Yesterday we had a rather interesting talk from Sam Kebbel of Kebbell Daish Architects, discussing Joanna Langford’s The Beautiful and the Damned – a piece currently installed in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery.

The artwork creates an ethereal urban skyline, pieced together from the glowing windows of unbalanced buildings, with a sharp scale shift provided by the odd street lamp. This is all constructed from the soft glows of backlit computer keyboards, and the odd street level LED – producing a memorable, sublime image of the urban landscape. (more in the introduction)

The stunning use of materials is a great neighbour to Fiona Hall’s Force Fields, which feature similarly inquisitive recylcings, except utilised at a smaller, and more natural scale.

Between Sam’s lecture and the audience discussion, the piece was given a number of architectural interpretations and contexts. To try and assert some sort of common-thread to the discussion, the artwork seemed to speak of unfulfilled – but beautiful – promises – a decaying utopianism, whether it be….

The end of the architecture as iconography, as spectacle?

The tragically flawed agendas of socialism and modernity?

The odd beauty that can be found in decay?

The failings of consumerism – highlighted by a RuralStudio-like recycling as both criticism and antidote?

Anyway, I enjoyed both the work and the variety of themes that were suggested and discussed. Unfortunately I’m unable to find a photo of the installed work, so you best be along and see it sometime over the next week – the exhibition ends along with August.

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