Forget your home, your family, your friends, forget it all. The office is where we spend our lives, it’s where we see our days dribble past, miserably, endlessly, relentlessly.
In young London-based artist Yuri Pattison’s installation, the modern office is cast as a dystopian, derelict, steel-and-glass tomb. It’s like a future look back at how we spend our days, and it makes for grim but addictive viewing.
Huge industrial shelving units line one of the walls, stacked with modems, disk drives and clear plastic boxes filled with bubbling, glowing liquid. A long Perspex table dominates the middle of the room, dusty and unused, surrounded by chairs still in their plastic sheeting. In the corner there’s a half-built breakout space (the place where modern life goes to die) with potted plants and huge cushions next to video of a walk-through of an empty office. Lights flash on and off, monitors flicker, computers hum, a distant drone thrums through the room.
It’s basically a big, abandoned, unused, sci-fi office, and it’s terrifyingly relatable. It feels like finding your own grave, or walking into a future you’ve helped create and realising that it’s just awful.
Some of it is a bit bollocks. You don’t need to plug Ethernet cables into a coffee cup or have a webcam spying out of an Amazon Prime bag to get this kind of point across. But that’s a minor gripe about what is otherwise a brilliant show. The big ideas at play here – about co-working, the fluidity of time and, you know… humanity and shit – drag you in deeper. This installation could be your office; stark, soulless, derelict. It could be where you spend so many of your days. Hell, it could be your life, and it’s fucking scary. Thanks for that, Yuri.