Turning 'having to wait' into an art form

Wait for it: Wellington artist Victoria Singh in her walk-in art project Waiting Room, in Cuba St. Its focus is to engage people to think about what effect waiting has had on their lives.
Wait for it: Wellington artist Victoria Singh in her walk-in art project Waiting Room, in Cuba St. Its focus is to engage people to think about what effect waiting has had on their lives.

In a vacant shop space in Cuba St, Wellington performance artist Victoria Singh has created a pause in the heartbeat of the capital.

Waiting Room is Singh's performance art experience, which over the past two weeks has welcomed more than 1000 people through its doors and turned the everyday occurrence of having to wait into art. She estimates around 4000 people have interacted with the space in some way. "Some people come as far as the door and take a photo. Some people look in and then choose to come back a couple of days later."

Waiting Room appeared on March 9, intending to run for two weeks, but now has been extended until March 30.

The focus of the piece is to engage people to think about what effect waiting has had on their lives. Singh has transformed the space into a retro reception area where she is the receptionist overseeing those who choose to participate.

She films people talking about their experiences of waiting and has compiled the footage to be replayed at the end of the project. For the camera-shy, Singh has a prepared a questionnaire.

Singh spent 11 years in Canada, learning about performance art. She says the experience is still a new form in New Zealand, and the idea is to intersect everyday life with artistic experience.

"I tell people to go as deep as they like. Some take it as a joke but most people have been really open to thinking about what waiting has done in their lives.

"People are waiting for love, to have babies, even to be famous. A lot are just looking to find themselves, or certainty for the future."

Answers to the questionnaire saw people waiting for a better economic system, Easter and puberty.

Singh says that, once the project comes to a close, she hopes she can use the video footage to create a more permanent exhibit, possibly at a public gallery in the Wellington area.

"I don't want to recreate the installation. I'm hoping the footage, after it's edited, will tell the story."

She's thrilled to have the project extended for another week, because she wants more people to have the experience.

Wellington