This is an archived page from the Website Archive of British artist Ellie Harrison from Version 3.0 (active 2008 - 2015). New website:

last updated
15th July 2015

This was a site-specific installation made for the unusual setting of the first Oeen Group Show - an exhibition housed in a container on the second floor of an operational building site in central Copenhagen. Visitors to the gallery had to first navigate the building site, wearing protective clothing and climbing scaffolding, in order to reach the exhibition.

Self-Destruction (Building Site Ballot) required visitors to participate by casting a vote as to whether or not they thought the ‘artwork’ was any good. In this case, the word ‘artwork’ referred to a miniature model version of the container (being used as the gallery), which was positioned precariously on the edge of an institutional desk.

On entering the container, all visitors were issued with a piece of gravel. They were asked to use this gravel to cast their vote, by placing it through either the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ holes in the top of the artwork. The more ‘no’ votes the artwork received the more perilous its positioning on the desktop becomes until it eventually topples off and fall into the tub of cold water below.

The audience were asked to make their decision carefully. If they voted ‘no’, not only were they declaring the ‘artwork’ to be no good, but they were also subconsciously assisting in its destruction. Those with a fear of heights may have their decision swayed by the fact that the vulnerability of the ‘artwork’ strongly resembles their own predicament whilst visiting a gallery on a building site two stories above ground level.

Within the installation the instructions on how to vote were given to the audience by the ‘builder’ who appeared, in scale with the model of the container, on a miniature TV screen alongside. The builder takes an unsympathetic role, not convinced of the artwork’s worth she calls on the audience to help make the final decision.