David Blandy – The End of the World
Extended: The End of the World reopens Sat 15th January and will close 27th January 2018, Seventeen Gallery, London
Until Jan 27
Review in Time Out London, by Eddy Frankel
Comprising three film installations and new series of photographs, ‘The End of the World’ deals with the artist’s relationship to technology and memory, speculating about Armageddon and a loss of connection to the server.
The installation The End of the World (2017) is film work projected onto three screens, enclosing the viewer in a planetarium style view of the solar system. The accompanying audio monologue intertwines examples of end times, examining its differing cultural forms. The narrator touches on macro ideas effecting nations - genocide, climate change and more personal, intimate moments of loss and grief. A section of the film appropriates chat-room text from users of Asheron’s Call, a multi-player online role-playing game, whose servers where recently shut down after 17 years of collective game play. The users gathered to communally experience the end of their world, publicly narrating their emotions.
The Archive (2017) is a film made inside the Hans Tasiemka Archive, using 360-degree filming technology. This sprawling resource is run by 94 year old Edda Tasimeka from a 1920’s semi-detached house in Golders Green. Amassed over decades, it's a collection of hundreds of thousands of idiosyncratically catalogued newspaper cuttings forming a web of interconnected stories and information. Masses of cuttings are kept all around the house, from the toilet to her garage, categorised through subjects as diverse as ‘The Family’, ‘Isis’ and the ‘Kardashians’.
HD Lifestyle (2016) focuses on the physical nature of the screen, its component elements and the cost of their extraction. Blandy notes the physicality of the Cloud, the ocean floor cables and rare earth minerals extracted at such an environmental cost that the Chinese state has designated specific ‘sacrificial zones’ - concentrated toxic wastelands permitted in order to maintain high levels of production. The material forms of the Internet are countered by the users desire for dematerialisation, to be brought closer to the information, the game, the experience, to reach through the screen and interact directly with content.
The exhibition is completed by a new series of photographic works, images woven into a digital collage, finding equivalence between geology and technology, silicon chips and cosmic matter.