London based artist Yuri Pattison’s exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, Pattison imagines a speculative live/ work environment exploring the relationship between Modernist architecture and science fiction, both of which imagine the future as a utopian space of fantastic social and political potential. Pattison is interested in ideas of transparency – from the open communication of data, to the transparent architectures of new models for shared live/work space, symptomatic of the increasingly flexible and permeable boundaries between life and work. Pattison draws on histories of architectural design to examine the origins of these contemporary models.
The exhibition comprises digital and sculptural elements that Pattison has developed over the past 18 months as the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency artist (2014 -16). The installation comprises a series of communal spaces, punctuated by structures designed for individual habitation, including full-scale models of a Nakagin capsule and a Hexayurt. The Nakagin capsule, and capsule tower built in Tokyo, 1972, is a product of the Japanese Metabolist Movement, which championed growth and flexibility in building practices. The tower was built to cater for a new generation of middle class city worker, but has since fallen into disrepair and is now often referenced in science fiction as an iconic symbol of future living environments. The Hexayurt was developed in 2003 by Vinay Gupta and is based on a simplified geodesic dome design. It applies the principles of DIY, hackerculture and open source software to architecture, to produce a structure that is easily and quickly assembled from cheap sheet material. Pattison is interested in the Nagakin and Hexayurt as examples of adaptive, or speculative technology; responsive to changing attitudes to the how we live and work.
A wall of industrial racking, often used in large global distribution warehouses, acts as a support structure for the installation. It houses a bank of networked computers that control LED and natural light to create an artificially accelerated loop of a standard working day. The computers also synchronise and control playback across multiple device-sized screens, which show a series of new video works in which Pattison contrasts contemporary workspaces dedicated to technological advancement, with the interiors of experimental living spaces.
Throughout his residency, Pattison has been working within the evolving ecology of east London’s Tech City; a technology cluster also referred to as Silicon Roundabout, where new initiatives have emerged as popular sites of shared workspace for growing tech and creative start-up companies. Pattison has also been working within London Hackspace – a community run space for skill sharing and workshops, as a means to explore the politics of shared workspace.
Incorporated into the installation at Chisenhale is a series of new sculptures, which Pattison has installed at sites across east London including: Second Home, a workhub for creative companies; Campus London, a Google space for London’s start-up community; and London Hackspace. Each sculpture contains active elements such as a bitcoin mining rig that monitors online transactions and accumulates small amounts of capital. The sculptures are networked to jointly host a website which gathers the research material generated during Pattison’s residency.
Contemporary start up companies within the tech industry often draw on the aesthetics of historical speculative environments, and, the values of progress and transparency are regularly employed as methods for enhanced productivity. Pattison reflects on the impact of transparency on the changing landscape of the city, and how the blurring of lines between leisure, work and domestic space shape an increasingly abstracted sense of time. Through the work, Pattison considers the failed potential of science fiction as a means to critique the present by speculating on a utopian future as we live through the reality of an imagined future.
Image captions from left to right:
enquire for lobby work 2 & 3 (2016). Installation view, Campus London. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Create, 2016. Photo: Manuela Barczewski.
Launch of Enquire to Annotate at Second Home, 2015. Photo: Manuela Barczewski.
enquire for lobby work 1 (2015). Installation view, Second Home. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Create, 2015. Photo: Manuela Barczewski.