Lost Property Office


Do we lose things because we didn’t want them? Do we forget things because we desire to revisit the place we left them? What happens if we lose our inhibitions? Our hopes? Our hearts? Visit Gretel’s collection of ordinary and magical lost things, and hear her story.

“If you have ever lost anything, this is the place for you!”

The Lost Property Office is an interactive installation and performance by Bernadette Russell, with: Fred DeFaye (sound design),Sam Jones (photography), Sadie Cook (flyer design). Thanks to Gareth Brierley (director for the performance) , Ben Carrick , People Show, Debbie Malynn,and all those who contributed their stories

The Installation

The Lost Property Office is an installation of objects and sound, each item with a luggage label attached bearing its story. The stories were submitted initially by people responding to adverts in the press, and through social networking sites. I also spoke to people, and visited schools and old people’s homes. I then matched the stories to objects, picking something that most aptly represented that story.

I interviewed and recorded people speaking about things they had lost and sourced sound effects and music to accompany the installation. These recordings were given to Fred DeFaye who created a sound design (there is music installed in several items, so as you walk around the installation you hear voices, snatches of music and sound effects)

The office is curated by the character Gretel, played by Bernadette.

She has lost her memory. And surname.

Each day the collection grows as Gretel interviews visitors to the Lost Property Office and finds an object to match their story. Visitors during the day fill out a lost property form and have their picture taken if they wish, they can sign the form or remain anonymous. The forms are displayed as part of the installation.

Nestling alongside the socks, biros, and mobile phones are other more precious and magical things: love, inhibitions, hearts, hopes, and fears.

The performance

Visitors are invited to return to the live performance, to hear Gretel’s own story and that of her friends, when the Lost Property Office is revealed as a magical place of hope. The performance takes place inside the installation and lasts for 20 minutes. The script as  informed by stories found during the devising process. The objects in the office come to life. The audience are invited to look around the installation and read the stories if they have not already done so.