Paul Martin’s Secret

Paul’s going to be PM, it’s a lock, he’ll be dancing around the big office soon, showing off his political self in the moonlight of media. But Paul’s got a secret, I know he does, all of us do, a personal secret, unseen and unshown. Now usually you have to be at least passingly intimate with someone to know and interact with their personal secret. But what I want to do is put Paul’s on display. We don’t get to vote for the man right away, maybe that’s good, it could give us the chance to see what’s inside before we decide what to do with him.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to actually show the secret, it’s a secret, right? What I want to do is to make a box, a really big box, maybe 6 foot by 6 (and six feet high) so the secret stays hidden conspicuously. And I won’t let anyone see right in, it wouldn’t be fair to Paul. But I will make it possible to interact with the secret inside the box. The box will be of a special design with many unusual features. Sticks to poke with, holes with sleeves that allow us to feel without our eyes, listening devices that amplify a bit of the sound that the secret enfolds. Maybe even selective peepholes that let us see just a few of the parts that make up the whole (but never the whole itself). There are lots of possibilities, but no matter how many peeks are allowed we’d never be able to actually see the whole of Paul’s secret anyhow. And that’s the point, to interact with that whole secret something you never can see with your eyes.

This is not a small idea. Paul Martin’s Secret is very large, larger in fact than the box itself (so you can see I need some support from you guys to fit it all in). But it all will certainly fit you know, because even though the whole big secret is always there, the specific form of it comes and goes. You might even say what’s inside the box is more an event than a thing. There are even people inside the box from time to time, enacting their part in the secret’s story. And the visitors who come to see the installation are part of it to. I’ll let them go into the box one by one, with blindfolds on to help them see. Or if they’d rather stay outside, I’ll blindfold them there and let the secret out of the box to interact with them.

Everyone who comes to the installation will be asked what they think the secret is. The viewers views will be put on display and I’ll hire some expert speakers to speak about what Paul’s secret might be. A Love Child says one,“his soul” says another, “a shady summer afternoon from 1981" says a third. Perhaps they are all at least partially right. Twelve blind men all feel the elephant - they might not agree about just what it is, but there’s no denying there’s something there that all of them feel in a different way.

Now I know you might have a few questions here. You might want to ask - why is this an installation? There’s theatre involved and philosophy and even a spiritual undertow that might suck us all out to sea. Well it seems to me that an installation is not just some thing, it’s something to be experienced. Time and story, events and action - they allow us the opportunity to interact more intimately with aspects of our own true self we can’t really see. Action and perception can be a medium just like paint or clay.

Paul Martin’s Secret and the box that contains it will go on display in our studio/gallery (The Territory Orphanage) as part of a larger Territory Landscape we’re working on now. After that it could easily travel to another gallery, along with the viewer documentation of just what that secret might be. So give me the money - I’ll build us a box to help us peek at and even believe the secret we all know is there.

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