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Unreal Estate: Virtual Tour | Dazed Emerging Artist Award 2015

Lawrence Lek

Friday, 24 April 2015 from 19:30 to 20:30 (BST)

Unreal Estate: Virtual Tour | Dazed Emerging Artist...

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Unreal Estate ~ Live Tour

w/ Lawrence Lek (Xbox), Oliver Coates (Cello) and Joni Zhu (Voiceover)

Dazed x Converse Emerging Artist Award 2015


Unreal Estate uses video game software to imagine a future in which the Royal Academy of Arts has been sold off as a privately owned luxury estate. Please join us for this special tour of this dystopian world lead by artist Lawrence Lek, accompanied with live soundtrack by Oliver Coates, and voiceover of a found text from Russian Tatler magazine, translated into Mandarin by Joni Zhu. 


Friday 24th April 7:30pm

Burlington Gardens Galleries

Royal Academy of Arts

6 Burlington Gardens

FREE, RSVP essential


Galleries are open until 10pm, so check out the show:

Converse x Dazed Emerging Artist Award 2015

Patrick Cole

Lawrence Lek

Rachel Pimm

Tamsin Snow & Sarah Tynan

Jonathan Trayte


Helicopters swoop on the penthouse helipad of a vast neo-classical complex. In the grounds, Anish Kapoor sculptures glint with dancing shards of light from a swimming pool lit by neon LEDs. Heat rises and cools in the summer air, condensing into mist and teasing the intrasingent line of the laser perimeter alarm encircling an oligarch, a business tycoon, a collector…  

The Royal Academy’s high-vaulted ceilings, ornate plasterwork and Corinthian columns standing sentry over wide empty porticos are a shared architecture of the super-rich. It is this reality Lawrence Lek would have us enter as he keenly observes the vulnerable position these attractive features place the institution in, its design and prestigious art-world credentials exploited as sales tactics. The RA itself is on a rental contract, and set against the backdrop of London's current housing crisis, Lek leverages this crack in the facade of dominance and timelessness associated with the nation's most revered art establishment.

Text by Susanna Davies-Crook

Lawrence Lek explores the uncanny experience of simulated presence through hardware, software, installation, and performance. His interactive virtual environments have been presented in countries including Australia, Hungary and China and his work has been hosted by the V&A, SPACE, Barbican, Art Licks, the Delfina Foundation, and he is currently a resident artist at The White Building in Hackney Wick. This virtual simulation of the Royal Academy, based on surveyors’ drawings as well as found text from Russian Tatler (translated into Mandarin and subtitled in English), invites the participant to a multilingual conjuring of the building’s potential future as repurposed by high-end estate agents. 

Oliver Coates is an internationally recognized cellist, composer and electronic musician who has released music on Warp, Slip Imprint and PRAH recordings. Currently an artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, he has curated a music night within the Hayward Gallery Light Show and is an active collaborator across disciplines. This includes working with Mike Nelson on a text for an installation and a performance of Xenakis within his last Whitechapel show; as well as working on film scores with Jonny Greenwood (The Master) and Mica Levi (Under the Skin). Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2011, his own music concentrates on simple colours derived from cello sounds processed with electronic effects.

Joni Zhu is a London-based curator and translator, currently completing an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the RCA. Her work and research explores the visual language of technology and its impact on cultural transmission. Along with Jintaeg Jang and Georgia Muenster, she recently curated the Black Box Formula exhibition at the RCA, featuring artists Zach Blas (US), Harry Sanderson (UK), Hyungkoo Lee (KR) and Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries (US/KR). 


Curated on behalf of Dazed by Susanna Davies-Crook

Special thanks to Andi Schmied

Do you have questions about Unreal Estate: Virtual Tour | Dazed Emerging Artist Award 2015? Contact Lawrence Lek

When & Where

Royal Academy of Arts
6 Burlington Gardens
W1J 0PE London
United Kingdom

Friday, 24 April 2015 from 19:30 to 20:30 (BST)

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