Opening night Thurs 17 May, 5-9pm, performance by Janina Lange, with foley artists Paula Boram, Ruth Sullivan, Jack Baxter and Bridget Whiting.
[looking at the zombies in the mall]:
Francine: What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Stephen: Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.
Dawn of the Dead, George Romero, 1978
Whilst in the familiar, comforting surroundings of a bright clean mall, an upside down is always present. Can you say where you are and what time of day it is – without pulling out your phone?
Low Battery. 5% battery remaining. Low Power Mode. Close.
Dependency on technology is making our lives vulnerable and precarious. What tools might help expedite shopping mall survivalism? We scan shops for shelter. We twist objects for rescue: waste plastics turn camouflage, natural resources provide energy and we use cosmetics to create new guises. Skins like that of a cephalopod, we taste and see with all our limbs. Glancing at the modified physiology of our fingers, conditioned through swiping and clicking, we wonder, can we re-learn to tie knots and make fires out of tampon tinder?
From being on ’stand by’ and ad-hoc prepping for a potential catastrophic event, to silicone skins which trace the smudges and smears of fingerprints, we anticipate, record and rehearse potential disaster. Different dimensions of time overlay in one space and are bundled in objects and prints. The works in ‘Low Batt.’ bear the marks of their own processed-ness, their digital lineage in .jpegs and .obj files.
Departing from a shared concern with the acceleration of technological developments, the artists of ‘Low Batt.’ set out to map fears and hopes for possible futures; neither hailing technological progress as a cure-all, nor judging it, wanting to return to a pre-modern primitive state of being. Non-sterile, hybrid and contaminated – manual dexterity and material approaches meet the use of high-tech tools and 3d mapping.
With thanks to Arts Council England and Croydon Council for support, and to Jack Baxter for the Foley sound recording.