Make This Space
This new exhibition will impress nobody but the hipsters
Thursday 25th April to Sunday 29th April
Sixonesix Gallery, 616 King Street
It was with an open mind that I went along to the opening night reception of the Make This Space exhibition at the Sixonesix Gallery. I study History of Art and the – albeit slightly pretentious – premise of the exhibition, ‘collaboration on all fronts, between the artist and the viewer’ had piqued my interest. The constant barrage of social media hype over the past few weeks had been impossible to ignore; the promo video was phenomenally professional and they promised some Big Name Cambridge talent. Moreover, the student in me was fairly excited about the chilled Sol cervezas promised on the event page.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed on nearly all fronts. I consider myself to have a fairly high bullshit tolerance level but, even for me, everything was so overwhelmingly ‘pseudo’. Groups of hipsters (what is the collective noun for hipsters? An irony of hipsters? A pose of hipsters?) slouched around from one attraction to another, nodding in feigned (understated) excitement at the works.
To be fair, some of the artists exhibiting are bona fide artists, so some of the stuff was worth a look but was still not particularly innovative or performative. Some of the works were laughable though; one series of photos was printed on lightweight paper, rendering the images too dark to really make out the subject matter.
Throughout the exhibition were awkwardly placed video cameras capturing everything – presumably so that the organisers can wring every last drop of publicity from this – and it had the effect of turning the space into an Orwellian nightmare. The live bongos and acoustic guitar did nothing for me, either, although that did mercifully drown out the drone of ‘I am Hipster, hear me roar’. To top it off: the beer wasn’t complimentary.
Despite all this, there were some good elements that really shone, most notably a really cool, genuinely interactive installation that created projected colours on a wall by tracking your movements with an Xbox Kinect. It got people actively involved and was the only piece that really had anything to do with relational aesthetics and live performative space.
In summary, I left feeling underwhelmed and infuriated. Remaking the Cambridge art scene is a laudable endeavour but SO much just wasn’t quite right. The exhibition just about beats the tatty furniture shop that previously occupied the space, but only just.