A series of short silent videos quote extracts from specific local UK byelaws and laws that affect public space, interpreted into British Sign Language (BSL).
How do we respond, psychologically and behaviourally, to different public and private spaces? Spaces carry particular histories and are inscribed by rules, both overt and tacit. Libraries, playgrounds and shopping malls appear to be benign zones, but they are also spaces under observation that generate information about the people who inhabit them, through CCTV cameras, library card readers and ATMs. Discrepancies and deviations from the norm are noted and corrected.
Multiple layers of legislation 'hyper-regulate' today's open spaces. Some of these laws are outdated (no sheep grazing in the park), some bizarre (hot air balloon take-offs permitted only in case of emergency), some overzealous (police to disperse groups of two or more persons in public places), some simply unbelievable (no tourist snapshots of bobbies allowed).
Many of the laws and bye-laws that apply to public space existed prior to the incorporation of the EU Convention on Human Rights into the UK Human Rights Act 1998, and have yet to be challenged in light of legal and social change. But compliance with the 1998 Act is insufficient as a guarantor of liberties: the title refers to the frequent accessory clauses 1998 Act that allow the rights conferred to be restricted under 'specified circumstances'.
British Sign Language (BSL) encodes meaning in three dimensions of space (as well as time) and is displayed in stereoscopic (3D) format in the viewer. Sign language has its own history of repression, and is strongly associated in the deaf community with freedom and rebellion.
Concept/Film Direction/Production Manu Luksch
Research and production assistant Kerstin Feurle
3D Viewer development Mukul Patel
British Sign Language signers and interpreters Walter Reid, Damien Robinson, Tomato Lichy, Molly Lichy-Garfield, John Wilson
Films: Open call contributions Stuart Bowditch, David Mery, Damien Robinson
Workshop films in collaboration with FLIX
Plastics modelling Windsor Workshop Ltd
Thanks to Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Juan Biain, Mariko Montpetit, John Ashworth, Steve Furlonger and Matt @ Windsor Workshop