Super Kingdom: Mussolini Bird House, King's Wood
Photography: London Fieldworks 2009
can be viewed as a social engineering experiment for animals - a new community in the making referencing
despots' palaces, gated community developments such as Alphaville in Brazil and the fortified exclusivity afforded to the wealthy
and super-rich - all designed to keep urban reality at bay.
Referencing both utopian imaginary and biological taxonomic hierarchy, Super Kingdom is a sculptural installation of animal 'show homes' in a woodland environment based on the architecture of despots' palaces. It reflects both human and animal hierarchy as territorial relationship to landscape; is informed by changing habitat, the displacement of animals as a consequence of urban development and conservationist strategy, and global concerns about fluid populations and porous borders.
The Super Kingdom structures reference edge cities or self sufficient off worlds and the collision of habitats and inequality that exist around them, the Architecture of Fear (as Tunde Agbola describes fortified lifestyles in Lagos), and the architecture of dictators' palaces. The key characteristics of the 'show homes' were taken from Mussolini's Palazzo della Civilta Italiana which has become known as the Colosseo Quadrato, Rome; Stalin's Palace of Science and Culture, Warsaw; Ceausescu's The People's House ("Casa Poporului") in Bucharest, now the Palace of the Parliament.
SUPER KINGDOM is a Stour Valley Arts commission supported by Arts Council England, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts and Humanities Research Council and London Southbank University in collaboration with Consarc architects, Webb Yates Engineers and Setsquare Staging Limited.