FLOODED LONDON – FIVE IMAGES OF
Nick Taylor and Squint/Opera
5 to 30 April 2009
London in the 1660s was awash with predictions of doom and gloom as one disaster piled on another – the plague was raging, a tornado strode up the Thames, the Great Fire gutted the City of London. The end of the world was surely nigh… Yet somehow the world – and London – survived.
Now, in the early 21st century, with doom and gloom back in fashion. Nick Taylor and the company Squint/Opera wanted to portray a London of the future, after today’s environmental doomsday predictions have played themselves out. This realization of a London taken back by the sea is curiously utopian – we see life carrying on, and people still finding moments for creativity and enjoyment.
The five images of ‘Flooded London’ are snapshots of people’s lives some time after the catastrophe, obliquely depicting adaptations to a near-deserted urban environment where an office block like Canary Wharf is a place to go fishing and a street in Honor Oak turns into a slipway. The catastrophic side of the sea coming in has long since past and the images are snapshots of people going about their lives, having adapted to the city’s new circumstance.
Squint/Opera, an award-winning film and media studio which produces films, animations, web sites and installations, used photography, 3D modeling and image manipulation to imitate the techniques and aesthetic of Victorian landscape painters. Exaggerated details play with scale to present images that conceal their composition. The series of fantastical 3d images have been on display as part of the London Architecture Festival in the summer of 2008.
Nick Taylor and Squint/Opera
Following a degree in architecture, Nick spent a year designing elements of a rural hospital in Malawi. Returning to London, he launched himself into the fledgling digital art world and founded Binary Heart in 1999, making visualizations and animations for architects.
In 2004 he merged with Squint/Opera, a young film production company which unites the work of directors, animators, artists, writers and music composers to create computer generated visualizations, installations and short films about the built environment. Their projects include work for Amman, Restoring Historic Jeddah; Plan Abu Dhabi 2030; Britain's Olympic Stadium 2012; Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay; Bradford Centre Regeneration; Future of Cities for the Danish Royal Academy of Architecture.
Nick is the nephew of Amman based archeologist and photographer, Jane Taylor.
For a very quick “making of” video showing how something like St Pauls was put together, click below to read more…
For information on other projects developed by Squint/Opera check their You Tube site …
THE FIVE IMAGES
There may be no one left to mend the windows, but the semi-submerged St Paul’s Cathedral has become a very tranquil space in which, on a summer’s day, you can jump from the Whispering Gallery into a cool basilica filled with water. Here is a man – clearly in his Zen moment – who is taking full advantage of London’s altered architectural landscape.
Two fisherwomen are dressed up for a girls’ day out. The eddies that flow around the deserted and decayed towers of Canary Wharf can be good picking grounds. But it is not just about the fishing, it’s also about having a good natter and a picnic.
Some of the hills that surround flooded London are still populated. Here a family has managed to keep the dream of a suburban family alive. But, as Dad cannot drive a car very far, he has put his energies into a home-made submarine (which he keeps highly polished) and an emergency ramp. The natural world is forever encroaching on their ordered world.
St Mary Woolnoth
The flooded maze of narrow streets in the former Square Mile are now abundant with marine life; and also with spooky, abandoned and submerged history. Here is the early 18th-century Nicholas Hawksmoor fašade of St Mary Woolnoth church, near the Bank of England, seen through water swarming with plump fish and patrolled by lobsters, all there for the taking.
A Heath Robinson-inspired inventor/salvager and his trusty assistant try to hook up and re-rig pre-flood contraptions and keep the old technology alive. The large upper rooms of the semi flooded Tate Modern make good workshops to produce home-made electricity.