NPA Lab | 2020

Neil Musson

Established

Neil Musson creates physical structures which change social structures. In 2012 Musson founded M+R as a collaborative arts practice to explore the way in which art can redefine place.

Laura Melissa Williams

Emerging

Laura Melissa Williams is an artist, designer, paraglider and all-round geek. Her work focuses on connection: with each other and with the world around us. She was shortlisted for the Liberty Specialty Markets Art Award in 2019 – 2020.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘Cloth Creative’ (2020)

“Art is always ahead of its time because the artist has the intuition to feel the future” – Neil Musson, Artist

“The artworks are inspired by the above quote from my conversation with Neil as part of NPA Lab. The paintings are of imagined future cities as seen from space at night. They include 3 cities we know and love well now and 3 potential future cities that may be thriving in 2100. Each city is based on how I foresee culture, technology, energy systems, infrastructure, social, political, economic and environmental considerations may impact how and where we live in the future. The paintings reference my existing ‘Cities from Space at night’ paintings.”

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: Vegasol
Energy source: solar
History:
Known as Las Vegas through the early part of the 21st Century, the city shifted its focus away from a global gambling hub to a city harnessing the power of the sun. After the global energy drought of 2032 Vegasol is now the largest exporter of solar renewable energy across the world.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: Londoniam
Energy source: nuclear, natural gas and fossil fuels
History: Political challenges meant Londoniam failed to adequately protect itself from rising sea levels and the Tsunami of 2045 that wreaked havoc across most of Central and East London. Wind farms, marshland and slums now occupy inner London, while the suburban hubs have become the focus for economic activity.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: Polaris, North Pole
Energy source: Wind and Oil
History: After decades of ‘hard power’ politics and military might to stake territorial claims to the arctic, Polaris – a ‘soft power’ collaboration between Denmark and Russia – was born in 2075. Polaris is built on the sea bed and floats above the ice caps – meaning it works in harmony with local climate conditions and is accessible all year round. Emerging research in the latter part of the 21st Century around the healing power of the North and South Poles have placed Polaris as a destination healing retreat for artists and the wealthy.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: Akingdom
Energy source: Solar
History: Akingdom is the shining example of 21st Century development in Africa. Leapfrog technologies have made this smart city a shining beacon, blending a heady mix of prosperous economic growth with spiritual, cultural and tribal considerations.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: Indigenius
Energy source: every kind of renewable and regenerative resource
History: After centuries of persecution Indigenous communities paved the way for the world to respond to the 2020 climate crisis with teachings and a focus on natural systems and new forms of economic work fit for the 21st Century. They led the way for the alternative smart city: one where regeneration rules and people live in harmony with the land and the planet.

Laura Melissa Williams

‘City Worlds, 2100’ (2020)

City: San Jobio
Energy source: bioluminescence
History: Working with the world-leading bioluminescence lab at Golfo Dulce on the coast, San Jobio is dedicated to nature: in 2028 it designated itself the worlds first ‘dark city’ – where nocturnal animals roam free and tourists come to marvel at the incredible Universe above. Everything, from street lighting, pavements, city transport and even clothing has been created with bioluminescent properties.

Laura Melissa Williams

Laura is an artist, designer, paraglider and all-round geek. Her work focuses on connection: with each other and with the world around us. She’s explored and tackled thorny subjects such as ‘love in a modern world’ with the Wellcome Collection – researching how online dating impacts our bodies, hearts and minds. Other projects include ‘the power of touch’ and private spaces in public places in her ‘Public Toilet Project’. She works collaboratively, translating stories and poems from others into artworks. Her art practice uses digital and non-digital mediums including sculpture, painting and drawing, projection, audio, film and animation.

Neil Musson

‘In My Father’s House’ (2019)

Performance piece at the Venice Biennale

“Reflective conversations are an important part of understanding new directions and I am happy to share my experience and encourage others.” 

Neil Musson

‘The Heart of the House’ (2018)

Installation at Compton Verney

Neil Musson creates physical structures which change social structures. Arts Council England describe the work as “ground breaking” and The Guardian comments that “Musson’s original approach falls somewhere between sculpture, architecture and performance.”  In 2012 Musson founded M+R as a collaborative arts practice to explore the way in which art can redefine place. The practice has recently transformed the interior of the worlds largest airport with animated sculpture, performed interactive artworks at the Venice Biennale and designed an art gallery which floats in the sky above its viewers. M+R have won several awards for their sensitive approach to subject matter such as revolution, migration, identity and displacement of people groups.

M+R comment that: “Our work responds to people; to conversations, social structures and inhabited landscapes. We create experimental interventions which change the way people behave. Those who experience and reflect on our work become the ongoing and ever changing expression of that work – we consider the viewer to be the artwork as much as anything we make.”

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