Thames-Side Studios Gallery

The Echo System

Natasha Bird, Lewis Davidson, Nathaniel Faulkner, Gabriela Giroletti and Milda Lembertaitė
Curated by Milda Batakyte

Exhibition Dates: 31 July-15 August 2021


A system is an interconnected and coherent set of elements (both living and non-living) that ‘works’ towards a specific function or purpose (1). Systems are complex and can be embedded within other systems, which may also consist of further systems. One of the most sophisticated examples of a system can be found in nature: the ecosystem, in which all living and non-living elements coexist in the most self-sustainable way.

On the other hand, the purpose or function of one system might be damaging for other systems. For instance, an ‘echo chamber’ is a metaphor used to define a hermetic system of opinions and beliefs that are reinforced by repetition through different communication channels. This concept is particularly prevalent among those who can benefit from subverting other people’s ability to recognise biased information and inhibiting their capacity to engage with the world in a non-biased way.

The making and reception of art can also be looked at as a system with different layers. For example, an artwork created by an artist is an implied system of concepts, thoughts, beliefs and experiences (either considered consciously or subconsciously). An artwork, as such, can address one or many of these experiences, directly or indirectly. The reception of an artwork too is always determined by the recipients’ past experiences and their willingness to engage in a new experience.

Multiple artworks put together can form another system, that of the exhibition. The interconnections between humans through non-living elements, like art, comes from and can reinforce our integrity, consideration and empathy, which further feeds into our lives in a variety of ways.

In her book Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows suggests, ‘Once we see the relationship between structure and behaviour, we can begin to understand how systems work, what makes them produce poor results, and how to shift them into better behaviour patterns.’ Thinking about systems can assist us in understanding our complex world, with its aspects that continuously need to be nurtured, and other aspects that need to be improved for the benefit of everyone and everything.

Exhibition graphic design by Studio Pointer*.

(1)The word function is generally used for a nonhuman system and purpose for a human one, but because systems can be both human and nonhuman, these two words intertwine.

Thames-Side Studios Gallery
Thames-Side Studios
Harrington Way, Warspite Road
Royal Borough of Greenwich
London SE18 5NR.

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