LOST PROPERTY 2071, 2017 | household dust, labels | 1200 x 750 x 150 mm approx | A residual residency at London Bridge Station with Beyond Platform 7 | 23 – 27 September 2017 | In acknowledgement of George Orwell’s connection with the London Bridge area and in homage to his dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty Four (the title of which is an inversion of the year in which he wrote it) I created, for my residency at London Bridge Station, Lost Property 2071 (an inversion of the year 2017). It imagines an inverted future, where, instead of acquiring status through personal property and possessions, it is garnered through want for nothing. Attachments are thus here relegated to the dust heaps of history.
As I was looking into the year 2071 I also stumbled upon Anno Domini 2071. Written in 1871 by the Dutch scientist Pieter Harting it imagines a future but seen through a lens of the past. It begins with the narrator settled in his comfortable chair pondering the predictions made by the 13th century scholar, Roger Bacon that actually came true by the 19th century, and who then finds himself as he dozes off, in the year 2071. Here he is greeted by a noble old man whom he recognises as Roger Bacon and a young lady named Miss Phantasia and taken by them on a tour of Londinia, a megalopolis, formerly London but now extending deep into the southeast of England. As they take him further on a flight by airship, he learns from them of great scientific and technological advancements and changes in the moral and political landscape.
LOST PROPERTY ITEM: DUST JACKET, 2011 (reworked 2017) | household dust, cobwebs, lint | 530 x 343 x 50 mm | According to Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly in his essay on Brummell and dandyism, dandies took to rubbing their clothes with broken glass, until they took on the appearance of lace, became “a mist of cloth,” scarcely existing as clothes.
LOST PROPERTY ITEM: CHILDS SPECTACLES, 2017 | household dust | 85 x 30 x 10 mm
LOST PROPERTY ITEMS: Anno Domini 2071 by Pieter Harting & George Orwell’s 1948 diary, 2017 | household dust | An 1874 Japanese translation of Harting’s book also revived and sparked a vogue of mirai-ki (future history writing), a practice originating in the Heian period and first attributed to Shotoku Taishi (574-622) who supposedly had the power to foretell the future.
LOST PROPERTY ITEM: iPHONE, 2017 | 125 x 60 x 8 mm | As we now sit back ensnared in the false sense of security offered by the things we choose to surround ourselves by, and ponder Orwell’s future imaginings, we see, like with Roger Bacon’s predictions of the 13th century, that his predictions too are coming true. We see that our most personal possessions and attachments are now looking back at us, watching our every movements and influencing the way we think, move and speak. We are indeed, like Pieter Harting’s narrator, dozing off into our future, and when we are not completely lost to the world, it is Orwell rather than Bacon who is our guide.
LOST PROPERTY ITEM: CAMERA, 2017 | household dust | 100 x 60 x 60 mm
FUTURE SAVING, 2015 | household dust | 250 diameter x 25 mm
HOME SWEET HOME, 2007 | household dust | 153 mm diameter
TABLE TORNADO, 2010 | household dust, shoebox | ‘Table Tornado’ was my response to an invitation from Kids Company and The Bryan Adams Foundation to a project called ‘Shoebox Art’ a unique auction and exhibition of work by leading artists in support of Kids Company’s invaluable work with vulnerable children. Artists were invited to recreate a room from their childhood inside a shoebox. ‘Table Tornado’ was a recreation of my family dining room, where I spent many hours at the dining table; drawing, chewing and imagining worlds in a desire to escape a domesticated mundane existence.
VACANCY, 2009 | household dust, cobwebs, suitcase | 660 x 360 x 140 mm | ‘Vacancy’ explores the corporeal traces that might be left behind in a vacated room by its numerous past inhabitants. The room (suitcase) has the suggestion of solitariness but, with the mingling of dust from more than a single past occupant, there is an unseen underlying communion.