Floating between Couches and Motels

The Herbert Smith Freehills Law Library is currently showcasing an intriguing exhibition that would make any of us think again while checking in at the next hotel.  

Dr Carolyn McKay, Sydney Law School Criminologist and artist, has designed a unique installation that looks at transgressions that take place in hotel rooms. 

The idea came to Dr McKay while teaching criminal law at the Sydney law School.  

I have attempted to theorise the motel room as a site chosen for criminal transgression, asking: What is it about these private-but-shared spaces that enables, perhaps beckons, criminal behaviour? And what tangible and intangible traces remain?

Dr Carolyn McKay

Utilising neon light, the installation uses words and phrases that evoke a sense of invaded privacy and lost optimism of the motel spaces McKay visited during her research. Party lights suggesting good times juxtaposed with neon words hinting at the evil deeds that took place within the hotel walls. 

Dr McKay explains: “These selected phrases seemed to be particularly evocative and almost poetic; together they are suggestive of a unique crime scene. Motels are supposed to be places of restful stay or holiday, but these phrases subvert that concept.” 

More information on Dr McKay’s Crime Scene Motel Project 

Floating between Couches and Motels is currently on display at the Herbert Smith Freehills Law Library. 

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