arebyte Gallery 2018 Programme
For this year's artistic programme, we will focus on and explore the theme of Islands
Reflecting on recent local and global socio-political changes, the programme – launched with a group show, followed by five solo exhibitions, an International residency, a series of online commissions and a professional development programme for emerging artists from outside of London – will be looking at the idea of dislocation and association of space, from both physical and theoretical aspects.
Presenting a series of exhibitions which approach the theme in various interrelating and converging ways, the programme will examine notions of autonomy, ecology, occupation and colonisation shaped and contained by the nature of islands and will include works by local and international artists.
With a look to the more physical interpretations of the word island, the works in the first group exhibition of the programme, titled on my island none of this would be true curated by Chris Rawcliffe, showed work relating directly to London City Island, and the UK as a whole, as way to expand on historical and contemporary references to feelings of isolation, separation and escapism.
Continuing this relation to communities or inhabitants of islands, multimedia artist Lawrence Lek proposes an alternative future for housing with his installation Nøtel, which both criticises urban development schemes and the aesthetic advertorials they require, as well as questioning affordability and scarcity of space in the Capital with relation to rising rent prices and inflation.
Our young artist development programme hotel generation '18 expands on the notions of networking communities and scarcity of space by looking outside of the Capital for emerging artists, and giving precedence to those who are located in smaller cities and areas of the UK.
Mary Mattingly, a US-based artist who aims to build a sailable edible garden and research centre in her project titled Floating Island, also questions the lack of space in the city looking more specifically at areas of publicly accessible green space. The floating garden, an island entity in itself, acts as a way to engage and impart knowledge to local audiences surrounding sustainable and eco-friendly living, and offers free food via the onsite allotment. Different methods of trade, bartering and economy are brought into play with the offer of free accomodation on the island in return for general upkeep of the island.
With his exhibition Fellowship of Citizens, Saemundur Thor Helgason will develop on the notion of labour and how it is financially acknowledged. The project criticises the lack of economic value and precedence given to creative industries and to those with precariously salaried jobs, and seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of a financing scheme which operates as an economic island. The exhibition elements – comprised in part of a new short film and installation-based works acting as effigies to the process – demand a rethinking of the ways in which we consume commercial and capitalist ways of living.
A storytelling, or fictional, approach to the Islands theme is seen in The New Jerusalem by Doron Altaratz, who uses the notion of a pilgrimage to bridge the distance between his hometown and the gallery. Bringing together an array of objects and projection mapping techniques to replicate different 'artefacts', the project – a residency, culminating in an exhibition – critically examines the historical, political and cultural connections between two landmasses; both of which are places of “destination” and evoke undertones mystery and intrigue.
Replication and relocation, as concepts around the overarching theme, are also used by artist Mark Farid and his project Seeing I. For for up to 28-days, 24 hours a day, Farid will wear a virtual reality headset, seeing, hearing and vicariously experiencing what one person – termed 'The Other' – sees and hears. Using bespoke technology, Seeing I directly uses recorded footage of a living person to be 're-lived' by the artist in real time in the gallery, raising questions of the ethics of observation and privacy, and how these affect the self.
The Islands programme is as follows:
The opening show of Islands was a group show, on my island none of this would be true, guest curated by Chris Rawcliffe (UK), featuring works by 10 UK and International artists, whose practices span across sculpture, installation, photography, poetry, video and performance. The show took its title from the last line of a poem called Security, written by Tom Chivers for his book Dark Islands.
Fellowship of Citizens (or ‘Félag Borgara’) is London-based, artist Saemundur Thor Helgason’s (IS) first solo exhibition in London. The exhibition will formally launch the interest group Félag Borgara, founded by Thor Helgason in Reykjavik in October 2017, which seeks to seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of a financing scheme which operates as an economic island, a microcosmic financial system, lobbying for basic income in Iceland. The work operates on a national scale due to legal restrictions, but financially supports BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network), an international organisation that advocates for basic income worldwide.
Lawrence Lek – Nøtel July
Nøtel is an immersive multimedia installation by London-based, artist Lawrence Lek (UK) presenting a fictional luxury hotel chain called Nøtel, comprising an architectural model, video and sound projections, and a virtual reality video game console. The project plays with the format of the marketing suites used by property developers to promote new buildings for sale.
Set in a future London, where society no longer requires permanent housing but rather stays in a range of temporary accommodation, Nøtel speculates on critical issues surrounding the newly-regenerated London City Island. The project continues Lek's exploration of architectural visualisation as a means to explore the critical and aesthetic issues surrounding urban development.
Doron Altaratz – The New Jerusalem August
The New Jerusalem is a month-long residency and resulting exhibition with artist Doron Altaratz (IL) to examine and criticise the terms ‘relocation’, ‘replication’ and ‘transformation’. The project seeks to build a conceptual bridge between the city of Jerusalem (acting as a temporal-historical island) and the London City Island.
By performing a ‘reversed pilgrimage’, Doron seeks to critically examine the historical-political-cultural connection between the two cities. Using photogrammetry, sound, projection mapping and 3D printing, Doron wishes to recreate his alternate version of Jerusalem in the London. Several virtual souvenirs, based on physical artifacts (original or fictional) from the city of Jerusalem and the period of the crusades will be traveling with Doron to London, where they will receive a new materialised reality.
Mary Mattingly – Floating Island [working title] - September
Floating Island (working title) by artist Mary Mattingly (US) is a touring edible garden floating on the river, welcoming visitors to pick up fresh and organic produce food and and promoting environmentally friendly living. Commissioned by arebyte Gallery in partnership with Totally Thames and with nearby Trinity Buoy Wharf (where it will be launched), it creates a regenerative living system that provides food, power, shelter, and water from natural systems.
This initiative strengthens the city's commons by proposing new forms of economies based on community, barter and ecology. It comes from a belief that access to fresh, healthy food should remain a right, highlighting the waterways as a common space. The project aims to encourage community-based interdependent networks to further establish means of resource and skill sharing in their daily lives.
Mark Farid – Seeing I October
Seeing I is a Virtual Reality performative exhibition by Mark Farid (UK) who will live the recorded life of another person – the ‘Other’, a role undertaken by numerous volunteers – for 28 days in the gallery space, made in collaboration with Ravensbourne University. The project tackles the dichotomy of watching and being watched in a digital era where our lives are being increasingly mediated through a screen. In spite of the clear instruction to live their life as usual, will the Other start to perform or self-censor their actions? Will the 24-hour a day surveillance affect their relationship with others?
hotel generation ‘18 November
A UK young artist development programme exhibiting four artists from outside of London. From an open call we shortlisted four artists: Cassia Dodman (Orkney), Sulaïman Majali (Glasgow), Aaron McCarthy (Glasgow), Karanjit Panesar (Bristol). They will each receive a stipend to begin the research and development stage of their proposal. Working closely with the arebyte team, the shortlisted four will be provided with professional guidance, studio visits, critical feedback and general mentoring and assistance. One final artist will then be selected by a panel of judges and receive further funding to realise a solo exhibition at the gallery space.
Resident Group Show – Islanders December
A group exhibition showcasing the work of some of our studio holders in London City Island.