“Being cool is really cool,” declares a blurry sign behind a spectator crowd at a dimly-lit, clubby lounge. A pair of dancers crouch low under white cloth veils, emphasizing their muscular physiques. Models, stylishly dressed in modernist menswear, stand posed on a suburban corner and an oriental rug. These are images of today's utopias, as seen through the lens of a new exhibit at London's Somerset House, Utopian Voices Here & Now. The show features a diverse collection of photographs, fashion design, video, painting, and other artforms, and is described as “cutting-edge artists [visualizing] utopian ways of thinking about key contemporary issues. […] By presenting questions and prompting discussion and debate, the works create a journey throughout Somerset House where the visitor can consider what their own utopia might look like.”
The diversity of mediums is the exhibition's stand-out attribute, translating into a diversity of artistic perspectives. The video installation UK Gay Bar Directory (UKBG) from duo Rosie Hastings & Hannah Quinlan, for example, combines goPro footage they took from over 160 gay bars in the United Kingdom. Shown in a specifically curated space to evoke community and acceptance, the film speaks to the recent closures of LGBTQI venues in the UK.
Other utopian concepts addressed in the exhibit include climate change, the evolution of menswear, racism and misogyny associated with the body, and many more. Ibrahim Kamara, Kristin Lee-Moolman, Matthew Stone, Project O, Angel Rose, and Glacier Girl are featured alongside Hastings and Quinlan. See more from Utopian Voices Here & Now below:
Utopian Voices Here & Now runs July 6–August 29, 2016 at Somerset House, London. Find out more about the exhibit on the Somerset website, here.