Friday, July 13, 2007

What's sinister, futuristic and full of s%*t?

Why does modern art get such a bad press? The promotional blurb for the current Atelier Van Lieshout art installation on the South Bank might give us something of a clue:

"Board Room presents a series of models and urban plans alongside a dinner table laid with hand-illustrated crockery, all of which relate to the fictional SlaveCity, a dystopian metropolis which Atelier Van Lieshout began to develop in 2005. This sinister futuristic city acts as a model for social and environmental self-sufficiency, at once utopian and authoritarian, employing communist working methods to take the notion of productivity and profit to the extreme. SlaveCity is an evolving, ever-expanding project that envisions this hypothetical business-cum-city and its economic structure in elaborately worked out detail."

I'm intrigued that SlaveCity is both dystopian and utopian at the same time. This may represent a fundamental ambivalence on the part of the artists involved and be evidence of a powerful dialectic at work. On the other hand, it may suggest a writer who hasn't yet invested in a dictionary.

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