arebyte: July 19 – September 1, 2018
Stroom Den Haag, The Hague, NL: 1 September – 4 November, 2018
CEØ statement: “Nøtel Corporation is proud to present our first virtual reality advertisement for the Nøtel, our flagship range of zerø-star™* hotels that embody the concept of fully-automated luxury. Designed by world-leading architects to accommodate today’s global nomads, you can rest assured that your secrecy and security is of the utmost importance. Why not indulge in the intelligent sound system at the piano bar, or bathe in the glow of our thermal spa?
*zerø-star™ – The Nøtel transcends standard classiﬁcation systems for luxury temporary residences. Our zerø-star™ system refers to the absence of any human workers, allowing you to indulge in a new dimension of privacy during your stay.”
Nøtel is an immersive, two-chapter, multimedia installation by London-based artist Lawrence Lek created in collaboration with electronic musician Kode9 (Steve Goodman). The project installation transforms the gallery into a marketing suite for the fictional Nøtel Corporation, advertising future plans for a global expansion of the hotel chain. The exhibition uses similar conventions of property marketing, including a video trailer and virtual reality, to conjure an image of a future luxury hotel as if it will be developed on site.
Set in a future London, where elite society no longer requires permanent housing but rather stays in temporary accommodation, Nøtel speculates on critical issues surrounding the newly-regenerated areas of the capital, including London City Island, where the exhibition’s first iteration is situated. Nøtel uses speculative architecture as a tool to imagine the future of these developments, and to address ideas around the politics of labour and an automated workforce, juxtaposed with notions of alienation and belonging.
Nøtel proposes a globalised, standardised way of living. Its alternative approach would alleviate the overpopulation of cities and the struggles of obtaining property, promoting an economic model which saves money by replacing humans with AI to complete menial tasks. Nøtel exposes the fine line between cost-efficiency and hyper-luxury – after checking in at the Nøtel, residents are left alone, broaching the question of hypothetical social-realism and what luxurious lifestyle means for future generations.
The site-specific installation relates to the rapid transformation of a post-industrial area into a new vision of urban living. The project was co-commissioned with Stroom Den Haag in the Netherlands, integrating ideas about European globalisation and the city’s political culture of international justice and conflict mediation, as well as its cyber security industry. The project will relocate to Stroom in September 2018. In this iteration, Nøtel is upgraded with militarised architectural features and high-tech surveillance, referring to the billion-euro industry under the moniker of Hague Security Delta – a think-tank, consultancy and interest group connecting governments to commercial tech corporations, weapons manufacturers and cyber agencies – at once representing the official future vision for the region and remaining completely invisible in the city’s architecture.
The project continues Lek's exploration of architectural visualisation as a means to explore the critical and aesthetic issues surrounding urban development. The installation enables visitors to reflect on how digital rendering can manipulate the public's perception of space.
Lawrence Lek creates speculative worlds and site-specific simulations using gaming software, video, installation and performance. Often based on real places and fictional scenarios, his digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality. Recent exhibitions include: 2065, K11, Hong Kong (2018); Play Station, Art Night, London (2017); HyperPavilion, Venice Biennale (2017), Glasgow International, Tramway, Glasgow (2016); SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2016). Lek is shortlisted for the 2018 Film London Jarman Award; he received the Jerwood / Film & Video Umbrella Award in 2017, and the Dazed Emerging Artist Award in 2015.
Kode9 (Steve Goodman) is an artist, producer and DJ, founded the record label Hyperdub, and co-hosts the London-based experimental club night Ø. He has released three albums: Memories of the Future (2006), Black Sun (2012) and Nothing (2015). He is a member of the research collective Audint, wrote the book Sonic Warfare: sound, affect and the ecology of fear (MIT Press: 2009) and is co-editor of Unsound: Undead forthcoming on Urbanomic Press, 2018.