‘Design for a Carnival’, which started out in 2003, is an evolving project. It exists as a series of videos, re-mixed music, billboard projects, drawings, large scale public art works and small ephemeral events which collectively propose an entirely new form of festival – a model for a community to engage with each other in a way which is full of play and disorder, free from commerce, words, reason, and fixed hierarchies or identities. But this is a community which is fragmented – its identity apparently rooted in the ‘local’ yet networked internationally as the carnival migrates across a number of spaces and times:
Lace-making catalyses a new method of DJ-ing; A large billboard sign in Turin announces a meeting in a Hotel bar in Haiti; Local teenagers destroy and carefully reconstruct a woodland sapling; Ants prepare a constellation of sparkling sequins on their ant hill; Baseball caps are burned on flaming pyres; A collaboration with fashion designer Jonathon Saunders, will see a colossal dress specially tailored to ‘garland’ an 80ft high wind turbine. Clothes are swapped between countries and micro-parades are mapped out to vaccilate between places 100’s of miles apart. To document the carnival an elaborate structure made of bones and telephone cable is created as a camera filter, the resulting images acting as a mask for its audience and subject. Together, the outline of an event is being suggested, a tentative sketch, ambiguous, dark, excessive and joyful, far from the safety of the contemporary, commodified, urban street festival. But is everything Chodzko shows us in Design for a Carnival preparation for the carnival’s future existence? Or is what we see the carnival itself; a carnival of preparation, of allusions and ideas, taking place here in the gallery itself?
Later works such as ‘Test Tone for Landscape’, ‘Night Shift’, ‘Next Meeting’ and ‘Bone Mask Filter Tour’ may be considered spin-offs from the ‘Design for a Carnival’ project.