Nestled among the industrial estates and artist studios in Hackney Wick is Arebyte gallery. Its latest group show brings together five Royal College of Art graduates to explore what the future may hold for our society, and how it will shape our lives.
The themes are diverse and cover a fictional billionaire's long-term vision for space exploration and questioning what will happen to aesthetics if evolution changes our body shapes: will the photographed figures who look grotesquely disproportioned today be widely accepted as beautiful in the future?
Alexa Pollman looks at the fact that many of the world's people today lead nomadic lifestyles in search of employment and ask whether this will change our perception of statehood. Through both a graphic novel and accompanying sculptures, viewers are presented with people seemingly fused with wheeled machines with travelling becoming a necessary part of their lifestyles.
The most eye-catching works belong to Kathryn Fleming who imagines the Regent's Park of the future, where animals are genetically engineered for our viewing pleasure. Her work features a six-legged carnivore that glows when exposed to flash photography and a cross between a deer and a giraffe whose antlers spiral fruit down to its mouth in an overly-elaborate style.
Our favourite work is arguably the subtlest — Zoe Hough has created a video centred around happiness. Blackburn has been deemed the unhappiest place in the UK so the film focusses on a meeting about whether it should be renamed Yellowburn — since the colour black is associated with funerals and death while yellow is the colour of sunshine and sunflowers. Though the idea seems ludicrous, it's possible to imagine the discussions in the film happening at a Government think tank.
This group show blends tongue-in-cheek humour with concepts that are based on where society might be heading. It makes for a perceptive and entertaining exhibition.
Next Brave New World is on at Arebyte Gallery, Unit 4, 49 White Post Lane, Queens Yard, E9 5EN until 16 September. Entrance is free and the gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday.