Born in Australia in 1977, Whitstable-based artist Benedict Drew uses a combination of video, audio and sculptural elements to reflect on society’s ambivalent relationship with technology. Exploring the psychedelic potential of music and art, his often anarchic installations are intended as an escape route from and a critical response to what he calls ‘the horrors of the modern world.’
A large, fluorescent image of Richard Branson, with orange cables protruding from his eyes, takes centre stage in Benedict Drew: KAPUT. This recently acquired Arts Council Collection work, currently on show at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, explores the concept of space tourism through a thrilling multi-faceted installation.
Using a combination of video, audio and sculptural elements, Drew reflects on society’s uncertain relationship with technology. Beneath the image of Branson – who founded Virgin Galactic, the first company dedicated to civilian space travel - Virgin spacecrafts soar across two screens, a foil backdrop flickers and the room buzzes with the sound of feedback, accompanied by the ecstatic sound of a saxophone.
Psychedelic colours and music combine to create an environment that appears to be straight from the artist’s imagination.
“KAPUT considers how the once utopian idea of space tourism was lost to the ultimate oligarch adventure, fronted by Virgin Galactic. Much in the same way, from the 17th century onwards, the European Grand Tour offered a tourism experience that could only be appreciated by the privileged, wealthy few. KAPUT proposes an alternative; to self-oscillate into a trance, to trust in the visions – there is knowledge in the visions – and to travel the inner spaceways.”