Whitehot Magazine

March 2009, Liminal: A Question of Position @ Rivington Place

March 2009, Liminal: A Question of Position @ Rivington Place
Liminal: A Question of Position at Rivington Place, courtesy Institute of International Visual Arts

Liminal: A Question of Position at Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA
Curated by Iniva March 11 through April 25 
Did you ever just want to start throwing balls at random people’s face? Or, perhaps, share steps with a random stranger on the other side of the globe? Hey, why not? With the March 11th opening of Liminal: A Question of Position, at the 2008 RIBA Award winning Rivington Place, the opportunity for such activities is now possible. This interactive collection of large scale installations brings together more than twenty artists set with the task of making use of digital media to examine the contemporary urban experience and question the physical and cultural positioning of city dwellers. The resulting works are, for the most part, dynamic and playful and offer the occasion to reflect upon the concept of urbanity in the early 21st century, as well as the commonalities and relative experiences of everyday folk the world over.

One work, Frictions of Distance (a collaborative piece by Che-Guevara John and Phillippe Chollet) links Liminal exhibition goers with visitors to the French Cultural Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to “explore the issues of hybridity and telepresence”. As visitors walk through either site, sensors track their footsteps, which are then simultaneously projected onto the floors of both locations. The effect of this work drives home a feeling of separation while revealing how our lives today are more interconnected than ever before. Another work, Wall Ball (by Alexander Wendt, Elaine Thomazi-Freitas and Luke Hastilow), is a series of screens making up a giant composite face. Attendees are invited to throw balls against the screens. Upon contact with the balls, panels change to reveal another facial feature, altering the composite. The jokey and participatory nature of Wall Ball overrides any seemingly violent overtones conjured up by throwing balls at strangers. All seven installations seek to engage the exhibition goer in similarly unorthodox fashion, challenging goers’ existing notions of city life.
Liminal is curated by Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) with support from the Department of Applied Social Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Throughout its run (11 March – 25 April 2009), a number of talks, performances and other events are to offer several opportunities to learn more about the works, their artists and our place in today’s cities. Scoping out this free exhibition’s desirable location within Rivington Place, the UK's first permanent public space dedicated to culturally-diverse visual arts and photography, is reason enough for a visit, itself a fine example of the importance of positioning in today’s urban landscape.
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Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is an American transplant living in London where he has a blast working as a freelance photographer, writer, consultant, blogger and more.     www.tikichris.com 

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