Saturday, 12 September 2009

"Digital Hinterlands" Exhibition

At Arup's new exhibition space on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, Digital Hinterlands, curated by Ruari Glynn as part of London Digital Week, is a collection of recent graduate work that uses digital tools in new and unexpected ways. The exhibition's aesthetic of laser-cut, and then bent, aluminium panels makes it feel a little bit as if a klingon will jump out from behind one of them at any moment, a playful atmosphere which is a pleasant contrast to the bland seriousness of the rest of the ground floor, with its hung ceilings, reception desk, and glass entrance barriers.

The work is all of a high standard, and I would recommend popping by to choose your own favourites, but I am going to allow my biases to draw me towards two of the exhibitors.
Hanging Panels

Firstly, and briefly, Tarek Shamma's exquisitely crafted Coptic church in Cairo, the Circus Lumens, a powerful and impossible statement of that religion's continuing presence in a city that forbids it to construct new places of worship. Click here for Tarek's blog for the project.

Circus Lumens

Secondly Jordon Hodgson grabbed my eye, the first time whilst sitting folded in on himself on the floor, simultaneously talking on his mobile and dropping tiny pink beads onto the model of his politely kitsch, and delightful, inhabitable chandelier (pictured below), whilst also somehow managing to look short and delicate, which meant that when I met him later that day at the opening, I almost didnt recognise him for his immense height.

Jordan Hodgson
His project, the Workhouse Of The Infrastructural Counter Reformation, produced last year whilst at the RCA, has a thread of fun, humility, and general delight running through it, woven together with a descriptive verve that makes an impossible future world seem as tangible as one presented in an immersive movie (workhouse meets credit crunch, and the fiscal boost of infrastructure spending, to bring a bout a new urban typology aimed at a British economic renaissance, but entirely drenched in victoriana to ease the anxieties associated with its birth). The models hover on the edge of tackiness, and yet by virtue of the obvious consideration, and serious thought, that has gone into their composition, and the success with which some of them, especially the chandelier, convey a sense of structure, they remain very much within the realm of appreciation.

Inhabited Chandelier

The plan was definitely the most engaging part of the project represented in the exhibition. It was like Piranesi's Ichnographiam Campi Martii, but made entirely of doilies, and used to describe the infrastructure of some sort of large, florid and ornate lunar settlement.

Plan of The Project

Then, around the corner from him was the table displaying some of the models from my final year project, The Church Of Perpetual Experimentation.

With a film next to it, describing the project whose intro can be seen here, and the main film here.

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