The Hanging: Artificial Islands at FirstDraft

January 19th 2017

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Thinking about the kind of future-world I imagined after first watching Back to the Future, I fantasised about tomorrow’s cities – bustling with self-driving cars, spoiled with impossibly tall towers, and emerging out of excessively stylised landscapes.

In Dubai, a city that breaks more records than Bolt, this idealised future is no longer speculative. Performance and installation artist Eugenia Lim’s new exhibition, Artificial Islands (interior archipelago), critically and humorously explores the future of global cities in our Anthropocentric era.

This installation is a sand monument replica of Dubai’s largest artificial island, Palm Jumeirah. It was constructed over a period of three days, with the help of local workers paid $19 a day – the average wage of a Dubai construction worker. The artist and her team intricately lay sand on bright blue plastic, marking out the seventeen fronds of the iconic manmade landmark.

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While Palm Jumeirah is said to be visible from the moon, Eugenia’s modest 1:2000 scaled replica invites audiences to experience her new landmark up close and at ground level, poetically commenting on the power dynamics and politics of making and marking space.

On the opening night, Eugenia planted a gold flag reading ‘GRAVITY OVERPOWERS ME’ in the gallery space, acknowledging the effects of land reclamation and expansion on the global citizen.

The exhibition seeks to recognise problems that arise from the creation of artificial territories and grand cities, questioning: “Who is included, and, who is excluded from the global city status they seek to represent?” (Joanna Bayndrian, curator).

You can catch Eugenia’s work alongside two other incredible exhibitions at Firstdraft gallery until the 27th of January.


WHAT: ‘Artificial Islands (interior archipelago)’ at Firstdraft
WHO: Eugenia Lim
WHEN: 11 – 27 January 2017
WHERE: Firstdraft gallery, 13-17 Riley St Woolloomooloo
HOW MUCH: Free – more info here