Opening: Thursday 12 June 2014, 6 – 8pm.
VITRINE Bermondsey Square is delighted to present a two-person exhibition by Philip Reeves and Jim Woodall, whose practices explore the ambiguity of utopian thinking in architecture and question the spatial limitations of virtual space. The overall concept of the installation is dedicated to New Babylon by Constant Nieuwenhuys, a utopian model discussing how architecture could involve novel spaces for self-realisation and architectural playfulness.
In a way the attempt to invent new architectural realities could be understood as an attempt to build a new capital, perhaps a virtual one. However with regards to New Babylon, those conceived realities are also a critical confrontation with the conventional model of a capital.
In this regard the artists are planning to re-enact Constants’ original conception by building a large-scale installation which consists of pre-manufactured elements from their studio practice. These elements emerged during several journeys the artists have taken, capturing spatial impressions on various journeys through Second Life.
The manner in which these journeys were undertaken, are followed by a method established by the Situationist International: thedérive, as defined by Guy Debord. The dérive is an unplanned tour through an urban landscape, entirely directed by the initial feelings an individual perceives about the experienced environment at the given moment.
Using the dérive as an originator of their journeys, the artists traversed an area of Second Life known as Sharp Continent. This continent is subject to the highest population decrease in Second life and can be compared to a failed Utopia. It includes large areas of abandoned land, which have become prone to digital decay and influx of ‘cyber squatters’ who are utilising the area without paying subscription for it. During their walk through this digital realm, the artists compare the various conditions of online life and Constants utopian ambitions in New Babylon.
Reeves and Woodall recorded their virtual impressions on film with the aim to shape the production of the installation modules. Not only have they used these recordings to exemplify the installation, they have also decided to combine these with further footage from the outside world. This footage is supposed to draw a parallel to the virtual space by using visual components that correspond with the virtual composition of the Second Life recordings.
The exhibition will therefore be accompanied by a screening that enables an insight into artistic process and reference material of the overall project.