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Student shows 2013: Royal College of Art

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Merlin Fulcher reviews the Royal College of Art’s end of year show

Tucked away in south London’s postindustrial ‘Testbed’ venue, this year’s RCA show once again raised the bar with its hard-hitting speculations on our broken age. So far, so normal. But two years after dRMM director Alex de Rijke took over as dean, a new hybrid of experimental, premeditated study has emerged. This year’s proposals - reflecting on a new, internet-induced ‘state of whatever’ - pitted witty housing solutions for Lewes, led by new teaching recruit Adam Khan, against more esoteric crossbreeds of human and digital infrastructure such as Changyeob Lee’s pollution recycling BT Tower. Structural course changes such as a new ‘reality check’ for first year students, including a two-term mini-thesis on large abandoned buildings, might explain it. The dystopian and bunker-like venue lent the exhibition - relocated to RCA’s Battersea campus - a cosy environment to present the friction.

Standout unit Andreas Lang’s and Torange Khonsari’s Studio 3 ‘E20 Meantime’ study of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sought autonomy in an automated age and challenged creative classes to realise their role as inadvertent developers.

Standout student Alexander Holloway’s psychedelic ‘hub of vice’ where bankers work 21-hour weeks satisfy ‘the natural impulse for excess’.

In a word Prescient

Merlin Fulcher, AJ news reporter

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