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lmmersive installation that blurs boundaries between science and art comes to MDX

Pavilion is new home of Globe of Dislocation which mixes fiction and reality

A mechanical interactive installation designed and manufactured by MDX staff and students is on display at the university’s Living Pavilion.

The ‘Globe of Dislocation’ was part of the ’Prime Landing’ Immersive Installation in ‘Longitude Punk’d’ which was displayed at The Royal Observatory Greenwich from 2014-2015.

It was a celebration of eccentric and amusing inventors, astronomers and explorers of the past which saw nine British steampunk artists commissioned to create works inspired by the technical inventions that were presented to the Board of Longitude between 1714 and 1828.

One of those who gazed through a fictional lens into an alternate reality that might have happened along a twisted timeline, was MDX senior lecturer in product design and engineering, Wyn Griffiths.

“I was lucky enough to be part of a group who took over the Royal Observatory Greenwich for ten months, flipping it into a fictional version of itself - creating ‘Longitude Punk’d’,” he said.

“The whole venue became an immersive experience, inviting visitors into a counterfactual mix of fiction and reality, blurring the boundaries between art and science / fact and fiction, with fantastical inventions alongside real historic objects.”

Wynn described the Globe of Dislocation as a ‘a story adventure to transport and immerse visitors within an experience, aiming to enable curiosity, joy and reflection’.

Other themes explored include creative upcycling and repurposing of materials to illuminate sustainability.

The recommissioning of the Globe of Dislocation coincides with the 10th Anniversary of Longitude Punk’d next Spring.

Wyn said: “The exhibition was a great success, with a total audience of 282,795 paying visitors each entering the ‘story-world’ and the physical exhibition through the Royal Observatory Courtyard, where this installation represented the start and end of their journey and ‘opened the wormhole’ into the experience.

“We open the ‘wormhole’ here again, ten years on, to celebrate that anniversary and to continue the public conversation where we try to distinguish fact from fiction, we look again, and we look closer.”

Wyn has enlisted the help and technical expertise of MDX staff Neil Melton, Colin Moss and Ahmed M Patel. Product Design and Engineering students and graduates: Harry Bradshaw, Tremayne Gilling, Curtis John, John Regan, Alek Thomas, Victor Toh, Zed Callaghan and Chris Whellams also supported the project.

The Living Pavilion was designed and built in 2019 to be used as a multi-purpose activity, learning and wellbeing space for the University.

Designed and developed from conception to delivery by Architectural Technology students in collaboration with the Estates team and industry professionals, it embodies the learning-by-doing approach which is a pillar of the University's philosophy.

With a similar focus on creative collaboration and manifestation of sustainability practice as the Globe of Dislocation, Wyn believes that the principles underlying the two structures and their visual relationship ‘creates a new narrative and interpretation.’

It is hoped that the position of the pavilion, which is on a main public through route on the Hendon campus, will bring the Globe of Dislocation to a new audience.

It will also be used for Product Design and Engineering teaching and project sessions during the 2023/24 term.

To find out more about engineering courses at MDX click here.

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