Dan Tobin Smith’s art of useless objects

In July we posted a call for donations on behalf of photographer Dan Tobin Smith: he wanted to create a huge installation out of thousands of unwanted objects. The result, The First Law of Kipple, opens in a couple of weeks and some early images of it suggest he’s turned all that waste into something rather beautiful

In July we posted a call for donations on behalf of photographer Dan Tobin Smith: he wanted to create a huge installation out of thousands of unwanted objects. The result, The First Law of Kipple, opens in a couple of weeks and some early images of it suggest he’s turned all that waste into something rather beautiful…

Tobin Smith has assembled the 200 square metre installation in his studio as part of London Design Festival 2014. It is made up of thousands of objects that he has collected and that have been donated by the public via the website CallForKipple.com.

The objects are arranged chromatically and have been laid out across the studio floor with such care that the colours blend into one another seamlessly: reds flow into browns, pinks and purples; sea greens into shades of turquoise and dark blue.

When it opens on September 13, visitors will be able to walk through the work via a series of pathways.

As Rachael reported in July, the piece is apparently inspired by Tobin Smith’s interest in both The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the fictional concept of ‘kipple’, which appears in Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which was later adapted as the film Blade Runner).

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape [newspaper]. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself… the entire universe is moving towards a final state of total, absolute kippleization.” From Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

The concept of kipple, says Tobin Smith, “inspired me to start thinking about design and products – we make so much stuff but we’ve got limited resources. Often it’s bound up with taste, we think because it’s beautiful it’s okay – but if it’s useless, it’s useless.”

The exhibition is free and will be open throughout London Design Festival 2014 – the objects from the installation will be photographed by Tobin Smith to create a series of prints and will also be kept in storage so that the installation can be reassembled at future venues around the world.

According to his studio, during the exhibition ‘supper club’ evenings will also be held, with diners seated in the midst of the installation. A menu inspired by ‘kipple’ will be designed by Matt Phelps of Funthyme Dining & Events, while a special cocktail will be invented for the occasion by Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrooke Row. A limited number of supper club tickets are available.

The First Law of Kipple is open 10am-6pm, September 13-21 at Dan Tobin Smith Studio, 52c Whitmore Road, London N1 5QG. See londondesignfestival.com. All images shown here by Dan Tobin Smith. More of his work is at dantobinsmith.com.

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