London Gallery Visit

I visited a few galleries in London today:

James Bridle, Seamless Transitions at The Photographers’ Gallery

Kim Asendorf & Ole Fach, Computer’s World, at Carroll/Fletcher

Helen Benigson, Anxious, Stressful, Insomnia, Fat at Carroll/Fletcher

Jesse Hlebo, In Pieces at Edel Assanti

Christopher Hanlon at Edel Assanti

Virginia Overton at White Cube Mason’s Yard

John Gerrard, Farm, at Thomas Dane

Peder Balke at the National Gallery

I wrote a lot of notes that I’m still going through, but I have some initial thoughts about the use of the ‘fly-through’ in the James Bridle and John Gerrard pieces. There’s a difference between the fly-through as an architectural visualisation technique and the same thing in a computer game. The first is a controlled point of view, designed to offer an idealised authoritative image of an unbuilt (or in this case an imagined) place, whereas the second is offered as an overview of territory that will soon be navigated by the user in an interactive, first-hand way. One shows, the other previews. Bridle’s piece reminded me of Escape from Woomera in terms of its content, although clearly not as gamified as this. There is probably a useful comparative study to be done of these two works.

Gerrard had more in common with Craig Kalpakjian‘s work, in that it seemed to situate itself within the genre of monumental photography (a la Gursky) rather than gaming or architectural visualisation. Why is Gerrard’s simulation shown in this very gallery-friendly, high-art way? Why isn’t it a downloadable software application? Or a screensaver? Does the critique it claims for itself function in the rarefied confines of the gallery?