While London-based Hayward Gallery has just opened Adapt to Survive: Notes from the Future (running until 11 June), Concrete in Dubai is due to receive the seven-artist exhibition from 7-21 November. The exhibition features international artists who consider future possibilities, presenting film, sculpture and text-based works that stipulate how the world may look, function and exist.
With Concrete focused on fostering international partnerships – this joint exhibition with Hayward will mark its second – it also aims to reinforce notions of sustainability and futurology. Curated by Dr Cliff Lauson, senior curator at Hayward Gallery, Adapt to Survive provides a relevant discourse, adopting a title derived from Darwin’s theory of evolution and touching on subjects such as change, hybridism, architecture, biology, technology and language. The curatorial remit further stipulates that the title has widely been used as a phrase adopted by entrepreneurs and start-ups as a “form of agency that is antithetical to Darwin’s concept of natural selection.”
Works tackle evolution through educated guesses but also provide the ensuing skepticism surrounding progression and rapid acceleration. Highlights include Ann Lislegaard’s Time Machine (2011) presents an ominous narrative told by computer-animated fox inspired by HG Wells’s 1985 Time Machine Sci-Fi novel; Julian Charrière’s sculpture series Metamorphism (2016) references geological samples in museums and addresses humanity’s relationship to minerals used largely for electronics and what may result when these products are reabsorbed by the earth; and Rainer Ganahl’s short film I Hate Karl Marx (2010) is set in 2045 and pursues a theme of Western xenophobia through a German woman challenged by a communist, China-dominated world.
Also of note is Marguerite Humeau’s sculpture Harry II delves into contemporary takes on myths such as the sphinx, which resonates with themes of online security, border control and surveillance; and Andreas Angelidakis’ The Walking Building, a proposal for the contemporary art museum of the future that comes alive, crawling through Athens and responding to the technological and mobile needs of today. The work is inspired by architectural collective Archigram, who advocated for radical, adaptable urban structures such as The Walking City (1964), of which three of its founding members were involved in the design of the Hayward Gallery.
A talks programme will accompany the London showing, while a public programme will be held in Dubai in November.