Show Room: The Language of Living was commissioned by Photoworks and House Festival, and forms part of a wider project titled, The Language of Living. This project uses the breakdown in digitally rendered architectural propositions for luxury living to point to the planned obsolescence that is inherent within the capitalist narrative. It considers this through drawing upon the past, present, and future of areas undergoing regeneration.
Show Room inhabits two sites in Brighton. These site specific installations work to draw attention to the distinct relationship between the architectural design of educational institutions, the historical value of the area they inhabit, and the future living spaces that will be born out of them. It works to challenge the role that education plays in urban regeneration, and the impact it has on the socio-economic landscape around it.
The lobby of the new campus of the University of Brighton on Edward Street houses one part of this installation. The ‘pop-up’ structure of Show Room seems apt in this space, where the campus still appears to be somewhere between construction and deconstruction, archaic and futuristic. As one traverses beyond the completed ground floor of the University and reaches the upper levels, we can experience the dismembered and seemingly forgotten areas of the building, stepping over thinned carpets and laminate boards. The installation on the ground floor points to this hybrid, whilst also considering the future of the urban terrain that surrounds it.
Show Room: The Language of Living | University of Brighton, Edward Street Campus 2016 | Image credit: Nigel Green
The second part of the installation is a series of ‘portals’ that are sited on the hoarding surrounding the demolished fruit market on Circus Street. This area is undergoing regeneration to become a new mixed-use ’Cultural Quarter,’ and will house another part of the University alongside new housing and businesses. The installation at the Edward Street site points to the future of Circus Street, where there will soon be ‘off-plan’ apartments for sale. The imagery used on the hoarding foresees the rendered space of the architectural proposition, whilst also considering the history of this space. Fruit and vegetable stalls will soon be replaced by imagery of luxury living; stock images of fruit bowls will be placed carefully on marble surfaces, whilst ensuring the corporate identity of the university and the development as a whole is preserved. On closer inspection however, these images will fall apart. The ‘Show Room’ at Edward Street further refers to this, by bringing the careless unconstrained proportions and warped pixels of the architectural proposition to which this hoarding challenges, into the physical space.
THE ESTATE: THE LANGUAGE OF LIVING
Performance at Tate Modern, 2016
This performance which was commissioned by Self Publish Be Happy imagined the future of the Tate Modern as a luxury development, turning part of the Turbine Hall into a marketing suite for a brand new selection of apartments. The performance took place a couple of weeks before the opening of Tate Modern's new building. This performance, where the audience were greeted by an estate agent who was selling apartments within the new Tate building, comments on the continuing residentialisation of central London, the privatisation of the riverside, and the role of the arts in urban regeneration.