4th September 2018
Dance performance in Studio INI’s kinetic Greek Pavilion installation marks launch of 2018 London Design Biennale

A dance performance by Akram Khan Company’s Dickson Mbi within central installation of the Somerset House Courtyard, marked the launch of the 2018 London Design Biennale.

Presented by Studio INI (London and Athens) and led by Nassia Inglessis, the kinetic installation, entitled ‘ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ’ (Disobedience), represents Greece at this year’s London Design Biennale and responds to the theme of Emotional States. It was selected from 40 countries for the central courtyard exhibit at Somerset House, and couples rigorous design research with public engagement to create an experiential installation.

ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ is comprised of a 17 metre-long wall constructed from a steel spring skeleton built up with recycled plastic which flexes, morphs and breathes around the human body. Visitors can transgress through this mechanical boundary, and as they tread, experience the skin of the wall transforming in response. The public are invited to participate in a mood of creative disobedience by transitioning from an obedient spectator to a disobedient actor, physically passing through (or ‘in between’) the wall along an undulating walkway. Emotions such as curiosity, ambivalence, frustration, temptation, excitement and wonder are amplified, as visitors experience the feeling of passing in between a boundary and uniquely impacting its shape. ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ is part experimental engineering, part walkable design, and will join London’s public realm for the duration of the Biennale.

In the spirit of disobedience, the installation changes our interactions with the physical environment, challenging a perception of architecture as something static, or emotionally inert. It encourages visitors to imagine a world in which buildings, boundaries and walkways morph and adapt in response to human intent, shedding light on a potential future for cities. Studio INI, which is led by designer Nassia Inglessis, calls this technique ‘augmented materiality’ or ‘AM’, using digital tools and computation to apply technologies and ideas derived from digital design to the physical, material world. Whereas the more commonly known ‘augmented reality’ enhances reality through layers of computer-generated information in order to simulate interactivity in a real-world environment, AM evolves away from the purely digital, embedding interactive capability in matter itself and in this way connecting the material world directly to human perception and response. The concept of ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ (pron. anipakoi) has been used throughout history to describe the Greek temperament, with explorations of disobedience dating back to Ancient Greece and its internationally influential mythology. From the cautionary tales of Ikaros and Antigone, to Prometheus, a hero who feels a moral obligation to disobey the gods in order to create opportunities for human progress.

Nassia Inglessis, Founder of Studio INI, comments: “We believe that creative disobedience has the ability to break barriers, open borders and reconstruct a space for something better. Our design explores the duality in the nature of disobedience. How can we design to evoke or experience disobedience yet harness its constructive potential? Greece is now in a significant time of re-inventing itself. But for as long as there have been rules, there has been disobedience. Scientists discover by disobeying the assumptions of predecessors; children learn by disobeying the boundaries of parents; designers create by disobeying the norm”.

The Biennale takes place from 4 – 23 September 2018.

Image Credit: Nassia Inglessis, Founder of Studio INI within the work ‘ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ’ (Disobedience), courtesy London Design Biennale © Ed Reeve