The long-vacant GUELPH JEWELLERS' shop front has been transformed by Steph Yates ever so subtly into the MUSEUM OF SUBLIMINAL OBJECTS. A Wunderkammer of sorts, the MUSEUM presents objects of the dream realm—familiar items altered in somewhat uncomfortable ways—and offers passers-by of 41 Wyndham St N the chance for an unusual encounter.
Curious window-peepers of Wyndham Street can now know the grotesque fake flesh of SELF-FEEDING UNITS, the cartoon-like stance of SUSPICIOUS BLUE HAT, the sheer uselessness of KEY TO THE MYSTERY, the taunting dance of PRE-COOKED CHICKEN DINNER, the exhaustive rhythm of SECOND HAND TIME PIECES, the poetic simplicity of QUIVERING HEART, and if lucky, were there to witness the tragic fall of the jiggling CAKE OF FORTUNE.
MUSEUM OF SUBLIMINAL OBJECTS (2015) was an installation by Steph Yates, commissioned by The Guelph Arts Council’s Hatch Program, that occupied a downtown Guelph shop window for three months. The existing shop sign was altered in a way that mimicked its original design—the colour and font were replicated, a MUSEUM phone number replaced the Jeweller’s number, and the original slogan, “Serving Guelph Since 1980,” was reapplied—so that the transformation would go largely unnoticed and the people of Guelph might wonder whether or not the MUSEUM had been there all along.
The sculptures on display were built with a bricolage approach, altering found objects and making paper mâché castings. Many of the objects were animated with small, simple movements using Arduino units. The eyes of SUSPICIOUS BLUE HAT shifted side to side and PRE-COOKED CHICKEN DINNER danced a little dance. Sadly, CAKE OF FORTUNE (molded gelatine embedded with loose change) wiggled its way to an untimely end.
MUSEUM OF SUBLIMINAL OBJECTS occupied Fine & Dandy's window display (2017 Dundas St W, Toronto) during October, 2015.
Those who called the MUSEUM reached an answering machine menu that presented them with three options: 1. Questions, concerns, complaints, and queries; 2. Lost and Found; 3. The Department of Nightmares and Lingering Unease. Around 75 messages were collected from unknown callers.
* Guelph Mercury: Yates has fashioned an array of mind-bending objects that are like the commercial offerings of an absurdist emporium.
* Full Guelph: I’ve lived just down the street for over two years now, and I was pretty convinced that the Museum of Subliminal Objects had definitely been there all that time.