News from Nowhere
By Ana Grabova
Published 01 May 2012
(May-June 2012 Edition)
The summer season will see a new exhibition opening at firstsite, exploring the relationship between science fiction and art.
The name is taken from an 1890 science fiction book by the artist William Morris. In the novel, the narrator William Guest, wakes up in a utopian society. And similarly, News from Nowhere focuses on experimentation, speculation and fantasy.
Spanning a century of unprecedented growth in technology, it includes a 1919 proposal for a utopian monument by Constructivist Naum Gabo and a monolithic column from the series of minimalist sculpture initiated by John McCracken in 1966. Machine-like creatures figured in the sculpture of Lynn Chadwick and Lygia Clark are accompanied by references to outer space in the work of Richard Deacon and a psychedelic mural by Mungo Thomson that uses a negative colour image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Other works cite artists’ experiments with new technologies such as the early abstract films of László Moholy-Nagy and Mary Ellen Bute and Nam June Paik’s live television satellite broadcast made on New Year’s Day in 1984.
Through a collection of utopian and dystopian images from different generations and continents the exhibition draws parallels with the literary and cinematic genre of science fiction, exploring its themes, allegories and potential for expressing political dissent and radical thought. The exhibition features newly commissioned works by contemporary artists Mark Titchner (nominated for the 2006 Turner Prize) and Mungo Thomson.
News from Nowhere will be exhibited Sunday 20th May to Monday 27th August at firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street CO1 1JH, www.firstsite.uk.net, 01206 577067.