The Geopolitics Of The Humble Christmas Pud & Other Highlights From Design & Empire [Working Title]

We take a look at four artists converging this weekend for an ambitious Liverpool Biennial-led programme: people whose ideas jab and nudge at the power structures and politics left over from the former British Empire, and which remain embedded within contemporary and historical design, visual art, and consumer culture…

Christopher Kulendran Thomas (above)

“What if homes were streamable, just like music or movies? You could be wherever, whenever, but always at home…”

We love British artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas’ New Eelam project (above), commissioned for last year’s Berlin Biennale. Taking the shape of a fictional tech start-up, Kulendran Thomas proposed a flexible housing service would give global citizens a stake in homes across the world. New Eelam is next gen: for people who don’t want to choose between the security of home ownership and the flexibility to move around. As the promo video’s sales person smoothly states: “So the whole world can be our home.”

Expect Kulendran Thomas to discuss this acutely pertinent work and the radical possibilities of collective ownership with Shumi Bose – Senior Lecturer co-ordinating Contextual Studies for BA Architecture at Central Saint Martins, London, who collaborated with Sir David Chipperfield on the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale – and Prem Krishnamurthy – founding principal of Project Projects design studio, New York/LA, and recipient of Cooper Hewitt Museum’s 2015 National Design Award for Communication Design.

See Kulendran Thomas at Empire Talks I, Saturday 25 November, 1.30–2.30pm, Design Studio at Liverpool School of Art & Design



Paul Elliman 

British artist and designer Paul Elliman has been making a typography from found objects since the 1980s, most notably organising his collection into precise categories for MOMA’s Ecstatic Alphabets / Heaps of Language exhibition in 2012. Creating a changing font from selected urban debris – cardboard packaging, wrecked jewellery, parts from musical instruments, keys, tin foil cake cases – Found Fount (pictured, above) is both sustainable and charming. It is a font requiring imagination, where no one character is used more than once and can ever look the same, made from things at the end of their lifespan. In Elliman’s hands, these worthless, sometimes damaged items become the prized and functional relics of contemporary mass production and disposable culture.

Collaborating with Liverpool Biennial on a visual identity for next year’s festival, Elliman will also talk about his relationship with discarded objects and signs this weekend in a one-off lecture: finding words, language and value in the mundane, and on the streets of Merseyside, Michigan and Silicon Valley.

See Elliman’s Ruins of Empire: Detroit as Refrain/The Liverpool Echo, Saturday 25 November, 6.30–7.30pm, The Serving Library at Liverpool School of Art & Design

Cooking Sections The Empire Remains Christmas Pudding-slider


Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe)

Did you know that Christmas Puddings are usually made on the last Sunday before Advent, aka Stir Up Sunday? Making the dessert in front of a live audience this Stir Up Sunday, London-based Cooking Sections will help us understand our world better through food: tracking the international ingredients and locations from which the humble Christmas Pud is sourced.

It’s a fitting event for two artists known for their research into the British Empire and the far-reaching impact it has had on us all today: opening The Empire Remains Shop (above) on the Capital’s famous Baker Street last year to highlight the complex and exploitative history (cultural, economic and political) of exotic fruits, sugar, rum, cocoa, spices and more drawn from the British territories – often through slavery. A reinvention of the real Empire Shops that were planned, but never opened, in the 1920s to teach us about foreign foodstuffs, Cooking Sections’ The Empire Remains Shop has brought the politics of our food and where it comes from – quite literally – back to the table.

Meet Cooking Sections at Stir-up Sunday, Sunday 26 November, 10.30–12pm, LJMU’s Exhibition Research Lab at Liverpool School of Art & Design

Laura Robertson, Editor

See all these events and more as part of Design & Empire [working title]: presented by Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool John Moores University and curated by Prem Krishnamurthy, Emily King, and Joasia Krysa

Friday 24 until Sunday 26 November 2017 at venues across Liverpool City Centre

FREE, booking required here

Official event page here

Follow along on social media with #DAE17 

Top: New Eelam from Easton West on Vimeo; sections of Paul Elliman’s Found Fount, courtesy the artist; The Empire Remains Shop Christmas Pudding, and the shop’s 2016 installation in London, courtesy Cooking Sections

Posted on 23/11/2017 by thedoublenegative