcorn at the make-shift movie theatre at #ParkingSpace event

Alice Francis serves the popcorn

Max Fox makes hot chocolate

Max Fox makes hot chocolate

Undecided: skating or movie?

Undecided: skating or movie?

The film screening at the NCP car park organised by the Stove Network

Film screening at the NCP car park organised by the Stove Network

On the way out I was treated to a goodbye wave from a zebra-costumed usher, Moxie the Stove Herald – a perfectly suitable gesture and a final touch to a delightful experience.

A goodbye wave from the Stove!

A perfect goodbye wave from the Stove!

All images were taken on behalf of the Stove Network.