In an era when humanity is facing new challenges posed by big data, bioengineering and climate change, Whitechapel Gallery has invited ten groups of artists and architects to explore the potential of collaboration and offer their visions of the future. They imagine scenarios in which queer desire, house music and fracking meet on a mountainside; grief and microbes generate new possibilities for housing; or machines dispense objects and emotions to support our place in the technological world of tomorrow.
Is This Tomorrow?, running from 14 February to 12 May 2019, takes as its model Whitechapel Gallery’s landmark exhibition This Is Tomorrow (1956), which featured 37 British architects, painters and sculptors, including Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi and Alison and Peter Smithson, working collaboratively in small groups.
The new show features experimental propositions from some of today’s leading architects and artists, including 6a architects, Adjaye Associates, Rana Begum, Cao Fei, Mariana Castillo Deball, Cécile B. Evans, Simon Fujiwara, David Kohn Architects, Farshid Moussavi Architecture, Hardeep Pandhal, and more, responding to issues we face in the 21st century from natural resources and migration to technology and spirituality. Their experiential projects take the form of environments, models, structures and systems, incorporating artworks, objects, film and graphics.
On Friday 15 February, from 11.30am – 6pm, Whitechapel Gallery bring together a selection of the exhibiting practitioners to share their visions of the future at a one-day symposium. This event invites thinking across scales – from the human to the global and the planetary. From considerations of future homes and daily life to possibilities for environmental change, discussions explore how art and design provides new models of thinking through our shared frameworks.
Among the speakers are 6a architects; established by Tom Emerson and Stephanie McDonald, the practice combines a culture of making and innovation with humanity and playfulness in its contemporary art galleries, educational buildings, artists’ studios and residential projects. In conversation with Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum, London-based artist Rana Begum blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her visual language draws from the urban landscape as well as geometric patterns from traditional Islamic art.
Closing the event, visual artist Simon Fujiwara works across performance, painting, video, sculpture, and installation. In his work people, technology, images and objects are tools used to paint a compelling and fragmented portrait of the 21st century. Joining him is architect David Kohn, whose current projects include the refurbishment of the ICA, London, a new campus for New College, Oxford, an architecture faculty in Flanders and an apartment building in Berlin.
Book tickets for the Tomorrow, Today: Art, Architecture and the Future symposium here.
Feature image: Simon Fujiwara. Fabulous Beasts (Ocelot), 2016 (via Art Basel)