Larry Achiampong and David Blandy are the artists featured in an extraordinary new exhibition now running at the Arts Catalyst in central London.
The first part of a series of film works by the duo, Generic Automata will aim to address the concepts of racial segregation and classification, starting with Charles Darwin. It was John Edmonstone, a freed slave, who taught taxidermy to Darwin - perhaps something way less exposed and understood than it should be. Edmondstone encouraged Darwin to visit South America and taught him how to preserve birds - particularly finches - during his voyage to the Galapagos, which in turn assisted Darwin with his theories on natural solution.
Achiampong and Blandy’s new work offers up a video installation, where spoken words and texts are blended with microscopic views of human skin, digital renditions of skin from video games, and film footage of Darwin’s bird skin collection. Through games including Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil, the exhibition also aims to ask pertinent questions related to eugenics.
It’s a unique, original, and highly intelligent and informed work. Generic Automata also forms the last exhibition from Arts Catalyst founder Nicola Triscott, prior to her taking up the role of CEO at Liverpool’s FACT.
Further information is here. The exhibition will move to Sheffield’s Site Gallery, Brighton’s Lighthouse, and Dundee’s NeoN Festival later in the year.