Across Goldsmiths’ various venues, this year’s roster of artists at Degree Shows 2013 have constructed passenger jet cabins, smoke-filled bathrooms and holistic waiting rooms scattered with everything from snakes to ultra-violet drawings. Each space is a result of a battle between students to bag a place in which to exhibit; all of them a showcase of where this generation’s interests lie. Undoubtedly the shadow of yesteryear’s alumni, such as the Young British Artists, still hangs over the south London College but the younger ones have also had their say into how their imaginations have been shaped.
In particular there are threads to be woven between Lucky PDF and graduates who play with pop-culture and post-internet theory, choosing to group themselves under the banner of Consensual Hallucinations. A term borrowed from science fiction author William Gibson’s book Neuromancer, they express a wish to engage with the ideal of individual ownership over a virtual reality, the power to connect or disconnect others and surf pleasurably with no physical threat.
Rebecca Cooper has the same poetry for titles as Damien Hirst. ‘The Simultaneous Death and Birth of my Social Self: Part One: Preliminary’ cleverly uses a water cooler as a readymade. On its own, it’s a simple “one liner” of an artwork but, as part of an installation, it’s a key to a larger narrative focused on social networking. A built-in iPad links those who type out messages onto its screen to a larger chat room and wireless headphones hooked up to a soundtrack of Hip Hop and Dance music clips. They’re in turn linked to a mapped projection across a series of plains that garnered many laughs, and even a few people dancing.
Billy Howard also has a water cooler in his space, but this time as a prop to set the scene for a waiting room where spectators sit before being invited in for the main event. It turns out to be a high-octane music video filled with green screens, analogue effects and a knowledgeable character, (taken from a 1970s science show) whose dialogue informs us on mass-media theory, reveals the process behind the work’s construction and speaks on the importance of energy, as particles on the screen break up.
In contrast, Racheal Crowther uses a small television screen with a video of a snake sliding across the white tiled floor where the viewer is standing to create a hallucinatory effect, in which grapes are dipped in pink clay, synthetic fur creates a pool of dirt and a sense of past and present is disrupted.
Across Goldsmiths’ BA Fine Art show a host of strong students experimented with performance art, aural and visual crossover and even computer binary as language. Nevertheless, it’s here in particular that three individuals found a shared interdisciplinary interest, with a clear debt to predecessors but also a fresh eye on the future. **
Header image: Racheal Crowther, ‘How 2 Dress’ (2013).