Langlands & Bell
Langlands & Bell's fascination with language and its structure is the focus of a new body of work that looks at museum acronyms and the identity that these 'new' abbreviated names bestow. Museums are increasingly seen as leisure brands with their public faces and the abbreviations used to codify them becoming ever more important.
In their A Muse Um computer animation, these acronyms are interspersed with photographs of the museums taken by Langlands & Bell. Mathematically ordered, the codes and photographs are superimposed until they merge in an endless cycle of familiar and obscure signs. Neon wall sculptures and a new set of prints published by the gallery further explore their interest in signs and codes.
Another major acronym work by the pair, Moving World (Night & Day) 2008, has just been commissioned and installed at the new Heathrow Terminal 5. It consists of two 6-metre radius semi-circles of neon destination codes LHR JFK RIO etc. at either end of the huge outdoor pedestrian plaza. The monumental letters illuminate both randomly and in sequence, their movement and light creating a constantly changing 'constellation' of places and associations.
In 2004 Langlands & Bell won the BAFTA Award for Interactive Art Installation, and were short-listed for the Turner Prize, for their trilogy The House of Osama bin Laden, 2003, an innovative multi-media installation made by the artists following a visit to Afghanistan in 2002. This challenging work reflects on the aftermath of 9/11 and the remnants of both Western and al-Qaeda intervention in the landscape of Afghanistan. A cycle of prints on the same theme titled www.af was also published at the time by Alan Cristea Gallery.