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hey production! Judith Hopf, Pia Ronicke, and the Copenhagen

A Cubitt Gallery Exhibition

Sat 31 May – Fri 27 Jun 2003

hey production! brings together works by Judith Hopf, Pia Ronicke, and the Copenhagen Free University. The works are housed within two commissioned exhibition structures, designed by Florian Pumhosl, which are based on original functionalist furniture designs from Victor Papanek and James Hennessey’s 1973 publication ‘Nomadic Furniture’ – a DIY manual which proposed a new ecologically and socially responsible mode of living.

Victor Papanek, a pioneer in ecological, environmental and ethical design, published ‘Nomadic Furniture’, as a design manual that aimed at bringing his ideas into everyday use by introducing an ethos of recycling, flexibility and DIY. The designs that Florian Pumhosl and Stephan Rabeck have appropriated for this exhibition are based on Papanek and Hennessey’s ‘Living Cubes’, simple wooden frameworks for nomadic rooms, customisable for multiple functions, easily collapsed and reassembled when on the move. Reconstructing these designs as minimal, empty structures, Pumhösl investigates the aesthetics of utopian thinking, looking at these models as transporters for ideas and ideologies.

Pia Ronicke’s work investigates architecture as a product of human imagination, thinking about how aspects of our daily lives are affected by the edifices that surround us – do our needs and lifestyles shape our habitat, or does the architecture that we inhabit actually have some affect on the way we live? Her film Cell City – A System of Errors, is an animated ‘structural’ city that floats in space. Based on modular elements, it is constantly evolving and changing in form. A seemingly utopian and democratic system disguises a totalitarianism that has been built on ideologies formed outside of any given context; nothing exists outside of the structure.

Judith Hopf’s film Hey Produktion is based on her research into the legacy of the liberation movement and looks at human interaction. Linking sixties’ ideas of collective activity and social integration to contemporary counterparts such as teamwork and self-management, Hopf seeks to question the drive for productivity in contemporary society and the search for mental relaxation and inner or utopic values. The film culminates in a dance routine that fuses postures from practices such as yoga and t’ai chi with chorus line choreography.

The Copenhagen Free University is an experimental, artist-run institution based in the home of Henriette Heise and Jakob Jakobsen. Taking the institution of the university as their frame of reference they offer other possibilities for knowledge production and exchange that retreat from what has been termed ‘the knowledge economy’. They describe the University as being dedicated to the production and exchange of critical consciousness and poetic language, working with ‘forms of knowledge that are fleeting, fluid, schizophrenic, uncompromising, subjective, uneconomic, acapitalist, produced in the kitchen, produced when asleep or arisen on a social excursion – collectively.’ The ABZ of the Copenhagen University provides definitions of concepts that are key to their work, definitions that change over the course of time as they are modified by the ongoing exchange of the institution.

This exhibition has been curated and organised by Emily Pethick, Curator at Cubitt, London.

hey production! is supported by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation, the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Danish Contemporary Art Foundation.