It’s quite unfortunate that I was not in Toronto this year for Nuit Blanche and so did not attend this uniquely creative affair. This is not to say that I was not following the event and was not taken and intrigued by many of the exhibiting artists and their creations. Based on what I’ve been reading online, it looks to me that it would have been quite difficult to put a ‘must see’ list together as there were so many innovative installations displayed in all corners of the city. Luckily, a friend of mine, now a resident of Toronto, decided to take to the streets and explore. Luckier still, she was able to experience a piece first hand. One that would have been on the very top of my ‘must see’ list had I been able to attend. Magda Gonzalez-Mora’s (in collaboration with Toronto’s Labspace Studio) ‘Between Doors’ received a lot of attention last weekend. And for good reason! Row upon row upon row of free-standing doors that had been installed on a lawn in Fort York attracted many visitors that night that there had been quite a line-up of eager participants waiting to complete the very creation of this piece through interaction; to be a part of its life and it a part of the viewers’.
Each recycled door in the installation in each row had been very thoughtfully labeled. In the first stage, the viewer was to choose whether to walk through a door labeled “Past”, “Present” or Future”. In the next row, other labels lead to more decision-making on the part of the viewer and so on. ‘Between Doors’ seems to me to have been very much a piece of art as it was a piece of sociological inquiry. This is especially so due to the fact that each door was, in fact, digitally recording data as it was being passed through. Each time a decision was made based on the choices of doors a viewer was asked to choose from, the choice was logged and displayed. This allowed for immediate interaction with those still curious to see how they would ‘perform’. As I had not personally interacted with the installation I had asked my friend to share her experience. She told me that she was very curious about knowing which door she would ultimately decide to open at each stage of the game, as it were. She says: “I wanted to uncover my life decisions and preferences in general, and I thought that it will be a very slow and difficult process.” However, it seems she had surprised herself as to how quickly she had been able to take such life decisions. She continues to tell me that as soon as she entered the installation, she started passing through doors in seconds with no hesitation. It didn’t seem to take her very long at all. “I learnt that I already know what I want and what is lacking in my life”
I’m sure every person’s experience of “Between Doors” varies depending on many things including personality and decisiveness among other traits. However, after hearing of this particular experience I’d like to leave you with two questions that came to my mind. 1) If life choices could ultimately be made quite easily despite anticipating otherwise, why then was this installation titled “Between Doors” rather than “Through Doors”? And 2) Do you think the installation is more than a sociological study of the masses (or at least the interacting audience)? In other words, is the bigger question directed towards the little voice in your head that is preventing you from taking life decisions that will make you truly happy helping you see your true life’s purpose as opposed to what society thinks your life purpose should be? What say you?