This post continues and concludes the last one ‘Electronic Superhighway and more!’ with brief notes on two more exhibitions visited whilst in London last week.
Big Bang Data has been on at Somerset House since last month and has been extended. It deals with the ‘datafication of our world’ and the way that data affects everyone; and it does so through the work of artists, designers, journalists and ‘visionaries’. The subject matter and the approach made it an interesting comparator and contrast with ‘Electronic Superhighway’ at the Whitechapel. It is very definitely a different type of exhibition – multi-dimensional; not purely art/culture based; incorporating elements of science, socio-psychological issues, politics; but with a strong creative element to both presentation and content. And with a ‘full artist list’ featured on its website, there are clearly strong intentions towards that creative aspect – successfully so, I think. In some ways, this show ‘hangs together’ more successfully than the one at the Whitechapel. Is it because it has a theme – ‘data’? Is it because this show seeks to use creativity to make an experience that informs/provokes/entertains/stimulates, whereas Superhighway is a show about art? It is well-organised into sub-themes such as ‘Data and Cities’, ‘Data and Democracy’, ‘Data and Design’, ‘Data and Privacy’, Data and ‘You’. But, then, ‘data’ is more easily organised than a representation of the torrent that is post-internet art/culture. Very different exhibitions, as I said, dealing with some common ground but in different ways, with different intentions, and for different audiences. Big Bang Data is very definitely for the general public/family audience – but it delivers in a creative and sophisticated manner that I enjoyed (despite the inevitable exhibition fatigue that was setting in towards the end).
That didn’t stop me dashing across London, on foot, to visit the Josh Lilley Gallery for a brief look at New Builds.
Installation image, courtesy of Josh Lilley Gallery, London
This small exhibition features just twelve images by four artists – Daniel Gordon, John Houck, Anthony Lepore and Matt Lipps – all of whom are representative of the group of mainly US artists that I find so inspiring and all of whom appear in Charlotte Cotton’s book Photography Is Magic that seems to bring the leading exponents together into something resembling a ‘movement’. There do not, as yet, seem to have been too many opportunities to see representative works ‘in the flesh’ in the UK and this was the first opportunity, for me. The gallery context seems to be the ultimate, intended outcome for much of this work and it was that ‘exhibition-standard’ context that was of particular interest to me – especially at this point in my development of work/practice. With the exception of two very small C-prints from Daniel Gordon, all the works were archival pigment prints; and all have been produced in very small ‘editions’ ranging from 3-5. All, except for the two small DG prints, were produced in 2015, so very recent works.
That leaves me wondering, if I were to proceed down the exhibition route with my own work, whether I need to explore the high quality archival print approach. It’s hard to know what the outcome might be without giving it a go; but as yet, I haven’t found any local print facility that offers this service & where I might feel I could go and talk, perhaps even experiment, without spending a small fortune. Something to work on – I’m certainly glad I found the time to call in at this small show & ‘thanks’ to the Josh Lilley Gallery for putting it on.