Collective‘s Satellites Programme, which facilitates emerging artists in Scotland, is now exhibiting works that make us rethink the world.
by Portia Ladrido
Devised by this year’s Satellites Programme participant, Anastasia Philiminos, W.W.W (Whole World Working) is an on-going exhibition in Edinburgh that features videos, manifestos, artworks, and writings that explore the potentialities of a borderless world.
W.W.W revolves around a book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, written by American architect and designer R. Buckminster Fuller in 1968. Laid out on a smooth black surface with only lamp lights pointing towards them, the copies identify how most of us see the world and how the demarcation by borders fuels social, cultural and economic differences.
Fuller’s ideas were known to massively influence the development of the internet, and so in this manual, it also presents how the messages we put out on the web may be able to solve any disparity among race, religion, caste, or political affiliation.
In one corner sits a single computer screen emitting text reminiscent to an HTML code. The text features Ben Russell’s Headmap Manifesto published in 1999 that indicates the rise of the technologies we use day in, day out.
This text is shown on a screen to somehow devalue the essence of the copy, suggesting that a mechanical device such as a computer tend to separate who we truly are from who we are with the influence of technology. It makes you think of whether we could be the same people if it weren’t for the advent of binary numbers and white backlights that make up what’s in front of you now.
As you go to the back of the room, Alessandro Di Massimo, an Edinburgh-based artist, showcases a series of delicate drawings of maps with shifting borderlines of various countries. His illustrations, Borders, create a tangible representation of what it may look like to have a non-demarcated world through the internet.
As you are reading this, you may well be in the outskirts of Madagascar or the buzzing urban scene in Germany, and Alessandro meant to translate this universal connectivity into a much more tactile output through his drawings.
The sound coming from this 80s television serves as the background music of the whole exhibit. Keep On Smoking, a video installation by Canadian artist Michel de Broin, follows a bicycle that was made to emit smoke. As the man with the doctored bike cycles around the streets of Berlin, you can see passers-by or spectators feeling disconcerted about the absurdity of it all.
The artist feels that “the dissonance produced by a pollutant bicycle acts in this display as a metaphor for ‘unlearning’, a process that is deemed necessary for imagining a world beyond border demarcations.”
He makes such a profound point with this concept of ‘unlearning’. We are filled with pre-conceived notions about each other because of all that we ‘know’, and maybe if we try to ‘unlearn’, then we may be able to impede prejudice, fear, and hate.
The exhibition runs until 5 February 2017 in the Collective Gallery in Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
Portia Ladrido is a multimedia journalist specialising in social justice, culture, and the arts. She is a human rights journalism fellow at the Philippine Human Rights Information Center and the Metro Manila hub coordinator of the Solutions Journalism Network. She currently writes speeches for the Philippines’ first female socialist senator. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at CNN Philippines.