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To celebrate the launch of Arcade East, London College of Fashion’s new project space, Bart Hess spoke about his installation Work With Me People.
First shown during Dutch Design Week in 2012, it allows visitors become part of the production process of Bart Hess’ textiles. A play on production sweatshops, visitors are instructed to perform simple, repetitive acts. In this version, dripping liquid latex onto a stretched latex surface. Directions are given through headphones installed on each of the three futuristic workstations at Arcade East. Despite the rigid appearance of the sweatshop production line, the interactive installation aims to highlight the importance and beauty of the discrepancies between the workmanship of each participant in achieving the organic look of Hess’ textiles. Once the latex has dried, the sheet is released and shrinks to its original size, causing the drops to move closer together and creating a tight skin of rubber bubbles that have the appearance of animal skin.
Arcade East was developed to host a themed season of events and installations with a focus on digital practice and innovation each summer as part of a new LCF Arts Programme. Most projects are developed in conjunction with a new an interdisciplinary space, the Digital Learning Lab, which operates at the intersection between traditional and digital practice for design, making and ideation. This summer’s programme focuses on design, technology and performance and this event marks the beginning of a launch series of experimental projects.
This automated new version of Work With Me People was developed during Bart Hess’ appointment as a Creative Fellow at the London College of Fashion (LCF) and was also on view at his retrospective Future Bodies at the Stedelijk Museum in s’Hertogenbosch from 24 June – 1 October 2017.
Arcade East Launch was part of the London Design Festival 2017.