Tuesday – Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 12-6pm
The Architecture Foundation’s Yard Gallery
49 Old Street, London EC1 9HX
+44 (0) 20 7253 3334
The Architecture Foundation shows the dark side of architecture and design in a new exhibition.
‘Don’t Panic!’ is a new exhibition at The Architecture Foundation’s Yard Gallery that presents alternate visions for now and the near future that concentrate on the fragility of human behaviour.
‘Don’t Panic!’ features films, architectural projects, design products and installations by recent graduates and tutors from the Royal College of Art. These address the realities of contemporary life that architects and designers usually ignore: fear, danger and the fragility of human behaviour. It embraces and celebrates a world full of contradiction and complication, a society obsessed with youth, beauty, media and celebrity, a society where what we believe to be true has more value than empirical truth, a society obsessed with itself and its own desires, a society searching for instant gratification, a society in which fewer than 50% of us describe ourselves as happy.
Films include ‘Desire Management’ by Noam Toran, celebrating the use of domestic products to engage in unorthodox experiences, and ‘Driving With The Jones’ by Nicola Koller, in which the English countryside succumbs to tragi-pathogens.
‘Subversive Sightseeing’ by Tim Simpson uses a coin-operated tourist telescope to view an apocalyptic London landscape, with mushroom clouds and the London Eye on the verge of destruction. Andrea Goecke’s ‘Cute Politics’ responds to the growing population of Kidults who prefer to vote for reality TV contestants than for politicians.
In the courtyard sits ‘The Great Indoors’, a new installation by Tomas Klassnik. This breeze block faced shed is designed for a population sustained by a diet of uncensored electronic stimulation and takeaway meals delivered by low paid immigrant labour. Communication between these two parties seeps out through the walls of the house itself. The roof is pierced by a 12m timber ladder from where you can chat to neighbours through the built-in megaphone.
‘The Great Outdoors’ is surrounded by Matthias Aron Megyeri’s ‘Sweet Dreams Security’ – a defence system of fences with bunny rabbits for railheads, razor-wire woven with butterflies, padlocks shaped like teddy bears and feline CCTV covers that all help to make safer, happier communities. Megyeri also presents a new work in which security alarms become the construction blocks from which you will build a house – where safety becomes an integral part of the building.
The work in ‘Don’t Panic!’ is inspired by seminal projects that have encouraged a more critical approach to design, such as SUPERSTUDIO’s films in 1960s, Rem Koolhaas’ early proposals for London in the 1970s, NATO’s magazines in 1980s, and the work of Dunne and Raby, the architectural designs on display aim to move design beyond a blank optimism of the future and to use the disciplines of architecture and design as mediums to stimulate discussion and debate.
The writings of JG Ballard and selected Metro Newspaper front-pages are presented to show the convergence of fiction and reality’s dystopian version of the future. The exhibition title is taken from a Metro front page reporting on the Bird Flu epidemic. ’Don’t Panic!’ does not aim to provide design solutions, but rather to pose simple questions: ”Who are the people we are designing our infrastructures for?”, “What will their values be?”. Teetering between fiction and reality, the projects presented in the show grapple with an everyday reality of a society saturated with contradiction and dilemma.
‘Don’t Panic!’ is curated by Gerrard O’Carroll, designed by Joel Dunmore and David Pierce with graphics by RCA students Quentin Walesch and Catherine Guiral.
Exhibitors include Elio Caccavale, Joel Dunmore, Dunne and Raby, Jordy Fu, Andrea Goecke, Tomas Klassnik, Nicola Koller, Mathias Megyeri, Metro, David Pierce, Sally Quinn, Tanya Rainsley, and Noam Toran.