The 200 Year Continuum exhibition in the V&A’s Henry Cole wing studio entitled ‘Living’

In the studio where he has spent the past six months defining the methodologies of his growing anthology of works entitled The 200 Year Continuum, Christian Kerrigan, the first Digital Artist in Residence at the V&A, presents ‘Living’.

Born and raised just outside Dublin, in Co. Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’, just when computerisation began to cause great changes in Irish history, Kerrigan’s work is concerned with the role advancing technology plays on our society and its relationship to the natural world. As we continue to modify the world and learn more about it, he enquires how this can, with time, modify our understanding of what is natural and beg the question, what is Nature?

The 200 Year Continuum, a timescale greater than a single human life, is the title he has given to his enquiry, with each new body of work acting as a middle story adding to the whole.

“In the progress of knowing and understanding in areas such as science and technology, the human challenge is to be satisfied with the unknown. It is the unknown which drives our innovation and exploration of the world. Deciphering our relationship between man and matter is an exploration I undergo through visual enquiry. I choreograph fundamental characteristics of technology and nature, such as the way computer software functions or yew trees grow. I stretch and integrate them, testing the limits of their attributes. Forging a better understanding of technology and nature allows me to better understand the extent of human endeavour. In this universality, I am, in fact, exploring my self.”

‘Living’ is the consolidation of Kerrigan’s six months at the V&A. In this time, he has begun to explore varying scales, mediums and sounds, forming relationships between nanoscale, video frame rate, colour calibration, chemical gradients, lumens, and natural light, as he considers how to physically manifest the ideas within The 200 Year Continuum.

In the V&A studio, large windows allow the public to penetrate the artist’s most private of moments, those speculative crises when he is trying to determine the trajectory of his own work. The studio has become an interactive tool and public interaction has become an integral component within the work.  Indeed, placing the exhibition within the context of the studio has created a physical home for The 200 Year Continuum.  Through living installation, chemical sculpture, and site-specific digital drawing, ‘Living’ invites the viewer to participate in Kerrigan’s investigation and draw from it their own conclusions.

Supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Victorian & Albert Museum.

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