David Shrigley Brain Activity Microsite
David Shrigley is one of the most enigmatic and diverse artists working today. His genre-defying practice which spans drawing, sculpture, animation, artist books, and painting, renders the dichotomies of high and low, and popular and avant-garde, completely irrelevant. While we would be thrilled to battle the crowds and considerable queues to see his current major survey exhibition at the Hayward, David Shrigley: Brain Activity, unfortunately a trip to London in the next few months is not in the cards. Luckily, the Hayward has designed an excellent microsite to accompany the exhibition, one that does more than serve informational and marketing functions and offers a global audience the opportunity to experience the exhibition from the comfort of their homes. While there are elements of fantasy and whimsy in much of his work, Shrigley’s dry, humourous and at times dark observations reveal the absurdity of the everyday and offer a biting commentary on our contemporary culture.
David Shrigley: Brain Activity exhibition trailer
Although exhibition microsites have become ubiquitous, it is extremely refreshing to see one that successfully fuses design, content, and interactivity. The aesthetic of the site is the perfect combination of the Hayward’s clean, graphic look and Shrigley’s irreverent and deliberately crude illustrations. The artist’s familiar cast of odd characters is interspersed throughout even the most informational aspects of the site; there is a surprise around every turn. His work is extremely well-suited for presentation in this format and the microsite takes full advantage, featuring audio excerpts accompanied by an animated record player as well as video material. Our favourite section is the interactive light switch feature based on one of Shrigley’s iconic animations. Here visitors can control an animated hand as it flicks a light switch on and off, blackening the screen and creating a very satisfying clicking sound. We are encouraged to do it again and again with the promise of a surprise, or possibly boredom.
While it may be more conventional to purchase a catalogue in order to learn more about an exhibition that you were unable to visit in person, a site like this one offers visitors a much richer and sensorial experience than what is possible in book form. The Hayward has created a forum to explore and engage with the artist’s work in innovative ways. It’s evident that Shrigley contributed to the design and content of the site and that it was a collaborative effort; his humour and wit are palpable throughout.