Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London
By Global Art Daily’s Editorial Board
Published on May 9th, 2021
Students from Royal College of Art’s MA Course in Curating Contemporary Art have just injected some energy in post-lockdown London. In partnership with Gasworks, Andreanne Beguin, Atom Chen, Sarah Daher, Zifei Ge, Hayley Gibson, Jiawei Gu, and Brenna Horrox have collectively curated a group exhibition and public art intervention entitled Fulfilment Services Ltd, acommpanied by a pristine website and series of digital activations. The result is a hyper site-specific exhibition, which nevertheless resonates globally, as issues raised by the curators and artists selected are very much in dialogue with the world outside of the United Kingdom. Fulfilment Services Ltd takes from the vernacular aesthetic and vocabulary of techno-capitalism with artists whose work question the widespread supply and demand networks that fulfills consumer needs and desires. The exhibition features newly commissioned work from Arvid & Marie, Florence Jung, Frank Wang Yefeng, and DNA (also known as FCNN), unfolding across physical and digital spaces of distribution including billboards, delivery vehicles, and a digital platform.
1. Fulfilment Services Ltd. logo. Courtesy of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
“Our curatorial team has navigated this project across 4 different time zones over the course of the last nine months. In spite of these difficulties and the constant uncertainty of the parameters of the project due to the pandemic we found a way to produce an exhibition that reflects on the time in which it was produced in both its medium and its message. ”
- Sarah Daher, Co-Curator of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
Sarah Daher, one of the exhibition co-curators and a frequent contributor at Global Art Daily, comments on the internationalization of the exhibition, caused by the remote nature of the curatorial process during the pandemic. She remains hopeful, however, that the curatorial team “found a way to produce an exhibition that reflects on the time in which it was produced in both its medium and its message.”
The exhibition deals with the “logistics of systemized supply chain”: “algorithm to ‘click to buy’ to factory worker to shipping container to gig delivery driver to momentarily satisfied and fulfilled consumer, from there we link, de-link, and re-link” explain the curatorial team. “The artists specially commissioned for this exhibition were selected with the specific intention of bringing different perspectives to the questions we were asking”, explains Daher. “Arvid&Marie bring their design background, Frank Wang Yefeng brings his digital expertise, Florence hers on scenario building, and D.N.A. their unique hydrofeminist non-Western perspective. Together their responses address the contemporary condition of (un)fulfilment from a variety of complementary angles.”
“The artists specially commissioned for this exhibition were selected with the specific intention of bringing different perspectives to the questions we were asking. Arvid&Marie bring their design background, Frank Wang Yefeng brings his digital expertise, Florence hers on scenario building, and D.N.A. their unique hydrofeminist non-Western perspective. Together their responses address the contemporary condition of (un)fulfilment from a variety of complementary angles.”
- Sarah Daher, Co-Curator of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
The four new artist commissions situate themselves in and around London on billboards, delivery vehicles and digitally on an e-commerce platform and website. These works come together under the unified spirit of corroding existing networks of dissemination. The curatorial premise of the exhibition raises awareness to these networks and never-ending loops of consumerist desires. “The focus on dissemination, logistics capitalism, and fulfilment (both emotional and practical) came from an examination of the networks within which we are so intricately bound,” explains Daher. In this sense, the techno-capitalistic message of the exhibition is linked to its visual identity, which itself is linked to the exhibition presentation and format on billboards and URL pages. The co-curators have essentially created a brand, to question the idea of brands themselves.
Fulfilment Services Ltd raises many questions that are relevant not only in London but in many large metropolitan areas today. As their exhibition foreword reads: “Under existing infrastructures of production and consumption, networks are constantly in multi-directional movement building new needs once existing ones have been satisfied. In an ever-expanding and dissatisfying system we ask crucially: is capitalism fulfilling consumers or are consumers fulfilling capitalism?”
3. Fulfilment Services Ltd. Website. Courtesy of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
4. Map of billboards sites. Courtesy of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
5. Florence Jung - Clapton - Jung79. Courtesy of Fulfilment Services Ltd.
“The focus on dissemination, logistics capitalism, and fulfilment (both emotional and practical) came from an examination of the networks within which we are so intricately bound. Delivery and the movement of goods around the world is a continuous cycle within which we ask to what end do these practices perpetuate. ”
- Fulfilment Services Ltd. Curators
“Fulfilment Services Ltd.” is a collaboration between the Curating Contemporary Art Programme at the Royal College of Art and Gasworks. The exhibition runs until May 10th, 2021 officially with some billboards remaining up for another week after that. Find the map of billboards here.
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Fulfilment Services Ltd. is curated by Andreanne Beguin, Zidong Chen, Sarah Daher, Zifei Ge, Hayley Gibson, Jiawei Gu and Brenna Horrox from the MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme as part of the Graduate Projects 2021, Royal College of Art in partnership with Gasworks, supported by Jack Arts and Print&Digital.
Gasworks is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation working at the intersection between UK and international practices and debates. Established in 1994, the organisation provides studios for London-based artists, commissions emerging UK-based and international artists to present their first major exhibitions in the UK, and develops a highly respected international residencies programme, which offers rare opportunities for international artists to research and develop new work in London. All programmes are accompanied by events and participatory workshops that engage audiences directly with artists and their work.