Category: First Thursdays — Published:

The weather is steadily getting colder, which has us sprinting towards cozy galleries this month! For the September edition of First Thursdays online, we’re partnering with a couple of local, East London spaces who present a series of exhibition openings, live events and workshops to fill your calendars this autumn.

Our friends at arebyte Gallery take visitors on a journey through a pseudo tech exposition while the folks at Fitzrovia Noir Making Space share a public programme of visual and live art, talks, workshops and residencies exploring concepts of utopia and dystopia.

Ben Grosser, Software for Less (still). Courtesy of arebyte Gallery.

arebyte Gallery

Software for Less
20 August – 23 October 2021

arebyte Gallery presents Software for Less, an exhibition examining the cultural, social and political effects of software on contemporary society, by Ben Grosser. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK, the show takes you on a journey through a pseudo tech exposition. Each work is presented as a product that could have come out of an alternative Silicon Valley, interrogating and reimagining how software is created, operated and sold. Viewers are asked to consider the influence software and social media have on us, asking: how is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing our conceptions of friendship? Who benefits when a software system can intuit how we feel? 

Utilising custom methods such as software recomposition, techniques such as data obfuscation and genres that include video supercuts and net art, Software for Less presents functional applications and media-based artworks that produce less profit, less data and less users. At the centre of the exhibition is a new platform called Minus, a social network where users only get 100 posts—for life. Rather than the algorithmic feeds, visible “like” counts, and infinite scrolls employed by big tech to induce endless user engagement, Minus limits how much one posts to the feed, and foregrounds—as its only visible and dwindling metric – how few opportunities they have left. Not software for more, but Software for Less.

Ben Grosser, Software for Less exhibition installation view. Photo: by Ollie Rudkin.

Fitzrovia Noir Making Space

U(Dys)topia(s): Imagining the Futures
A project by Young Blood Initiative
Opening 2 September 2021

Is a single utopia possible? Is my utopia the same as yours?

U(Dys)topia(s) is a public programme of visual and live art, talks, workshops and residencies hosted by Fitzrovia Noir Making Space this month. The project explores the concepts of Utopia and Dystopia in order to ask questions about the present and think about potential futures. It researches ideas and questions about what is possible, the value of thinking and rehearsing different futures, the risks and advantages of thinking in utopian and dystopian terms, the role of radical imagination in shaping future events and what this means in the present. The research will be presented through artworks, live presentations, public programmes and open studio events taking place both on and offline.

Over the course of four weeks, new artworks, performances, workshops and talks will feature and be facilitated by artists including Mara Vivas, Bettina Fung, Colleen Bartley, Gareth Hopkins, Ghost and John, Mirei Yazawa, Peter Barnard, Sarah Woolfenden, Catherine Harrington and Mary Mannion.

Find out more and discover individual events on the Young Blood Initiative website.

Mara Viva, Mapping. Courtesy of the artist.

Ghost and John, There Are Gods Around Us, performance. Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Monica Tolia.

On the first Thursday of every month, over 150 galleries in East London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening or online celebration. Find out more about First Thursdays here.