W.W.W (World Wide Working)

Devised by Anastasia Philimonos, the W.W.W. exhibition presents borders between nations as problematic, with the development of the internet as a beacon of much-needed change. This is all well and good, but having nearly walked straight past it, I found this fairly demonstrative of how inappropriately W.W.W. has been labelled as ‘art’.

The exhibition is housed in a small, grey, exceptionally insignificant room. Though this supposedly invites us to better focus on the pieces, it gave the impression rather of walking into a desolate research lab.The centrepiece of the exhibition, R. Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth written in 1968, sits on a table beneath an industrial lamp. Printed in an oversized format to resemble ‘an actual manual’, the novelty wears off after the first page – or twenty.

The text describes how man came to master the seas and how this has affected modern-day people’s perception of a border-controlled world. Yet somehow it manages unfortunately to reduce the colourful subjects of pirates and corrupt kings into bland, two-dimensional figures.

The following sequence of instalments feel equally as unrefined to the purpose of the exhibition.

The Headmap Manifesto, written in 1999, amusingly predicts the inventions of Tinder and Pokemon Go with its bold exertions of the internet’s potential to bring together like-minded people. Meanwhile, Borders, a collection of maps and graph, left me wondering whether I arrived here three years too late, illustrated how borders looked from ancient times to, very specifically, 2014.

The final instalment, Keep on Smoking – Kreuzberg, Michel de Broin’s film of himself on a motorised bicycle, was a curious choice of conclusion – but thankfully located next the exit. The motor omitted such dense fumes that I almost choked just watching it.

Though the pieces did present some interesting ideas on how to create a world of ‘universal, harmonious co-existence’, they often seemed outdated and second-hand; the huge potential W.W.W. had to relate itself to the big political stigmas of today was disappointingly overlooked.

With no significant emotional reaction to be gouged from it, the whole thing seemed more appropriate for a KS3 Geography textbook than an art display. Fantastic place to shelter from the rain, though.

At Collective Gallery, run ended

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