London City Safari

Approximately this time last week, I managed to find my way to Watermans Gallery in Kew to help installation duo Burton-Nitta with their artists-in-residency exhibition ‘ISOCULTURE’.

Rather mischievously, they prefer to remain faceless and let their work take centre stage. Admirable indeed, but while it made some angles a no-go, a little creative thinking made sure I captured an elusive hand gesture in addition to the answering responses from the panel. I am hesitant to give away detailed contents of the day, least it impinge on the development of the exhibition work in some way, but invited guests were taken for a City Safari through the neighbouring streets to envisage how it may be replicated in the ISOCULTURE scenario. The conversations that followed at the end of this safari were, according to my handful of notes, both fast paced and fascinating. I can only assume that I was too wrapped up in simultaneously following it and keeping my eye to the viewfinder, to take proper notes for later reflection!

I remember one of the most significant moments in the debate stemming from the assumed catalyst for the creation of an isolated society. With each member of the panel bringing the knowledge from their individual specialism (ranging from design to anthropology) it suddenly became apparent that each member had envisioned different scenarios, from which they were basing their thoughts. Catalysts ranged from natural disaster, resource scarcity, disease to societal decay, and seem to have been greatly influenced by the background of the individual. Although there was a fantastic conversation where we discussed terrible Hollywood disaster films from which we could base our scenarios, the diversity served to further highlight the scale of the experiment. Before moving onto more detailed aspects of the society, the issue was reduced to the chilling dichotomy of whether this new world would be pre-planned or forced upon us.
Also mentioned in my skeletal notes were scattered insights into formation of different community models and social hierarchies, and comparisons to Neanderthal development!

The exhibition will be growing and expanding through its duration in the gallery, as more exhibits and experiments (of the creative, scientific and thought variety) are added, so it is definitely a project I would be very interested to keep coming back to!

This week should hopefully see some working on some graphic pieces for the duo, which shall include some branding and map making for a guided/themed walk. On the proviso that I can figure out Skype…

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