Holy Mackerel


A site specific temporary public installation commissioned by Land Securities and Canterbury City Council for Whitefriars Canterbury

Holy Mackerel consisted of a series of 5 stereo video ‘viewfinders’ which were placed at various locations around the perimeter of the Whitefriars site – a 12-acre building site in the centre of Canterbury – embedded as eyeholes into the hoardings.

Using a technique developed by the artist, first used in ‘Viewfinder’ (2000) – based on the original viewmaster – passersby could view a 3d (stereo) video version of ‘events’ beyond the hoarding – creating a 3 dimensional ‘window’ into the site from a range of vantage points. Eyeholes were placed at varying heights to take into account children and wheelchair users.

The work functioned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, automatically switching between day and night views.

By day the views were a straightforward replaying of events as seen (and filmed) from the same physical vantage point, the 3d effect giving a hyper or heightened sense of the real.

Images filmed for the daytime scenes included builders using diggers and pile drivers; people walking to and from the onsite canteen and archaologists at work on a ‘big dig’.

After dark the views were of the site after the builders had gone home, and on occasion the viewer may have caught a glimpse of something ‘else’ on site. These glimpses were constructed as rare and varied occurrences – intended to be seasonal as well as surprising. The intention was to encourage the viewer to return to the work at different times and in different locations, and for the work to always offer the promise of a fresh experience.

Still from Holy Mackerel