HIVE at Jaguar Shoes

Philip Smiley's east London expo examines the concept of group mentality and its effect on individuals through his oversized bee illustrations

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Jaguar Shoes Collective hosts Philip Smiley’s latest exhibition ‘Hive’, which focuses on de-individualisation by representing the negative side of group mentality and it’s effect on the individual. The summer exhibition, running until September, will immerse the viewer in an ‘all consuming’ life-size paper installation which comprises exaggerated insects and illustration. In light of the exhibition, Dazed chats to Philip Smiley about the inspiration for his most recent work.

Hive mentality is the dark side of collective consciousness. While it's often perceived as a positive concept, group mentality in itself is seen as as the basis for work in a team, or even a source of creativity, like 'swarm intelligence'

Dazed Digital: Can you start by telling us a little bit about your work for the exhibition?  

Philip Smiley:
I like to experiment and try new techniques, so its usually determined by the concept. In the past I concentrated on the illustrative side but now i've been more interested in the 3D aspect. 

DD: What about the idea of ‘de-individualisation’ or ‘hive mentality’ inspired you? 

Philip Smiley: Hive mentality is the dark side of collective consciousness. While it's often perceived as a positive concept, group mentality in itself is seen as as the basis for work in a team, or even a source of creativity, like 'swarm intelligence'. I wanted to carve out the other side to these ideas, like the loss or complete lack of individuality, once a being succumbs to the power of such super-organisms.

DD: Your work often focuses on the void/connection between rural and urban spaces, (in this case the ‘hive mentality’ of insects and social situations in an urban space) what caused your fascination with this and how/why do you feature it in your work?

Philip Smiley: I think I sense the mystery in nature, and human nature and all the subtle qualities that involves. My images most of the time are quite intricate so like nature its only after closer inspection elements start to reveal themselves.

DD: What is the importance of/or the effect you hope to achieve from creating a ‘paper theatre’ installation?
Philip Smiley: It is something with which the viewer can immerse and interact? 
They'll be stepping into a life size version of my work so hopefully it will be all consuming.  It would help to get a bit drunk to assist with this process! Hopefully it will encourage a bit of "Hive Mentality"! 

Photos by Cat Stevens

Read about Jaguar Shoes and their name battle with Jaguar HERE

Philip Smiley's HIVE exhibition will run until 10th September, 2012, at DreamBagsJaguarShoes, 32-36 Kingsland Road

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