A Happy Arrangement
Inspired by the fictional writings of JG Ballard, A Happy Arrangement combines two sets of images; a series of discarded objects that have been shot in a studio and black and white, abstract images that were taken at the Shanghai Urban Planning Centre.
‘A Happy Arrangement’ was inspired by the fictional writings of JG Ballard. In particular his novel High Rise. The project was shot during a 6 month artist residency in Shanghai. The process involved wandering the rubble left by torn down buildings, as a futuristic archaeologist looking for ancient artifacts. The fragmented objects found in the construction sites have subsequently been shot in a studio, in the same way that a commercial product would be. The artifacts are abandoned survivors, undesirable hints of human presence, left behind because of their lack of commercial value, mirroring the fate of their former owners, whose houses were destroyed to leave space for high profit residential developments, these scraps are conferred a new dignity associated with the aesthetics provided by mainstream consumerist society. By explicitly presenting the remains of a wild gentrification process, the artists raise questions about the role of art as a means to archive the present, within the perspective of an uncertain future.
The fragmented artifacts are contrasted by large scale, abstracted images from the Shanghai Urban Planning Center. The future of Shanghai is mapped out in the form of a a 3D model and we take the vantage point of the planner. Generic tower blocks repeat themselves endlessly amid large scale infrastructure projects and a scattering of more distinctive structures. The city is cleansed of anything old, unplanned or organic.
In Between represents a continual visual dialogue between myself and my identical twin brother. This dialogue has been maintained online since we moved to different countries from one another in 2007 (both originally from England, Anthony now lives in Shanghai and Phillip lives in New York).
Since the dawn of the 21st century, more than half the world's human population now lives in cities. Just as we delineate and influence the form and nature of our cities, so our cities delineate and influence human nature. London is a city that has evolved, often organically, over the centuries, and is a city of contrast, mixing the traditional and the modern. The territories in 'Home' fall into the latter category; places found in and around the business centre of the capital, including the well-trodden paths and thoroughfares that channel us to our city destinations, both above and below ground. Central to this visual investigation is an attempt to 'see' familiar situations and surroundings afresh, while allowing intuition to guide the journey. Honing in on the design of the city, especially the objects within it and the structures and patterns that inform its overall form and appearance.