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context, collapse
5 October – 2 December 2017

Yuri Pattison’s installation context, collapse, inaugurating the new London exhibition space, mother’s tankstation project, builds upon themes established in recent major works including, user, space, Chisenhale Gallery and trusted traveller, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, examining the complex relationships and contradictions between the aspirational design principles and technology of co-working spaces; and idealised, role-play driven recreational experiences, such as the annual Burning Man gathering.

Pattison’s carefully neutral re-presentation of a new, post-digital normal, unsettlingly reveals a societal shift towards ‘reality’ (what-so-ever that is) filmically morphing into a self-perpetuating end of the world vision of science-fiction dystopia, drawn from pop cultural imaginings of post-apocalyptic civilization. Pattison’s nuanced approach to viewing the world suggests an alternative to a culture commonality of hard-polarised attitudes. Screened on stripped-down monitors constructed into upholstered open-plan meeting pods, streamed, panning footage from Burning Man is adapted and extended by interpolating algorithms and overlaid with live news streams, imparting a spectrum of organically fluctuating data, refracting the distorted and rigidly oppositional communications methodologies encountered daily in our over-mediated society.

Originally conceived as an experiential, multi-sensory, temporary autonomous zone, with sculpture to be burned, alongside dadaesque and situationalist performance art, Burning Man, is largely fuelled (pun intended) by the wealth of the tech community. Celebrating participation and the pleasure of selfless giving (self-expressed), the mass-gathering is sited in a temporary city erected in the Black Rock desert, Nevada, complete with airstrips for visiting private jets. The event creates an inordinately expensive carbon footprint to experimentally envisage a perfect, counter-science-intuited, alternative world, which then conspicuously disappears without apparent trace. Pattison’s remote observation of the Burning Man phenomenon, detached from reality via reframed, streaming webcam imagery, echoes David Foster Wallace’s widely-shared YouTube commencement speech video and subsequent essay ‘This is Water’, in which the writer warns against the culture of passive criticism by those unwilling to actively engage with, and overcome, the quandaries of real world existence (by small but meaningful sacrifices made in “myriad petty, little unsexy ways, every day.”)

Yuri Pattison, awarded the Frieze Artist’s Award for 2016, is currently participating in the group exhibition The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed, at the Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany and is producing a new commission for The Everywhere Studio, to coincide with the opening of the remodelled Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, December, 2017.

 

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