Whether we consider past, future or present, fiction has a critical role. It provides ways of knowing, understanding and questioning ourselves and our histories; of analysing our cultures and dreaming of new futures. Fiction is the catalyst for its contestation, and counterpart to prevailing notions of fact, truth and perception. In the last decade our reality has permuted. It is more common now to ask, ‘Is this real or not?’ rather than, ‘Is this right or not?’ Truth, reality and fiction are at the fore of our cultural landscape and it would seem that fiction at times outperforms reality. Used to beguile, confuse and alienate, fiction is also form of hyperstition: conjuring into existence whole new worlds through the process of its own narration. Siphoning from unearthed sewer networks to global FinTech skyscrapers, gothic carnival facades to suspicious and auditory happenings, our six new commissions together create a wealth of speculative visions that haunt and excite our imagination, representing the diverse and tumultuous landscape of our media, politics, social environments and culture: here the confluence of appearance, fiction and reality is all to play for
A sprawling network of tunnels across the car park roof, Unearthed Underground takes its reference and form from the original London sewer system designed by Joseph Bazalgette in 1865. As a teenage punk in the 1990s, Liz Glynn watched as indie and punk were subsumed by the market and now questions whether an “underground” is still possible in today’s global environment.
Equally inspired by the writing of Dostoyevsky, Victor Hugo and C.S. Lewis – where the underground represents a darker, fantastic and utopian space – Liz Glynn is equally concerned with historical cases of those members of society operating literally and figuratively in the shadows below ground. Liz Glynn likens the act of uprooting the sewer to the current political climate, where the social discomforts hiding beneath a society can no longer be ignored.