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SOM Foundation UK Award

Untitled, 2014. Mixed Media

Part 2 Project 2014
Mike Lim
Royal College of Art | UK
‘Untitled, 2014. Mixed Media.’ presents a critical design project that interrogates the United Kingdom’s dependency on its Creative Economy. This work questions whether the continued application of financial mechanisms to the Creative Arts and the increasing co-alignment between our economic and cultural sectors is ultimately devaluing their inherent worth.

2014. January. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announces that the UK’s Creative Industries are worth £8 million/hr to the economy. Placing such a definitive value on our creative resource recognises its potential to be lost.

February. The Worshipful Guild of Arts is granted its livery status within the City Of London. Its founding council consists of a Lawyer, two Bankers and Lloyd Grossman. Situated on Austin Friars Passage, the Guild sits within a pre-existing network of curated, cultural objects throughout the City.

Projecting a massive shift in our creative values, this work offers a cautionary tale of over-cultural quantification. Taking the Guild as the Monster of a regulated future and documenting its growth across a fictional timeline, we see the formalisation of this cultural network as an architecture that is characterised into an emotional response.

2034. Where Britain was `Great' - London will be Greater.

Amidst widespread cultural capital gains during an era of Creative Obesity, a speculative boom spreads throughout London’s Creative Class. The Worshipful Guild of Arts expands within the City as cultro-economic dependency grows. However, when it is revealed that certain prominent London artists are buying their own work at auction to inflate their hype, the integrity of the London market collapses. Investors pull out, unable to trust existing value systems, returning to material cost. As cultural credit evaporates, London's economy crumbles with it - ushering in an age of Cultural Austerity.

Following the implementation of Cultural Austerity and Regulation, we see the overwhelming expansion of the Guild’s administrative bodies. From the foundations of its ancestry, the Curated Workspace is built in the image of the trusted city vernacular. Rejecting self-gratifying object iconicism, we see the regulated growth of an established condition – a language of expansion from the celebration of the un-original.

Mike Lim


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