A participatory experiment
"I wanted to create a situation in which the audience takes a risk by participating. A situation where a primal, expressive side is allowed to emerge.” - Mukul Deora
On the night of 26th September, 2009, on entering the gallery, you noticed an empty space cordoned off by a velvet rope, with a sign that said "BREAK has moved. To participate in BREAK, please take the shuttle bus downstairs."
The audience then took the shuttle bus to an undisclosed location, which was a sprawling derelict mill 5 minutes away. They arrived at the mill compound, which was barely lit, and had to walk through a long passage until they reached 2 gatekeepers who asked them to sign a legal disclaimer, stating that they accepted full responsibility for any injury that might occur if they proceeded. They were then allowed to pass, and entered a vast, dark space, open to the sky and framed by jagged, crumbling walls. In the center of this space was a new, white Contessa car with some sledgehammers lying around.
The audience then participated in the experiment by smashing the car. 350 people participated with full fervor, ripping out the innards of the car, and even overturning it twice. Participants included top collectors, artists, designers, students, socialites, industrialists and even members of the police forc
It became an energetic, passionate, struggle, in which extremes of emotion were given free expression against that quintessential symbol of modernity, the automobile. It was also a celebration of the oldest natural cycle: creation through destruction. All the people who participated had different reactions: there was road rage for some; an engineer, after smashing the car's engine, said he felt like he had violated his mother; others immersed themselves into the rhythmic physicality of the action. A key element in the whole experiement was the sense of surprise and shock as the audience had come to the gallery to attend a staid art opening, and now found themselves confronting paradoxical and complex emotions in an alien environment.