Lyst Studios: 15Folds 'Everything All At Once' (until 29th May 2014)

In the renowned location of 48 Hoxton Square, where one of the White Cube galleries once stood, visitors to the area are now treated to Lyst Studios, N1, which is now the headquarters of fashion retailer, Lyst. However with such a predominantly contemporary art-based background to the building, it seems difficult to shake such a reputation. Interestingly, ongoing from where White Cube Hoxton Square fell, this exhibition stakes a claim in assessing where the art world is today. 

So with considerable hype, including Esquire deeming it the "Art Show of the Week", I had to explore. As I have previously mentioned in my blog, post-internet art both fascinates and bewilders me in equal measure, so any new experiences to embrace it are always welcome. 'Everything All At Once' is a truly immersive experience, as the viewer must use their own smartphone or other device to access the artworks, as it is merely the GIF images that lead to each artwork which have been curated on the walls. As each GIF image emerges and presents itself, it resembles sitting alone in an empty cinema, with the moving image rolling on before your eyes. Immediately the exhibition provides the stance of representing the art of now. Yes, perhaps it is also providing us with a glimpse into the future position of art using technology, but the fact that the exhibition found its entries from a competition in association with Dazed & Confused shows that they are certainly focused on the tools of today to convey artistic representation.

View of the Lyst Studio gallery space for the 'Everything All At Once' exhibit
Image courtesy of www.theguardian.com

So, raising a tablet to the wall, I observed the first GIF image. If the way I have described the exhibition so far is confusing, I do apologise, but can assure you that it is due to me being fairly out of my depth with the inundation of technology, as opposed to the exhibition itself being troublesome. As the rise of the GIF and post-internet art is a signifier for an increased pace of life along with a disposable, conveyer-belt culture, it is more poignant to see sensitive, gentle pieces of work under this title. 'Painting Birds in Tel Aviv' by Miltos Manetas is a moving image of flying birds, but has the additional impact of a real hand drawing the moving image as it progresses. This combination of computer-generated material and signs of life shows the humanity behind what is such a mechanical environment.

Being in a small, personal space with just yourself and the work of art is a sort of intimacy that the viewer really does not expect from an age of art that focuses on mass production and a great volume of viewers. 'I Wanna Lick, Lick, Lick Lick You From Your Head to Your Toes' by Phoebe Collings-James seems to question the revised viewer-artwork relationship, as the video sees a tongue run itself over a glass panel. Seemingly, this also highlights the hyper-sexualised over-exposure our generation has to adult content, which is prevalent and unavoidable in all forms of media, including film and art.

'Untitled GIF No.1 (Know Nothing)' by Maxime Buchi is another small moving image, where the viewer is shown a brief collection, almost a slideshow of various themes, some undecipherable, showing us how the excess of visual material on the internet has led our knowledge to become vast yet shallow, as opposed to the depth that a longer attention span would allow.

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