SoAH Research Project: 2084

SoAH Research Project: 2084
School of Arts and Humanities Research Exhibition
22 January 2020 to 25 January 2020 | 10am – 5pm
Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, 1 Hester Road, SW11 4AN

The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia.

He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed— if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.

Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.
George Orwell, 1984

The Royal College of Art is pleased to present an exhibition by research students from the School of Arts & Humanities inspired by Orwell’s 1984 and including multidisciplinary work from a range of RCA contributors. Researchers’ pieces examine how the themes and political analysis of Orwell’s novel relate to the current political, environmental and social climate.

Contributors: Be Andr, Sonia Bernac, Anja Borowicz, Flora Bowden, Amy Peace Buzzard, Paula Fitzsimons, Anna Flemming, Maria Gafarova, Chang Gao, Adrian Gouet, Ameera Kawash, Melanie King, Cole Robertson, Seungjo Jeong, David Johnson, Moira Lovall, Liz Murray, Lisa O’Donnell, Despina Papadopoulos, Minna Pöllänen, Samantha Rebello, Col Self, Emily Sparkes, Dario Srbic, Vicki Thornton & Adam J B Walker, Shira Wachsmann, Julia Wolf, Caroline Wright, K Yoland, Frances Young, Sharon Young.

Artists Julia Wolf and Adrian Gouet are in the early stages of their research.  About her work in the show, Autonomy has never been one of my strong points, which consists of an electronic conveyor belt, Julia states:

“In the age of the internet of things, choreography becomes an essential tool for resistance. This work foregrounds new forms of choreographic poetics that are inherent to machinic devices. Re-thinking George Orwell’s disastrous outlook one might ask: Can there be sensuous flows of movement after 2084?”

In a very different mode Adrian has produced a painting of 9/11 playing on an old fashioned TV in a domestic setting, which deals with the dystopic vision of Orwell’s novel from the media perspective, emphasizing the tension between historical time and the particular, domestic time,  staging “1984” as a series of anticipations and reconstructions, tragic and banal at the same time.

Liz Murray, a student in the later stages of a research project which addresses the ownership and celebration of queer, resistant, and radical histories has produced work for the exhibition 2084 which draws on a personal archive of feminist and press materials from the 1980’s that traces the protest at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. She is interested in returning fragments of historic protest into contemporary society, such as slogans and media soundbites, to revive their potential for impact in the present.

2084 installation view
2084 installation view