Simon Denny Merges Tech and Art at Serpentine
For an artist, Simon Denny has an unusually agile grasp of corporate jargon, according to the Independent. Discussing his forthcoming Serpentine Sackler Gallery exhibition in London, Products for Organising, the 33-year-old New Zealander’s chat is peppered with of-the-moment workplace methodologies such as Holacracy and Agile, and the titles of bestselling management publications such as Peopleware and Why Work Sucks and How to Fix it.
He’s hot on technology, too, and despite being resident in Berlin, is au courant with Britain’s controversial use of private finance initiatives (PFIs) to fund public infrastructure. These are not common artworld concerns, and yet to Auckland-born Denny, the well-informed and unblinkered examination of the technology and organisations that shape our world are self-evidently pressing subjects about which to make art.
Denny’s latest work, Products for Organising, finds the artist using the two sides of the Serpentine Gallery to track a pair of apparently antithetical organisational structures: on the one side, the “top-down structure” of the corporate world, on the other, the hierarchy free world of hacker culture.
On the corporate side, Denny is “focusing on case studies of three different existing formalised organisations – one is the GCHQ intelligence agency here in Britain, another is Zappos, the shoe sales company owned by Amazon, and the other is Apple.”
While the corporate world endlessly self mythologises, less formal material is available relating to the history of hacker culture, which is explored through “twelve organisational moments around hardware” presented in vitrines designed for hard-drive stacks.
“If you only come out of the exhibition with one question,” Denny says, “that tension between what is fact and what is not isn’t a bad one.”
Denny studied at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts and Meisterschule, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main.
Original article by Hettie Judah, The Independent, November 22, 2015.