A heaving colossus framed in 26 degrees of British summertime LCC’s Show Four: Power Off threw down an almighty challenge last night to all those charged with the task of taking in the work of no less 11 different courses spread across more than 20 exhibition spaces.
With deep breath the visiting throng upon taking their first steps through the doors quickly found themselves amongst the work in the Lower Street Gallery. ABC Graphic Design‘s sensitive and evocative handling of anti-drink advertising featured in much of the work stood beautifully at odds with the beer clutched plastic glasses held chin high toasting the bulldog clipped A1 sheets showcasing the work of the 70 graduating ABC graphic designers.
Standing calm amongst the gathering swirl I found course director Chris May who was quick to extol the benefit to his students from holding so many final year shows in one place at the same time: “We’ve been really lucky this year. We get the benefit of having all the industry people here viewing the work that may only have come to the BA Graphic and Media Design show previously”.
With little time to waste I swept through to The Gallery amongst a crowd in festival mood. “I think this is very amusing” chimed a fellow onlooker pointing at James A White’s interpretation of Damien Hirst’s For the love of God, part of the BA Graphic & Media Design – Typo/Graphic Design exhibition. Over my shoulder a tall bearded gentlemen seemed particularly interested in the 3D pieces: “I like the electric chair. It makes you think what it’s got to do with typography but then again that’s a good thing”. The space is shared with BA Graphic & Media Design – Design for Advertising where social and political messages were delivered in pithy delayed punches.
Next stop ABC 3D Modelling & Animation in the Main Lecture Theatre, where a deep sea diver dished out popcorn as people passed by. With head bowed I quickly made my way to the back of the makeshift cinema upon failing to find a seat. Standing awkwardly at the back and with interview opportunities impossible amounts the rows of seated patrons I came to rely on the ripples of applause after each clip of student work as the best indication of the strength of the work on show.
“Onwards! Onwards!” the Show demanded as I made my way to ABC Interior Design where Melanie Hart’s work created an interesting dialogue with the interactive exhibitions outside the entrance to the show with her investigation into the use of shipping containers as modular building blocks for flats and apartments. The minimalist approach taken to display the work lent a measured change of pace to proceedings as I gathered opinion from a cluster discussing Taisuke Moritani’s work. Feeling suitably underdressed amongst the cocktail dresses and chinos I take my leave via the stairs to the Digital Media & Game Design show in the 3rd Floor Gallery.
Upon arrival visitors are met by a wall of sound and a cacophony of flashing screens all vying for your attention. The level of ambition is beyond fault as I join a discuss with our faces lit by one of the group’s latest project entitled Komodo Dragon: Brush Your Fangs: “Hopefully next year I’ll make a fighting game, and it’ll be better than Street Fighter man, I’m tellin’ you” he asserts – fighting talk indeed.
Just as I’m finally finding my feet I’m overcome once more when descending back down to the Upper Street Gallery and the continuation of the Graphic and Media Design exhibition by ways of Illustration. The space is dominated by Ciara Davidson Halpin’s towering mural, painted on the back wall, creating a delicate interplay between itself and the handmade books sitting quietly in its shadow. I arrive in time to witness Tash Dean’s small book simply entitled Castles getting a seal of approval from Simon Goode as he sets down the volume accompanied by a small card reading “Nice Work!” Deep within the guts of the Upper Street Gallery sits Rachel Emily Taylor’s Big Bad Wolf where a giant wolf’s head houses a charming movie visible through its severed neck. I leave, heading for the media block attempting to overcome the assertion that “Nothing Rhymes with Month” as proposed by Annu Kilpelainen’s colourfully sweet doodles.
Once in The Well Gallery I followed what can only be described as the sound of a thousand kettles boiling to one of the most attention grabbing pieces in the show – Richard Harvey’s Floating Forecaster. Those around me in the BA Graphic and Media Design – Interaction and Moving Image exhibition looked on as Richard himself demonstrated how his piece reinterprets weather patterns as floating polystyrene balls buoyed by an undulating cushion of air conducted through a couple of sweeps of the finger across the face of an Apple iphone.
The Atrium Gallery containing the Graphic and Media Design – Print exhibition is next to thrill the senses with its striking mix of lens based media shown alongside bold graphic illustration. Meanwhile Leona Ng’s gummie bear utopia nestles almost overlooked in the corner. The nest of beanbags and confectionary invites you to take refuge and look to the heavens to watch an intriguing stop motion animated tale about the bear-shaped gums you may well have just devoured – guilt ensues.
With the space opening out and the drink points disappearing, much of the show remains unseen. Panicked thoughts of returning tomorrow to catch what I’ve missed begin to rise as I’m encouraged to join the jubilant, battle weary masses swapped stories of gallantry and discovery outside. Shaking my fist and vowing to fight another day I disappear into the warm summer’s evening.
Show Four: Power Off part of the LCC Summer Shows 2010 is open till the 1 July.
Words by Adam Hayes