This month we are hosting our first autumn exhibition, Laboratory 12 by Benjamin John Hall. The work will be on display until 15th October 2016.
I met Benjamin back in September 2012 when he had just won the YKK Award in ITS competition with his collection ‘Birth, Life, Death & Resurrection (Fire Lasting)’. One year later I was lucky enough to watch his performance ‘Design by Destruction (Smash Dyeing)’ in Fashion Space Gallery.
Judging from these two experiences I was certain he would come out with something incredible with his latest creation.
Benjamin is not only a skilled shoe maker but also an inventor, and every single time he produces unbelievably unique and innovative projects in footwear. All pieces from Laboratory 12 were handmade by himself in his studio in London together with his team. The work is supported by dramatic videos, which enhances and illustrates Halls work.
The Laboratory 12 is a collection of highly functional shoes with 3-D printed elements and technology. The shoes are operated wireless from afar to perform tasks such as detecting radiation, recording sound, releasing a gas and even remote ignition. The idea behind the design technology is covert and skilfully embedded inside each of the shoe’s designs; resulting in a complex yet seamless marriage of hand crafted shoe-making and advanced technologies. All shoes are both fully wearable and fully operational.
The name for the exhibition was inspired by the secret poison laboratory of the KGB and the famous case of Alexander Litvinenko, who in 2006 was poisoned with the radioactive material Polonium. This led to the question: How far should or would your government go to secure its best interests?
The collection explores ideas around geopolitics and theories that states could operate similarly to Darwin’s survival of the fittest; if they are not actively growing then they are actively diminishing. The work explores the extent to which governments potentially could or already are securing their best interests in a current global, political and economic environment marked by uncertainty. Each of the pairs of shoes highlights a specific notion or concept unearthed through extensive research into documented tactics used by various security agencies worldwide.
By interrogating the possibilities of how far governments are prepared to go to maintain a balance of power through bending international laws and manipulating the media, the work draws attention to the precariousness of contemporary world politics.
For more information please visit Benjamin website
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