Mireille Eid





Repeated questions/comments on average 20 per day

How did you get in?
How do you get in?
How do you get out?
Do you get tired walking up and down?
Do you get bored?
Excuse me
Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me
Are you allowed to talk?
Are you the artist?
Are you part of the artwork/sculpture?
Are you meant to be in there?
What’s in the suitcase?
What’s this about?
Thank you for doing this!
You’re sick in the head!
Brilliant…very clever…congratulations!
Do you speak English?

Isolated questions and comments:  
A young man Here’s a drink – you deserve it
A middle aged bearded man Who are you?…I understand you
A middle-aged woman Everybody is staying away, aren’t they – they don’t want to know, do they?
A man with one plated strand of hair from the crown of his otherwise very short graying head So Mireille, what else are you going to do for us? back-flip, somersault?
A middle-aged woman Would you like a cup of coffee?
A group of 3 teenage girls Excuse me…why aren’t you talking to us? Are you supposed to be in there, we want to get in…damn it! why don’t you talk to us? Nah! Nah! Nah! We vote One Nation. You’re probably a filthy rich bitch! Why don’t you go home and cook dinner for your husband?… Look, did you see that? Even Americans were talking to us and you’re not, who do you think you are?
A group of 2 men, 1 woman and 2 children. The woman spoke We tried to talk to you before and you refused to acknowledge us, we watched those girls harassing you – it looked like harassment to us – and you still refused to talk. We just want to let you know that your attempt to claim your freedom from within your prison is justifiable and that you have been successful in achieving it. We just want to let you know that you’ve succeeded.
A young woman What are you writing?
Life Saving and Surf Rescuer Would you like to make a donation please?
A middle-aged woman Hello, I just want to say that I think you are very brave sitting here – good luck!
Another middle-aged woman Thank you for doing this!
A young man Hello… I just want to say that I have been watching you for 3 days from my window and I think your piece is great!
A young woman Are you on holiday?

Are you all right? Can you get out if you need to?

Anonymous Are you sick of people talking to you?
A middle-aged woman So when are you going to get your permanent residency visa?
A young man Are you the artist in residence? hi hi hi
A middle-aged woman Good on you… I hope you make a difference
A group of young men Hello…hello…hello…Move your finger if you’re allowed to talk. ha ha ha! Move and we’ll go away. Ha ha ha! OK! blink for us… ha ha ha! …Jeez
A male swimmer Good spot to watch the waves!
A football lands on me inside the ‘Tampa’ where I am sitting immobile for the last hour. It was thrown by a group of young adults. They ask me: Excuse me could you pass the ball? Hello… can you pass the ball please? Will you do us a favour and pass the ball?
A man Would you ask a person in detention now to do you a favour? This is real …this is happening now!
A middle-aged woman Come on, be nice to them and pass them the ball! It’s only a sculpture!
The young woman from the group slithers through the bars and grabs the ball. I break my silence and tell her that she disappoints me  
The same middle-aged woman That’s not a very nice thing to say!
A woman after the crowd has dissipated I just want to say that this was a very powerful performance. Thank you
Anonymous Excuse me are you the sculpturess?
A group of young school children

Why are you in there?


This is the best artwork here, I reckon!

She’s a psycho!

How much do you get paid to do this?

Do you have a boyfriend?

Do you sleep here?

A woman sunbather in a sarong You’ve been here a week now, have you discovered yet what it’s like to lock yourself up?


A group of older school girls

Is this your job?

Why are you inside?

How can you sit still for so long?

Why aren’t you talking?

