‘Old Wives’ Tales’ is an interactive installation created with the intention of offering a space for female victims of domestic and sexual violence who have been disenfranchised by the court of law. The phrase ‘Old Wives’ Tales’ is often used when referring to stories embedded in folklore, those which are exaggerated and seen as superstition or spurious in nature. A set of ‘false truths’ usually passed down from older w[x]men to the younger generations. By re-appropriating this term, we aim to give platform to these truths which have been rejected by justice and to solidify them in architectural material.
The wxmen using this installation will first pass through the door into the liminal space of Gloucester Passage where they will be instructed on the participation required through a series of glazed floor tiles, accompanied by audio. They will then enter a ‘crossroads’ where they will be able to discreetly exit the experience through an exterior door. They will then go on to contribute a part of their written truths onto tiles, which will act as the building blocks to create a structure where truths are the foundation and bones of the space, a subversion of a domestic dwelling within the threshold of the Gloucester Street arch. The project was driven by two important temporal elements: the spatial experience of the participants during ‘construction’, and the experience of those viewing it during the night-time when the material and process is enhanced by the contrast of light.
Majority of sexual and violent crimes happen to wxmen behind closed doors, often in their own homes by those who are known to them intimately and familially. The system, as it stands, often creates a palimpsest of victim statements. ‘Old Wives’ Tales’ invites those victims disenfranchised by it to cross their own thresholds and open the figurative, and literal door, into a space for their truths to lie.