A Dangerous Figure
Images of Alexander Augustus' exhibition, A Dangerous Figure
- A Dangerous Figure is situated in Somerset House's Deadhouse Gallery. On entering the exhibition, you're confronted with the continually-morphing image of the UK's unemployed masses. Job applications hang from the ceiling, carrying with them the frustrated hopes of thousands into the darkness.
- A wall of unsuccessful applications. Jobs applied for range from supermarket clerks to fully-qualified English teachers. On the left is the exhibition's logo, which, as well as being a ligature of "1" and "m," also served as the template for the composite "average unemployed" image.
Augustus and Lee's art collective, The Bite Back Movement, surveyed "tens of thousands" of young people, collecting information and photos through a web app. With the help of collaborators, they then created an algorithm that averages together a random subset of images. The photos are swapped in and out at random, creating a lingering animation that's constantly changing.
The image above is a static representation of that animation: the average face of an unemployed young Briton.
- A graphic novel accompanying the exhibition transforms dialogue from countless interviews into a narrative that aims to empower unemployed people.
- The space is filled with small rooms, into which dialogue is piped. Chairs are arranged facing each other, which gives the feeling of being in an interview. Each room also has a copy of the graphic novel.
- "The ultimate aim is to change the way young unemployment is discussed," Augustus tells us. "The UK young unemployed have unique insight into what's going wrong, and indeed, what's going right in the world of work here. It can be a hopeful message, it can also be a threatening message."
- "The journey begins as an online form, much like a job application, but instead of meeting with rejection or silence, it converted the statistics back into the humanity they represent."