Halcyon Gallery, a leading British commercial gallery representing artists such as living legend Bob Dylan and British painter Mitch Griffiths, is launching a new flagship space in Mayfair, London’s historic art district this Thursday 25 May.
Coinciding with their 40th anniversary, Halcyon Gallery will move into one of London’s oldest commercial gallery spaces at 148 Bond Street. Built in 1881 and formerly occupied by the Fine Arts Society for over 200 years, this historic address has been subject to a comprehensive redesign and refurbishment in order to transform it into a cutting-edge 21st century artspace in order to optimally showcase Halcyon’s community of contemporary artists and its catalog of masterworks from artists spanning Impressionism to Pop Art.
Paul Green, President and founder of Halcyon Gallery, said “When I first came to London and visited the galleries in Mayfair, I was struck by the Fine Arts Society building - it has a wonderfully rich artistic history and I am delighted we now have the opportunity to carry on that legacy.”
The newly renovated gallery will launch with an exhibition of new works by British digital artist Dominic Harris, who has previously exhibited at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the Dublin Science Museum. Entitled Feeding Consciousness, the exhibition presents 18 powerful new artworks that upgrade the role of the visitor from viewer to participant. By interacting with the works, visitors are empowered to shape landscapes, communicate with ancient gods, manipulate kaleidoscopes of butterflies, and even step into worlds that are thousands of miles removed from the hustle and bustle of New Bond Street.
Harris uses the latest technology to consider eternal subjects. He said: “The artworks I create are about interactive storytelling. By using technology in ways that were previously impossible, I draw the viewer in to become immersed in the artwork. The ultimate objective is to stimulate the viewer to feel more deeply, and in doing so to reveal something about themselves.”
By employing AI, machine-learning, and other cutting-edge technologies to pursue his practice, Harris’ enchanting and immersive works provoke fresh considerations of subjects including nature, national identities, capitalism, deification, and discourse. Employing screens and projections as the platform for pigments of fashioned code, Harris’ works combine moving visual imagery with sound and other stimuli to create a pioneering and proprietarily unique form of art.
The exhibition’s namesake work, Feeding Consciousness, is a 10-foot sculpture composed of 180 screens constructed in a spiraling array. Taking inspiration from the story of the Tower of Babel, Harris reflects on the impact of social media and global discourse in today's society. His sculpture is fed with constant updates on the latest trending and most-searched content from Google. The result is an ever-shifting physical manifestation of humanity’s mass hive mind, and a visual reflection on our collective conscience.
Another piece, Limitless, is an epic screen visualisation of the ceaseless ebb and flow of the FTSE share index. An ever-shifting, ever-growing golden tower is constantly added to with new “blocks”, each of which is stamped with the logo of companies whose shares are being traded on the markets to which the artwork is digitally connected. When the viewer touches the artwork, the faces of the CEOs of the companies are revealed, reminding us that the market is not an impersonal force, but rather a product of human action and decision-making. Multifariously readable as a monument to hubris or a cipher of capitalist creation - depending on the onlooker’s outlook – Limitless uses real-time data to stimulate our notions of value and progress.
Five works are presented in an entirely immersive space, specially cocooned within Halcyon’s new home, that allows Harris’ worlds and characters to completely envelop the viewer. Endurance is a 360 degree immersion into a hyperreal Antarctic landscape imagining the terrain traversed by renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton. While conventional VR environments requires the viewer to don headsets and other sensory proxies to transport the human subject into its digital space, Endurance needs no hardware. Harris places the human as the master of that environment: upon his or her actions, which are registered and interpreted by sensors and code, the viewer is witness to their own influence on changes in climate and wildlife, consequently exposing the fragility of these pristine environments.
In his immersive multi-sensory installation, Elements, Harris focuses on his beloved butterflies, which for the first time have taken on unique identities representing the five fundamental components of the universe: Elements of Wood, Earth, Water, Fire and Metal. As the butterflies move and interact, they remind us of the interconnectedness of all things and the need for harmony in our relationship with the natural world. The viewer’s sense of total immersion within the artwork is completed with a spatialized interactive soundtrack in which each of the 5 elements are sonified, and the collective shifting of butterflies translated into a dynamic audio landscape.
Dominic Harris said: “I’m proud that Feeding Consciousness will be the first ever exhibition at Halcyon Gallery’s new flagship gallery in London. Alongside my tireless and brilliant team in the studio, I’ve dedicated the last few years working to upend our increasingly banal and transactional human relationship with the digital space by presenting its possibilities afresh. We work to pioneer a form of digital art that lives in the physical world, and which helps enlighten and enrich our consideration of true reality.”
Feeding Consciousness by Dominic Harris: 25 May – 13 August at the Halcyon Gallery, New Bond Street
About Dominic Harris
Dominic Harris is an artist who uses technology to construct highly personal interpretations of the natural phenomena which surround us. His reverence for nature, coupled with his fascination for code, offers a surreal and whimsical take on reality, which ultimately challenges our own perceptions of the world about us. His responses, aesthetic yet playful, conceal a carefully-observed commentary on the digitisation of our daily experiences, which plays both upon our emotions, and our relationship with the technology-fueled 21st century Pop Culture.
As these technologies, unstoppable and fascinating, invade our lives, and intrude upon us in ever more intimate ways, Dominic captures the sometimes-menacing march of the information age, and turns it to our advantage, in an insightful and seamless blending of nature with code. He is part of a small, and important, coterie of artists who are pushing the envelope of feasibility, and redefining what is acceptable, within the art world.
Dominic graduated from Cranbrook Kingswood School in Michigan, and returned to England to read Architecture at the Bartlett School, University College, London. He graduated with top distinctions, qualifying as an architect in 2003, and going on to work for the avant-garde architectural practice Future Systems. In 2007 Dominic founded his own studio in Notting Hill, London, where he and his team design, engineer, code and fabricate his artworks and installations.
Photo credits: © Callum Toy