Neutral, not so

Preston, Julieanna. "Neutral, not so: demonstrations of interior surface." In Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design, edited by Lois Weinthal and Graeme Brooker, 117-128. London: Berg, 2013.


How does an interior surface participate in the politics of neutrality? In 2009 I repaired the wall surfaces of a small institutional office space as a creative form of protest against the pervasive use of neutrality as a political position and material quality without bias. This performative installation, entitled Neutral, no so, tested the political agency of a generic interior surface. A script, scribbled on the wall, structured a typical nine-to-five work day as a one act play with nine scenes that prompted a repetitive sequence of work tasks. The performance cycled through acts of repair (cutting, filling, sanding, wiping and painting seventy-nine holes left in the walls by the removal of shelving), oration (reading aloud from texts on topics associated with neutrality) and documentation (archiving each scene through still and video images). This book chapter registers and traces these acts and the capacity of these walls, these interior surfaces, ‘to speak.’


Credit: Tristan Maxwell, video editor

The Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design is available on Bloomsbury