Anonymous party-pooper!
Anonymous Congratulations – this is brilliant, just brilliant!
A middle-aged woman charges towards me with a big smile holding one bottle of lemonade in one hand and a coke in the other. She says: Hello! Look what I’ve got for you!
I smile at her and say "No thank you" She looks disappointed and moves away looking puzzled!  
A middle-aged woman What time is the enactment?
A young man to a group of friends I think she’s deaf
An artist from Sculpture by the Sea Excuse me Mireille, I just want to say that I also wanted to do a political piece but I thought by the time the show was on, it would be all over! I did do political pieces about the war in Iraq though!
A middle-aged woman Hello…I think what you’re doing is great! I was in Nauru when they took the refugees there and it was disgraceful. They put them in the worst possible place in Nauru… no one goes there.
A writer This is a blight on Australia’s history
Anonymous Nice little jail you’ve made for yourself here!
A young man Do you sleep here?
A middle-aged woman Are you hot?
A middle-aged man Where did you get your bamboo sticks from?
Anonymous very powerful…very powerful!
A woman Is this a fishing trap?
Another woman Why do you wear black?
A young (male) American tourist Excuse me! Are you going to be here for a while? Excuse me… would you mind taking care of my things while I go for a swim?
A woman It’s a long day, isn’t it?
Anonymous Do you have food in your suitcase?
A middle-aged woman with a purple wide rimmed hat I’ve been watching you for a fortnight now and I think this is fan-tastic… and when you stand there and look out to sea from behind the bars…it’s just fan-tastic!
A man Is this about love and sex?
A group of young women

This one looks like she’s inside the skeleton of a beached whale!

No, I think she’s in a cocoon and in the end she’s going to turn into a butterfly!

A young woman Oh my God! if it was me I would’ve cracked up by now!
A group of young women Watch out, she takes photos and puts them on the Internet!
A woman with her teenage son Are you a moron or what?
An adult male Excuse me, I just want to say that I’ve been surfing on this beach for 2 weeks now and I’ve watched you from the water sitting in there in all weathers … I think that’s incredible!
Anonymous It’s hot in the sun, isn’t it! Ah! well! you’ve got the skin for it!
A middle-aged woman Look! I went overseas recently and I was ashamed to say I’m Australian. There was a time I used to hold my head up high and say I’m Australian with pride… but now… we’ve done so much damage to our reputation…
A fellow artist in the same show You know! I’m thinking of doing something political for next year’s show!
A woman Hello, I just want to say that I am also an artist and I don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing. Congratulations, marvellous work!
A young woman I just want to say that I respect what you’re doing!
A young Sculpture by the Sea administrator You know! we keep saying, My God she’s back in there! How does she do it?
A male photographer with tripod Excuse me, could you please stop walking and sit on your suitcase with your head cupped in your hands. Please… please… please…
A middle-aged woman This is my favourite piece. I just want to say that we don’t all agree with Mr Howard. You’ve got my vote! Well done!
A young man Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me…I’m doing a project for my TV and Film TAFE course and I am asking interesting people if they think that Australia is losing its soul. Would you mind giving me an interview?
A man Oh my God, she just took a photo of me!
A middle-aged woman What do your parents think of you doing this?
A man Apart from my need to grab the bolt-cutters, can I get you a drink or something?
An older boy


Hello… remember me I was playing cricket here the other day. Why don’t you want to talk to me?

Why are you in there?

If I get you an icecream will you talk to me?

…Here, I bought you this, will you talk to me now? He attempts to throw an icypole through the gaps

…I’m back, you thought you could get rid of me, didn’t you?

…I’m back again!

A group of older girls (through a note left in the sand)

Dear person in the artwork, I like your work. It is interesting. We think you are cool. From Us.

PS. Have you eaten?

A fellow artist at an Artist’s function Ah!! you’re the performance artist! it’s so nice to see you smile! You look so angry in there!
A young girl You’re a good actor!
A man and a woman

The man: What’s this about?

The woman: It’s about refugees

The man: I don’t care, I think Johnny Howard is good for the economy

A group of 3 very well dressed middle-aged women We were wondering if we were brave enough to come inside and rescue you…They leave me a mandarin and say: Thank you for provoking us.
A fellow artist in Sculpture by the Sea Mireille! this is an aggressive piece, you must explain it to people when they ask you. Most people don’t understand art!
A young man to a group of friends Hey… she’s Lebanese like me!


© Mireille Eid 2003
Back to Identities « Back to the previous page.