ADS0: Babel; architecture and landscapes in the face of catastrophe
Originally from Nottingham and having completed his undergraduate studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Ben's professional practice has been in the design and delivery of permanent and temporary gallery spaces for museums across the UK and worldwide. Whilst working at Nissen Richards Studio, the design of Life in the Dark for the Natural History Museum, London was awarded the Design Week Best Exhibition Design for 2019.
Within Ben's personal practice, his interests bridge the intersection of film, photography, technology and urbanism, addressing how the prevailing image culture is affecting the manner in which we construct, navigate and understand the built environment.
Ecological breakdown, manifesting as increasingly frequent and larger wildfires is forcing the State of California to readjust its present relationship to its landscape through a complex network of aesthetic, scientific, political and cultural terms. Contrary to the facsimile version of its landscape canonized by its iconic media output, a reading of the present day California is to understand its wilderness as both property and resource, a political space produced by intersecting forces of capital, labour and technology.
Paying homage to the medium of the photo book, a series of images are produced in which to document the present condition of nature while engaging with it creatively and critically in the context of pre and post-wildfire adaptation. The mobilisation of the ‘still’ image into a disrupted sequence is an attempt to rupture the familiarity of a scene played out in order and to scatter thoughts and images into different linkages or new alignments. The is no single readable prose but rather a multiplicity of layers that intersect and overlap, representing and critiquing the State and it’s ecological crisis as a complex catastrophe of systematic subtexts: insufficient governance; inappropriate policy; dangerous material culture and architectural indulgence.