November 24, 2015  —  by

Simon Denny: Products for Organising


Simon Denny has risen to critical acclaim with his work New Management (2014) and most recently with the installation Secret Power (2015), New Zealand’s pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale.

Denny is one of the leading figures of a generation of artists who employ content from the tech industry, the language of advertising and the aesthetics and ideologies of corporations or governmental bodies to scrutinise technology’s role in shaping global culture. With the precision of an investigative journalist, Denny’s complex and layered installations explore the commodification of information, branding and marketing strategies, as well as the relationship between private and public industries. His work challenges numerous themes which are rooted in modern society’s globalised cultures of technology, consumerism, organisation and information control and dissemination.

Through two large-scale installations, which will divide the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Denny looks at technological organisational models in both hacker circles and commercial companies. Hacker culture and tactics are addressed through an adaptation of a work realised in collaboration with architect Alessandro Bava. Made of scaffolding and featuring a constructed path, visitors are invited to experience and walk through this structure and encounter a number of sculptures, models and vitrines developed by Denny with artist/researcher Matt Goerzen and artist/brand consultant Emily Segal. Each of the vitrines presents a social narrative on the organisational history of hacking through gathered archival material.

Opposite this, in the other half of the Gallery, Denny will use the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – one of the three UK agencies that form the country’s security and intelligence system – and commercial tech companies like Zappos and Apple as case studies encapsulated within a new series of sculptural models. These works investigate the ways in which organisations mirror their respective working models with their building’s architecture and use of physical space. Throughout the exhibition, organisational tools emerge as common threads, and connections between the disparate yet similar ways that groups of people gather around technology.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London
25 Nov 2015 to 14 Feb 2016