24/7 | Somerset House Exhibition
On the face of it, they tell the time.
But subconsciously, they govern our whole day – when we work, when we sleep, when we eat. And we’re living in an increasingly 24-hour world: everything’s available on demand, we’re contactable at all hours of the day, and the boundaries between work and play, human and machine are becoming increasingly blurred.
This modern epidemic is the focus of Somerset House’s new exhibition, 24/7. Through a series of life-size, walk-through and interactive installations, it’ll explore the impact of non-stop living, the technologies and systems that control us, and how we can attempt to switch off.
Amongst them, you’ll find a copper blanket to wrap around yourself that blocks out electromagnetic signals; a ‘meditative isolation chamber’ (a padded cell filled with twinkling blue lights); and a hotel room in which you can lie down and listen to some dystopian science fiction about sleep.
Then there’s the more conventional visual artwork – a video montage of Mark Zuckerberg (and every mention he’s made of growth or numbers over the past four years); animatronic birds stuck in lab cages representing our animalistic responses to rewards (the basis of social media addiction); 19th century designs for the ultimate surveillance building; and a film made by Finnish artist Pilvi Takala, who spent last year posing as a wellness consultant providing touch therapy for isolated co-workers.
Outside of the exhibition itself, there’s a raft of other installations scattered around the grandiose building (including a photobooth that screens films of people yawning, and will snap you yawning back) as well as a 24-hour festival of talks, workshops and activities inspired by the show.
It’s worth a look…
…if you can find the time.
NOTE: 24/7 runs at Somerset House from 31st October – 23rd February 2020. Tickets cost £14 (£11 concessions) – you can book here.
Somerset House | Strand, WC2R 1LA
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