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Alice Theobald and Atomik Architecture

It’s not who you are, it’s how you are

11 December 2015 – 10 April 2016

BALTIC Ryder Commission

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and Ryder Architecture presented the second in a series of new commissions exploring the relationship between art and architecture. The BALTIC Ryder Commission brought together an artist with an emerging architectural practice to produce a co-authored artwork which was displayed in BALTIC’s Level 2 gallery. BALTIC and Ryder, in collaboration with Blueprint Magazine, commissioned artist Alice Theobald and Atomik Architecture.

Theobald and Atomik’s co-authored work evolved through a process of studio visits, workshops, model-making and drawing. It took the form of an ambitious site-specific installation comprising sound, video and live performance. Interested in the interiors of Austrian-Czech architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933) and the idea of accessing a space through multiple viewpoints, Theobald and Atomik constructed a series of circular rooms which provided a route through the architecture, pacing the visitors’ experience. Drawing on Anthony Vidler’s book The Architecture of the Uncanny (1992), they will create a series of familiar, yet unsettling spaces, lining the rooms with everyday materials, texts and projections. A platform slicing through the gallery became a stage for a series of part-choreographed, part-improvised performances; an accompanying musical score explored the circularity and slippage of language and the interplay between performer and viewer.

Alice Theobald (born Leicester, 1985) develops performances using music, installation and video. Her works react to pre-existing places and spaces, often referencing their own construction through the play of language, sound and movement whilst addressing themes of love, alienation, memory and mistrust. Theobald frequently works with a cast of non-professional actors, performers and musicians, and shifts between the role of stage director, choreographer, narrator and performer.

Founded by Mike Oades and Derek Draper in 2013, Atomik Architecture is a young practice of architects and designers based in London and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Employing a creative and process-driven approach to design, over the past two years Atomik have been engaged in a wide range of projects internationally, from large housing developments to temporary installations. Alongside their architectural projects, they run a series of smaller cultural and research projects which help inform their wider design direction, often taking part in competitions to test and develop ideas.