Artist Georgia Tucker discusses her utopia inspired installation Advena, situated at W London in Leicester Square.
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I studied Fine Art at Birmingham School of Art, graduating in 2019 but continued with my masters part-time - due to finish this week! After my degree show I was lucky enough to be chosen for a solo show at Orleans House Gallery in Richmond and shortly after gained a BBC commission to produce a VR installation looking at ocean pollution entitled Conniveo - this gained quite a lot of attention and even with lockdown halting the touring of the show, I was able to give talks online such as at the United Nations World Oceans Week with the Explorer's Club.
How did the collaboration between you and W London come about?
During the past year I designed and planned Advena, exploring what influences us to travel. I knew I wanted to display the experience within a luxury and recognised hotel once the virtual reality (VR) was complete, supporting the contextual side to the work. W London is all about being bold and doing things differently so I sent the marketing manager a proposal for the work and the rest is history.
Advena (2021) is a VR resort and immersive installation that responds to our insatiable desire for escapism during the pandemic - providing the viewer an idyllic landscape of tropical fauna, pink doughnuts, colourful architecture, opalescent orbs and warm beaches. Though there is also an uncomfortable undertone to the island, exploring the ecological and social impact of tourism and its corresponding resort culture, questioning the effect social media has had on the way we travel and what influences us.
Through creating a notion of ‘Island life within the city’ (Ballymore, 2014), Advena draws attention to the marketing techniques used by developers and the impossibilities of creating paradise within a physical space. Advena also features an augmented reality (AR) experience that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Advena is translated as stranger, alien, tourist in Latin. All of my past shows have been in Latin and I find the viewer forms a stronger connection with these words as they are new and they are able to explore them, discovering the meaning behind the work.
Looking at The Bilbao Effect, art itself became a method of attracting tourism (Franklin, 2016). Advena increased footfall to the hotel post-pandemic and being within Leicester Square; ‘the beating heart of London’, meant the work attracted an extremely diverse audience who wouldn’t necessarily visit a gallery. Being so central also meant Advena became an easily accessible destination in itself, especially with a wall mural outside the hotel.
Playfulness mainly, escaping from the grey of everyday life for half an hour - while also highlighting the need for these over-stimulating experiences, constantly craving more in our fast paced lives. As human beings we rarely question what is being sold to us, we often become absorbed, obsessed even, by gated communities, locked environments and resorts that we have no prior experience of. Advena in this way “is no longer just an object to contemplate on the wall of a gallery or museum, but it is one that we can explore and become a part of” (Giampietro, 2016). Ultimately we remember our experiences far beyond the experience itself.
The response to Advena has been unprecedented in a brilliant way. Building the work while living alone during lockdown meant that I wasn't prepared for the public response to the experience, and I've been overwhelmed by the positive feedback on social media and within the press. The interactive side to the work requires participation from the audience outside of a screen, it requires embodiment of a space and journey - something we've all craved post-pandemic. Throughout Advena there is an increasing awareness of the crucial and complex role of the body in making and experiencing art.
a month ago
by Emma O'Connor