Performance/VR art installations from London Met receive accolade two years in a row

The Pecking Order, developed by London Met’s Jacek Ludwig Scarso will feature in the prestigious Aesthetica Prize Future Now Anthology.

Date: 28 January 2021

An exhibition developed by Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso has been selected as part of the 2021 Aesthetica Prize Future Now Anthology, and will also be featured in a documentary video to be screened as part of the Aesthetica Prize Exhibition in the summer.

The Pecking Order, which was shown at the Tate Modern in December 2019, was a live, virtual reality (VR) installation, in which the public was invited to playfully consider the experience of observing and being observed. It drew on surveillance techniques such as CCTV cameras and internet data monitoring, with ominous ‘humanoid birds,’ carefully studying visitors’ movements and character from a specially created ‘Observation Nest.’ The installation explored questions of how power is linked to the ways we use space, and how we relate to each other within it.

Jacek, Reader in Art and Performance and Deputy Director of CREATURE (Research Centre in Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement) at London Met, said, “I am truly delighted that The Pecking Order was selected to be part of the Aesthetica Prize Future Now Anthology 2021. The Aesthetica Prize has firmly established itself as one of the leading competitions in UK contemporary art and its Anthology offers a brilliant insight into the diverse and innovative art practices the UK has to offer.

“For the second year in a row, our projects with Tate Exchange have been selected to feature in this and this is a great testimony to the work's impact and reach. With over 3000 visitors in six days, The Pecking Order was an incredible experience for me and a truly collaborative effort, thanks to the precious creative contributions by scenographer Jelmer Tuinstra, VR designer Sylvia Koloszewska, Anise Gallery, AVR London and of course the AAD School and the Tate Exchange Team, with whom we continue to collaborate as part of our new MA Public Art & Performance.

“I also want to thank all our students from our Theatre Arts undergraduate programme who continuously performed as our "Humanoid Birds" on the Tate Exchange Floor and throughout Tate Modern. Last but not least, thanks to the thirty-two speakers from across the UK and internationally, who kindly gave their perspective on the issues of spatial dynamics and surveillance, as part of our daily Observation Nest panel talks, throughout the project". 

The Pecking Order follows Jacek's previous project In Limbo at Tate Modern, also selected for the Aesthetica Prize Future Now Anthology in 2020.

A bird's head on a human body