Joao Vasco Paiva at Bold Tendencies, London

Press release:
Bold Tendencies is excited to present ten new commissions from international artists in the rooftop spaces of the Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park for our most ambitious summer project to date. Working across art, orchestral music, opera, and architecture Bold Tendencies will open to the public 18 May – 22 September 2018.

The focus for this year’s art commissions is Ecology and the commissioned artists are: Johann Arens, Sian Lyn Hutchings, Irina Kirchuk, Lawrence Lek, Arjuna Neuman, João Vasco Paiva, Sterling Ruby, Emilija Škarnulytė, Jenna Sutela, and Richard Wentworth.

Over the last few decades, the subject of Ecology has become an increasingly urgent issue. Ecology is not a solitary investigation into the natural world or the way that organisms and environments react inside it. It is a lens for analyzing all that takes place on Earth and beyond, be it cultural or natural; language or weather: objects, subjects, processes, networks.

In a world where Peruvian ice cores are stuffed with lead, corporations have more rights than humans, and gut bacteria helps develop infant brains – a world of gene synthesizers, hybrid corn and frozen embryos – the question of Ecology is more important than ever.

Finding points of connection between bacteria, artificial intelligence, and recycling; between rural and urban, terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, Bold Tendencies presents the work of artists that bravely traverse this new Ecological terrain.

Each new commission approaches the question of Ecology in the contemporary world in its own terms. Whether the revolutionary sounds of Haitian music, the vernacular architecture of rammed earth, or the bespoke packaging of an international courier service, each artist considers the interplay of this ecological maze. The new commissions shift from organic elements to algorithmic patterns, sonic wormholes to vibrant skylines, representing a diverse field of aesthetic and conceptual approach.

site-specific installation : Home 2.0
by: Joao Vasco Paiva
location: Bold Tendencies
‘Home 2.0’ (2018) is an installation stretching across the rooftop of Bold Tendencies, a converted car park in Peckham, London overlooking the urban skyline, its varying states of historicity and construction populating the distance. Selected as one of the organization’s 2018 art commissions focusing on ecology, ‘Home 2.0’ is a meditation on mankind and the trappings of our evolutionary paradigm. From the exterior, it resembles a derelict one storey adobe typical of the south of Europe, its skeletal outlines jutting at varying levels, creating a structure that is both architecture and landscape. Weaving inside and viewed from above one remarks that the interior references a maze, ‘Home 2.0’ existing as the fruit of organic design, as the first inhabited areas were before urban planning. Composed of cob blocks made of organic material, the structure borrows the vernacular practices common in different geographies, from the United Kingdom, to Central America, North Africa and East Asia, whilst slight revelations of reused plastic debris point to humanity’s own hand in the evolution of matter.
Adapting the lexicon of archaic agglomerations of houses, old villages or parts of towns sharing natural spatial distributions, ‘Home 2.0’ points to how we have not evolved much, physically, in the last 200,000 years. Whether perceived as a ruin or an unfinished construction, or a ruin of an unfinished construction, it nods to humanity’s repeated efforts for domestic space, to create a home, shelter, but equally how its existence or ruin makes the cityscape, whether a place in economic prosperity, financial crisis or struck by war. Via this oscillating constant, the installation creates ground to identify how we have developed, primarily, intellectually: how we think, what we’ve created, discovered, how we extend our own evolution but equally carry responsibility for our impact. ‘Home 2.0’ points to a primordial past, to a violent present, and to a not so unimaginable future – to both the ephemerality and permanence of form.

In approaching the structure it further reveals itself, the brushed surfaces giving way to slithers of straw, pebbles, rock. In parts there are shards of plastic, a nod to our own creations and subsequent waste, but equally how it can be regenerated, reused. Casting different shadows throughout the day depending on the position of the sun, the structure shifts in zones of warmth, tonality, adapting to its environment, taking on a presence and personality of its own; sound is slightly muffled, channelled by the walls and passages. ‘Home 2.0’ in its height and physical properties surrounds the viewer in a manner that is at once protecting, intriguing and isolating from external stimuli – a cocooned encounter. Moving through there is a sense of suspension, a sensed meeting with our future archeology, as if one is uncovering or indeed discovering an edifice of the past that references in its intrinsic granular properties the current traces we will leave. ‘Home 2.0’ is at once a comment on the universality of building shelter as well as a reminder on the inevitability of destruction and decay. It is about the act of ‘making’: how man and earth come together to construct, but equally how man-made elements are part of our creations and indicators of our labour. Crucially, through its limited physical existence, it acknowledges cyclicality, a matter of coming and going, both in terms of topographic existence but also human existence, whilst hinting to the importance of ‘sense’, a property that outlives the structure itself – an impermanent permanence.

About Bold Tendencies

The rooftop spaces at Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park are home to not-for-profit organization Bold Tendencies which is unique in terms of the rich mix of what it does, and where and how it does it. For more than a decade Bold Tendencies has transformed its car park home with a programme of contemporary art, orchestral music (hosting the BBC Proms with The Multi-Story Orchestra in 2016 and 2017), opera and architectural projects including Frank’s Cafe and the Straw Auditorium designed by Practice Architecture, Simon Whybray’s pink staircase and Cooke Fawcett’s Peckham Observatory. Bold Tendencies animates its programme and the site for schools, families and the neighborhood through standalone education and community initiatives that take culture and civic values seriously. With immersive public spaces and spectacular views across London, the project has attracted more than 1.5 million visitors so far and celebrates the free enjoyment of public space in the city. In the autumn of 2017 Southwark Council ended years of uncertainty, confirming Bold Tendencies’ future in the Car Park building with the offer of a new long-term lease.

Artist: Joao Vasco Paiva
Venue: Bold Tendencies, London
Exhibition title: Home2.0
Date: May 18 – September 22, 2018

Text (press release) and images provided by the event.
© Joao Vasco Paiva