Thomas Lock: Breaking Points

In a new exhibition on east London's Vyner Street, the British artist presents photographic work inspired by the Atlantic Wall

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Brit artist Thomas Lock explores the sensory connections and merging of the visual and audio in his new exhibition Breaking Points, at Past Vyner Street, in London. Inspired by Atlantic Wall, by cultural theorist Paul Virilio, the exhibition combines photographic imagery of second world war bunkers from the northern coast of France and audio field recordings of the surrounding area.

Through a random collage of hundreds of images and sounds, achieved through computer programming, Lock's images of the vast, uninhabited concrete structures struggling against the force of mother nature and natural decay creates an endless, unpredictable journey through Lock's world of ruin and permanence. We spoke to the artist to find out more about inspiration for his new work and how technology has influenced and enhanced his artistic work.

Dazed Digital: What was the inspiration/thought process behind the Breaking Points exhibition?
Thomas Lock: I was inspired to start work on Breaking Points after seeing Paul Virilio Bunker Archeology and from an ongoing interest in abandoned architecture. The main thought process behind the work was to create an environment reflective of the bunkers and their surrounding landscape that deconstructs and reconstructs images of them in unpredictable ways.

DD: Who are some of the people that you have collaborated with? What was it like working with those people?
Thomas Lock:
I collaborated with programmers Hellicar & Lewis and sound artist Robin Rimbaud. I have never worked with any kind of computer programming before, so that was really interesting. Hellicar & Lewis open source everything they do, so it was refreshing to work in that way. Robin is great, we spent a lot of time discussing what the sound could bring to the work and reflecting on which sounds connectedwith the imagery.

DD: How difficult was it collecting and collating all the material for the installations?
Thomas Lock:
I had funding from Le Fresnoy, so that helped a lot with getting to the bunkers. I travelled across the northern coast of France for two weeks and photographed/explored every bunker I encountered. There were some difficulties with heavy snow at times. Editing the images and getting them to a stage that where they worked as a whole was a time consuming process, but it was enjoyable.

DD: Did you experience any difficulties/challenges whilst putting Breaking Points together?
Thomas Lock:
When I initially began the researching into the bunkers, I spent a long time considering how to approach the subject matter as it is loaded with many connotations. Discovering the best way for me to approach this project was the biggest hurdle.

DD: How does new technology inform your creative work?
Thomas Lock:
It would really depend on what your definition of new technology is. Within this work it has allowed me to present the material in a randomized and real time environment. All the software used through Open Frameworks is really light due to the type of code used within it. This allows you to have a more powerful control of what you can do with the software compared to previous generations of artists working with programming.


DD: The sensory experience provided by image and sound are a huge part of your work, if you had to pick just one of the five senses of the human body which would you pick and why?
Thomas Lock:
I would probably pick sight, as that's what I feel most connected to.

DD: What up and coming projects are you working on?
Thomas Lock:
At the moment I am planning an animation work.

Breaking Points, by Thomas Lock, at Past Vyner Street. The exhibition is open by appointment and Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 from 11am – 6pm.

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