Studio 01 marked the launch of Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace for artists, makers and thinkers. Featuring twelve artworks from a selection of the first Studio residents, the exhibition prefaced a new strand of programming for Somerset House in 2017, led by the work and processes of those based in the building.
In a world responding to abrupt cultural transformations, rapidly developing new technologies and the ever accelerating speed of everyday life, Studio 01 creates a space to question and reflect on the themes of human behaviour and identity, exploring the construction of the self, the collective and our surroundings in both the virtual and physical realms.
Artist LaTurbo Avedon, the first virtual resident of the Studios, is an avatar, existing purely in the virtual world. In both their work and their membership of the resident community itself, they challenge the meaning of what it is to be an artist when so much of our lives are lived online. LaTurbo’s introduction to the Studios anticipates a year exploring new methods of interaction between artists, where virtual and physical practitioners are brought together as one community on equal terms. This idea resonates in Werkflow’s film for patten’s Epsilon, which sees a 3D simulation mirroring the IRL subject seen behind the eyes of the virtual character.
The ambiguity of technology’s impact on behaviour is another prescient theme, from the potential social benefit of self-organising cities in the work of Minimaforms, to the micro, treadmill-like demands (self) imposed by efficiency and productivity apps in Erica Scourti’s When Everything's Clean We Can Start Again. Superflux’s Dynamic Genetics vs Mann proposes a semi-fictional near-future scenario in which enforced genetic screening determines our individual healthcare contributions. And in Memo Akten’s Simple Harmonic Motion with 12 Lights, code behaves as though conductor. A performance controlled by a custom piece of code, Akten’s work creates an immersive space for reflection, blending the technology and the human in a complex yet seamless way.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Deborah Pearson, Erica Scourti, Gareth Pugh, Ines Camara Leret, Larry Achiampong, Memo Akten, Minimaforms, LaTurbo Avedon, Superflux and Werkflow.
Curated by Estela Oliva in Association with Somerset House Studios