28 May 2012

Joy in Bats

Jeremy Deller's touring mid-career retrospective, 'Joy in People', opens at the Wiels Centre in Brussels this week.  The culmination of this exuberant exhibition finds its joy in bats rather than people.  The 3D film installation, 'Exodus', absorbs the viewer into the extraordinary experience of bats' flight at its most intense.

Jeremy Deller, 'Exodus', 2012
copyright Jeremy Deller

'Exodus' is filmed in the same Texas caves that provided the final 8-minute sequence of Deller's 2003 film 'Memory Bucket' - in which millions of bats swarm out of the cave as dusk descends.  In this new film he returns both physically and intellectually to his overriding interest in bats.

Although it is the only work in the exhibition which does not include people, its subject is none-the-less social.  Bats live in colonies and are intrinsically community-minded - the film is a 3D reflection of our own species.

The first issue of P.E.A.R. published two different proposals for bat houses in Southwest London.  The open competition to design a residence for bats was initiated by Deller in 2007.  He said at that time that he hoped the home would accommodate different species with different housing needs so that they might live and raise their families communally.

Deller's film of bats in flight causes us to question how we live with others and, perhaps, these bat houses begin to provide some answers.

21 May 2012

Archizines Live

here are some photos of Matthew presenting a P.E.A.R. manifesto on 'History' at the Archizines Live Symposium on Publishing Practices, held last month at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.  The manifesto addressed the historical context of architectural publishing and our paper's role in its continuing present.

12 May 2012

Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern

The Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Tate Britain closes on the 5 June and is worth seeing for the final mirrored room alone. 'Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life' is, as the title suggests, inescapably joyous.  A narrow pathway leads the viewer through a reflected forest of coloured lights.  Although the lights go on forever the installation hints at the mortality of the viewer,  its beauty unmarred by our sense of entrapment. 

The exhibition plays with the dichotomy of exteriority and interiority.  Kusama's film of her early art world happenings, during which she exuberantly covered everything in sight with spots, leading to orgiastic scenes of pulsating polka dots, contrasts with the recent interiority of her psychiatric seclusion and her immersive environments, which are at once joyous in their detail and suffocating in their whole.

images: Yayoi Kusama
'Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life', 2011
copyright Yayoi Kusama
photo credit: Lucy Dawkins/Tate Photography

2 May 2012

A Room with a View

Quite by chance and with fastest fingers first dexterity, the booking was made and I was due to stay in A Room for London in February 2012.

Having lived in London for most of my life and worked on the South Bank, I was already familiar with the river and its surrounds. What struck me, though, was the unexpected tranquillity of the experience. Hoisted, what felt like, several hundred feet above sea level, the Roi des Belges acts as the perfect vessel in which to step out of time.

As luck would have it, it rained for most of the first day, which seemed befitting of the ‘out at sea’ metaphor, and made us less-inclined to go ashore. We people-watched from a fantastic vantage point: commuters, tourists, students and others. All moving in various directions to various places with little time to stop and contemplate. The River’s bird life occasionally stopped by to pay a visit. We investigated the boat’s nooks and crannies and discovered fascinating curios, maps and books: the attention to detail was impressive, and transported the visitor to some otherworldly time and place.

The Roi des Belges is stunningly composed and leaves you with a renewed sense of place in this vast metropolis. So, too, with the hope that perhaps with a brief voyage around the world, it will return to take it’s place, once again on the Thames.

A Room for London

Here is a sneak peek of the feature on David Kohn Architects' A Room For London from the fourth issue of the paper.  Avni stayed the night in the ship hoisted high above the Southbank earlier this year... her experiences coming soon!