7+1: Metis's 'On The Surface'

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


A talk for the University of the West of England in Bristol.

On The Surface was a retrospective exhibition of work by Metis, commissioned for the gallery of the Arkitektskolen Aarhus in Denmark and shown in 2014. Seven projects, spanning twelve years, were exhibited in it – these stretched from Metis's 2002 book, Urban Cartographies, to a competition project developed in 2014 for a spa hotel in Liepaja, Latvia. This talk will explore Metis work through the optic of the exhibition, which is the ‘+1’ project of the title. The initial idea that drove the design was for an exhibition from which mid-scale elements had been evacuated, thus constructing an experience that oscillated between the very large and the very small. This resulted in engaging the overall scale of the gallery by way of a large floor drawing. It was important that exhibition visitors could step onto this and be visually immersed in its laterally-spreading field, thereby losing the kind of distanced relation that would allow the object of vision to be optically encompassed and settled. The floor drawing was composed of representations of the seven projects deriving from different media – some photographic, some drawing-based, some digitally generated. Stripped as they were of stable reference points (common lines of projection, scale relations, etc.) that would allow them to solidify as a 'ground', they came to interact with one another as an array of contingent forms. Here the fluctuation between disparate scales was echoed in the interplay of effects of surface and depth that was produced – the sense of a flatness that was, at the same time, experienced as a swarming, mobile, and thick space. Situated in this force field, visitors were invited to navigate, explore and play with its constitutive array of relations.

Period31 Jan 2019
Held atUniversity of the West of England, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational