UCL East


Slade alumni to create 'science fiction mothership' at UCL East

19 March 2021

Two internationally respected artists – both UCL alumni from London - have been chosen to create cutting-edge public art for the university’s new campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, UCL East.

Larry and David wearing funny goggles as part of an artistic project.

Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, renowned for their work involving gaming, videos and sculpture, will jointly produce permanent artwork for the campus’s Marshgate building, due to open in September 2023.

Drawing on their existing collaborative work that shares stories of communal and personal heritage, the duo are aiming to ‘create a work that reimagines Marshgate itself as a science fiction mothership.’

The artists, who studied at UCL Slade School of Fine Art, were selected through a competitive interview process, led by Head of Public Art Sam Wilkinson and the UCL East Public Art Committee.

UCL is one of the few UK universities to have adopted a university-wide public art policy, empowering artists to stimulate interdisciplinary relationships and contribute to the wider understanding of the work of the university, its place in London and the global challenges that UCL research addresses.

Larry, who studied a Master’s in Sculpture at UCL Slade School of Fine Art in 2008, said: “We’re going to create an archive of stories, an artwork that is grounded, real and human; formed of the dreams of the life of the building, revealing the inner lives of the people who inhabit the infrastructure during both the day and night.

“Through our research around the site we will examine play’s centrality to creativity and selfhood, how this inspires research and growth in fields as diverse as engineering, robotics, AI and art.

“Through this process we will create new work that expands our investigations into anthropology and science fiction, offering visions that question what a better world might look, feel and sound like.”

David, who studied a Master’s in Fine Art Media at UCL Slade School of Fine Art in 2003, added: “These mythologies will be both collected, through extensive research into cultures from across the world reflected in the local area, and created, through collaboration with the huge range of users of the building, from local communities and research scientists through to artists and fabricators. We will create a work that reimagines Marshgate itself as a science fiction mothership.

“Our practice is collaborative, and we love to invite others into that conversation, building stories together to imagine different possibilities and examine the world around us. Through conversations, writing together and building virtual spaces together, we’ve worked with multiple communities to give a space for people to make self-portraits inside the computer space.”

Professor Paola Lettieri, Director of UCL East, said: “We are delighted Larry and David will create this important artwork. They were chosen due to their innovative approach to telling people’s stories and how keen they are to engage with complex local communities who can be poorly represented.

“Exploring key issues such as intolerance and immigration, David and Larry have developed a fantastic artistic practice breaking the boundaries between the creative disciplines – which is true to the interdisciplinary ethos we are embedding at UCL East.”

Read the full story on UCL News