Nils Norman: ODE TO CHARLES FOURIER towards a Phalanstery for Manchester
Exhibition Private View: 6-8pm, Friday 8th July 2011
Exhibition continues: 9th July – 20th August 2011
Late Night Opening: 6-8pm, Thursday 18th August
CUBE is delighted to showcase a new site specific commission by internationally acclaimed artist Nils Norman.
Norman has created a special installation that engages CUBE’s main galleries in themes of utopia, play, public art and work. As a hybrid prototype for a future creative industries studio, the walk, crawl-through and climbable sculpture is inspired by the writing of nineteenth-century French utopian socialist Charles Fourier and doubles as a potential outdoor play structure for a public space in Manchester.
Charles Fourier dedicated his life to devising a systematic utopian society called ‘New Harmony’ in which he described its architecture, social organisation and economy. The special units in which these utopians would live are called Phalanstries – large greenhouse-like pavilions housing a vast array of work related activities based on people’s desires and enjoyment. People would be organised by their passionate attractions; daily work and pleasures would be arranged each evening in the Exchange. The ultimate goal of this system would be to satisfy –rather than repress – people’s passions.
The installation at CUBE conceptually combines Fourier's ideas with Norman's own research into utopia, playscapes and creative industry workspaces. The structure is built loosely around Fourier’s architectural vision for a group design workshop and combines this vision with the idea of a self-sustainable design office for adventure playgrounds, complete with hot-desking areas, a vermiculture paper shredder, mushroom logs, nap-zones and white-boarding brainstorming areas. There is also a small library of models – as one would find in an architect’s office – of adventure playgrounds. Norman’s prototype for a future workspace has the potential to be adapted to a real playground and public sculpture for outdoor use.