The White Building

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.

To keep up to date with The White Building’s activities, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy Fletcher

We have always had a complex relationship with technology: the dictionary defines the term as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, but technology in its most abstract form could simply be defined as an apparatus or thing that aids us – a functional tool or a way of being. In that sense, we could argue that we have been intertwined with technology since the dawn of man. Artist and filmmaker Amy Fletcher explores these intricate ideas as part of her ongoing practice at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

In her most recent work Let’s Play, Fletcher creates a playful, whimsical space that seems to invite the viewer to interact with the screen even though there’s no viable form of participation. Amy notes that her work “has a childish sensibility to it […] most recently I have been examining the subject of technology within my practice; looking at its constantly evolving presence within society and our innate desire for the next slickest gadget and gizmo.”

As in popular culture, art itself is increasingly enmeshed by and within technology. Using the film medium, a high-tech camera and stop-frame animation, the artist appears in her own work through the form of disembodied limbs: poppy music accompanies a set of magical hands that conjure and play with a set of objects set against a flat backdrop.

As an audience, we know that it is not “real” and that the objects on screen are not really changing from 2D to 3D from one frame to another. Rather than trying to hide its fabricated nature, however, the video actually tries to emphasise this quality through the loud camera clicks that accompany each shot.

There’s something clever in the film’s careful positioning and flickering frames that captures the eye: like a deft magician, Amy uses the stop-frame animation genre to create an illusion the viewer is willing to invest in – despite, and perhaps because, of its honest and effective duplicity.

Take a look at Amy Fletcher’s online behance portfolio to see more of her past, current and ongoing work.