Audio description of Steve Carr’s ‘Watermelon’, 2015

We are in the process of licensing images of Watermelon for online. In the meantime, an excerpt from the work is available on the artist’s website.

Steve Carr – Watermelon, 2015 on Collections Online


This work is 33 minutes and ten seconds long. I will be describing from the perspective of someone facing the screen – so, our right, our left.

The work begins.

In the centre of the frame, an oval watermelon sits like a large egg on end, on a smooth white surface, its shadow dark below it, and lightly falling to the left. It’s green, marked with darker, blotchy vertical stripes. The wall behind is pale brown.

One from either side, two pairs of hands reach out over the watermelon. The person on the left holds a pale brown, thin, rubber band partly open with their fingers, and the other quickly takes this into the grasp of theirs too, as they meet above the fruit.

Together, they slip the open band down the sides of the watermelon, until about the centre. They let go, and it snaps onto the skin.

Throughout most of the video, no more than the hands and forearms of these people are evident. From time to time the elbow of the one on the left comes into frame. Both sets of hands have bright red fingernail polish on, it flashes as they move their fingers.

The hands repeat this band stretching and snapping process over and over with a new, thin rubber band each time. At first they line them up, making a band of bands that rises above the first. Then they start to put bands over bands.

Each time the hands pop into frame, their shadows are cast on the white surface for a moment. The timing of the band placing is a bit erratic, sometimes, as we wait, it takes longer for the hands to reappear and another band to be readied, stretched out wide, then slid down and snapped onto the fruit.

Band by band, they build up around the green oval body. Each time the hands place a band, the melon moves a bit, a little wobble on its base.

58, 114,136 bands – the relentless banding has been going on for almost 15 minutes.

Suddenly, below the bands on the right, as the next band takes hold, tiny bubbles break from a hole, and burst, a little flurry of froth escapes the skin. The hole keeps on leaking this foamy juice from now on, it dribbles down the skin and pools at the base.

The band layering continues. Ten bands on, the next band can’t stand the strain and breaks. It’s held in place, it doesn’t fall, flips a little loop to the right of the watermelon, then dangles at the back.

184, 223, 255 bands. About 27 minutes.

A clear drop pops out of the skin below the bands on the left, and ever so slowly, slowly dribbles down to the white surface, followed by others.

Hands appear, the band is offered, opened and placed. The melon rocks, now on a little pool of fallen foam and droplets.

The band of bands is about a thumb’s length wide, and many bands deep. Its tight grasp encircles the watermelon that swells out above and below it, like a blobby figure eight. A tiny crack appears widening the hole where the foam fizzes.

Almost 33 minutes of slow, intentional band placing, the 307th band clicks into place… then the watermelon flies apart – the top half pops into the air and thumps down onto the surface to our left. The lower half jolts, and lands a little back and over to the right. The rent halves rock themselves back to stability.

Their pink, seeded tops are uneven, melon pieces have splattered across the white plane, demonstrating how forcefully the fruit has been ripped asunder. More is missing than is evident on the table, pink watermelon flesh has travelled beyond this frame.

To the right, a solitary band has landed on the surface. It’s almost doubled over, it’s bright pink from the juice of the severed melon.