University of Cambridge > > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars > Meta-monuments: storytelling, collaboration and the proxy-wars of public art

Meta-monuments: storytelling, collaboration and the proxy-wars of public art

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Stefanie Ullmann.

I believe that stories are the currency of power, and that our public spaces are the political arenas in which narrative discourses compete. In recent years public space has become the site of a proxy war between white-supremacists and anti-fascist protesters in the West, with statues of notorious slavers being torn down in the UK and confederate monuments removed in the US. Now, more than ever, we need to assess the narratives and language of our public monuments and devise a new, more inclusive visual language for the future. As an artist and designer in public space, I have often used narrative theory, community participation and future foresight in my methodology for inclusive and unifying public art. In this short talk I will present two series of public artworks I completed between 2013 and 2022 in the US, UK and S. Korea – focussing on employment rights, site-specific reflection and the interplay between physical and meta-physical.

Speaker biography: Alexander Augustus (born 1988, Cardiff, UK) is a British artist best known for his narrative-based commentary. Augustus builds imaginary worlds and populates them with sculptures, stories, characters and surroundings. His work attempts to create operatic installations which are comprised of classic methods: bronze-casting, woodblock, textiles, metalwork, film and theatre, combined with digital media such as CAD , 3D modelling, augmented reality, VR and audio. His work typically deals with the social issues he cares about; his solo show at Somerset House (London) dealt with the alienation and despair of young unemployment, and was subsequently archived in the National Portrait Gallery. His architectural steel birds in Seoul and Berlin are permanent public sculptures commenting on the politics of borders. His installation work streamed into Tate Modern imaginatively explores issues of future religious colonialism. Having studied Anthropology, Art History and Archaeology at the University of East Anglia, then Spatial Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, he is now studying Design and Technology Education at Darwin College, the University of Cambridge.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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