Hover over the black capital letters of THE WHITE BUILDING on their website and it transforms into a conquettish HI THERE. Such playful, whimsical use of coding/CSS is, perhaps, inevitable of the Hackney Wick building that is known, particularly in glitch-kitsch enthusiast circles, as “London’s centre for art, technology and sustainability.” Run by SPACE Studios, the building runs a unique residential program involving artists from the famed James Bridle, who instigated the movement of the New Aesthetic, to Jesse Darling, John Rafman and the duo Kyoung Kim and Daniel Rourke who run the fantastic GLTI.CH Karaoke project.
It’s inspiring and refreshing to know that London still has innovative artistic hubs: more than a simple gallery or exhibition space, The White Building is a carefully curated space for cultural phenomena. From residency studios to event spaces and CRATE Brewery & Pizzeria, The White Building combines everything us humans need from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – food, drink and a roof over our heads – and turns it into a post-internet sanctuary where anything and everything can happen.
The building itself was born as a section of the Clarnico Sweet factory and ended its lease of life as a print works. David Kohn Architects has rebirthed the location as a “space for creativity, built by and for local people, resonating with its historical context” even as the work that goes on within often strives towards the technology of the future. They’ve hosted seminars, talks on bio-aesthetics, eco-futurism and dystopia, discussed the untangling of the digital future and advanced awareness of Paranormal Activity – an introduction to anomalistic psychology. It’s undeniably a pavilion of art, education and the future of big ideas.
What does the future hold? Temporary Sculptures by Klas Eriksson, an art installation and collective performance spanning geographical locations around the world will be ushered in on the 22nd of February, and James Bridle will be giving a lecture On the Rainbow Plane on the 26th of February, “investigating the relationships between the public understanding of technology and networks, and the classification of people and things performed by technologies. He will explore the embdedded politics, from the technological gaze to data shadows, immigration, deportation, and rendition.” Definitely a talk not to be missed.
Even more excitingly, curator and writer Omar Kholeif has edited a new book entitled You Are Here: Art After the Internet, published by Cornerhouse, which arose out of a year-long residency at The White Building and claims to be the “first major publication to critically explore both the effects and affects that the Internet has had on contemporary artistic practices… Responding to an era that has increasingly chosen to dub itself as ‘post-internet’, this collective text traces a potted narrative exploring the relationship of the Internet to art practices from the early millennium to the present day.” If you’re interested, The Creator’s Project has written an in-depth interview with Kholeif in regards to the book and our post-internet relationship with the aesthetics of today.