Exhibition: ‘24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world’ at Somerset House Studios

Text by CLOT Magazine


Slogans For The 21st Century, Douglas Coupland (2019)

Until February 23, 2020, Somerset House (London) displays the exhibition 24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world. Inspired by the book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by New York-based art critic and essayist Jonathan Crary (Verso, 2013) and curated by Sarah Cook, 24/7 is divided into five principal zones Day and Night: The Wreckage of the Day; Activity and Rest: Sleep//Attentiveness; The Human and The Machine: Surveillance//Control//Acceleration; Work and Leisure: Work//The Commons; and The Individual and The Collective: Reset

New technologies have blurred the boundaries between human and non-human, digital and biological entities, fake and real, and how we relate to technology has changed dramatically. We live in a digital world open 24/7 in which information is generated by anonymous software and data-driven boots, and we no longer understand what is happening around us.

The exhibition takes visitors on a 24-hour cycle from dawn to dusk through interactive installations and interrogations. Over 50 multi-disciplinary works have been brought together to explore the unrelenting pressure to produce and consume around the clock. Some of the installations and artists participating include Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s new immersive orchestration of a machine-generated dawn chorus, Machine Auguries, highlights the impact of 24/7 urban lifestyles on bird populations.

Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s Somnoproxy invites guests to close their eyes for a futuristic storytelling experience in an immersive private auditorium complete with Dream Machine. Mat Collishaw has created for 24/7 Skinner boxes based on the historic behavioural experiments of American psychologist B.F. Skinner in which six animatronic birds move inside “skinner boxes” exploring the idea of random reward.

Benjamin Grosser’s Order of Magnitude is a supercut of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in which Grosser has extracted a few words that crop up regularly in his recordings: “more”, “grow”, or utterances of numbers, and Somerset House Studios artists Hyphen Labs have created a new photo booth, playing on the phenomena of contagious yawning. 

24/7: A wake-up call for our non-stop world is on view until February 23, 2020. 

(Media courtesy of Somerset House Studios)
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