The Power of 8 project was invited to take part in the London 2012 Open Weekend events, at the Watermans Gallery. While the project is still in progress, this kicked off our public presence in the gallery and we have exhibited our ideas and sketches done in the last 6 weeks.
However, for the Open Weekend, the central element was a big table on which we placed an abstraction of a map of Brentford, where the gallery is geographically located. Although it may now appear to be a remote suburb with big motorways and dead pan office complexes, Brentford pre-dates the founding of London itself, with settlements from the Brigantes tribes before the Roman occupation of Britain. Our idea was to engage with the local people by situating some of our imagined scenarios over the map, and inviting them to do the same.
Over the course of two days we had a steady stream of participants ranging from the radically activist to the playfully naive populated this map of their local area of Brentford with walking houses, snow stimulators, solar powered airships, public free boxes, trees that could talk to one another, new wireless connectivity, new species of underwater organisms and human spinning tops. The table was transformed into a landscape of fantasy and possibility in what appears to be a distant edge suburb of London. More images here.
Immediate impressions of the two days suggest that many of the ideas from the participants were not far removed from what we have been thinking of. As one would have guessed, the desire for a ’sustainable future’ topped the wish list, but alongside it, were desires for quite fantastical living spaces and dangerous play areas.
We are decompressing the weekend and thinking of ways in which some of the themes that emerged could juxtapose with ideas that eight of us have been toying with. It has been a very exciting weekend. To conclude, I’ll quote Darryl:
“Much like a heist movie that assembles the maximum human potential with the greatest chance of internal conflict, Power of 8 has gathered together the perfect cast to take on the future: an interaction designer and filmmaker, bionanotechnologist, advertising guru, emotional intelligence trainer, social policy advisor, permaculturalist and political commentator, an architect and urban designer. Now there’s a plot worth paying the rights for! Final exhibition in September promises to be spectacular. Keep your eyes peeled to this channel for more updates.”