The Bartlett Summer Show 2011
With the high reputation that the Bartlett has, I was keen to go down to London for its summer show.
The exhibition was a real eye opener. The work was fascinating and the briefs were really unique. I was particularly taken by the pencil drawings showcasing an extremely high level of detail. I learnt a lot about what kind of work I like from this exhibition, however, I was suprised by my favourite project. Contrasting with my love of the pencil drawings my favourite project was in fact a colourful farmhouse project (pictured above).
LONDON CITY FARMHOUSE:
The City Farmhouse project is a prototype that looks at forming new self-sufficient communities which integrate agriculture and housing within the city of London.
The Farmhouses and vertical colour gardens will be open to the public, and will rely on its colours and visitors to achieve self-sufficiency. Visitors and residents will be expected to make a donation of faeces and urine when they visit the building. These will be used to produce water, compost and electricity for the Farmhouses. Methane gas released by the waste produced in biogas digesters can then be used directly or to produce electricity.
Without its public toilets the community would not be able to survive. The more visitors the building can attract the more power, food and water will be produced. New public toilets will be erected across the borough in order to collect human waste to power the Farmhouses. New communities will begin to grow around the more popular public toilets, creating new Farmhouses.
The Farmhouse project explores the use of colour to attract people to the building and entice them into using the public toilets by using the same principles used for colour in marketing and advertising. Colours are therefore used less for their aesthetics and more for their functional properties.
Nothing in the Farmhouse is disposed of, everything is recycled and reused to fuel something else. Old and new technologies are used to harness energy and food from almost anything, animals are no longer used for their meat but rather as a source of energy. Cows are farmed for their methane gas, electric eels are kept as pets to power the elevators in the building and fruits are used to to power the street lights.
Another striking element to the exhibition was the emphasis not only on the work itself, but also to the way it was exhibited and hung. Several students had made free-standing structures, but in my opinion the most effective were the simply black frames, that allowed the work to breathe, but also provided a sense of hierarchy to the images shown.
September cannot come too soon. Even more eager to get to the Bartlett!