The Gopher Hole 02.01.11

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images: Lynton Pepper

"The concept of architecture as something that begins and ends with the design of a building is something that we basically disagree with," says Beatrice Galilee, laying out her vision for the Gopher Hole, a new project space she has founded with Aberrant Architecture. "Often it's the problem and the process that is more interesting than the final product."

About a Minute, the venue's inaugural exhibition which opened last week, brings together artists, writers, designers and architects to investigate our contemporary experience of time. Works by science fiction writer Rachel Armstrong, poet Luke Wright, architect Pedro Gadanho and 12 others investigate the creative and destructive potential of a minute.

The Go West Project has set up an installation consisting of a spontaneously ringing telephone. Gallery viewers who take the opportunity to answer the call are greeted down the line by a counterpart from one of eight cities in central and western China: "Hello, how's London?" the voice chimes in. A real time, minute-long conversation ensues. Architect Sam Jacob has assembled a series of rapid-prototyped chairs based on minute-long descriptions of a classic modernist chair, a cabinet of mutants. Writer Shumon Basar contributes a luminous piece of wall-poetry. And if you visit, don't forget to look in the fridge, where artist Christian Kerrigan has left a surprise.

Through exhibitions, talks, screenings and performances, the gallery's approach will be to look at architecture as a series of events and experiences and to see its form as a blending of disciplines. "When I go and see shows about architecture that are drawings and models it's just depressing because there is so much that is missing from the story," says Galilee.

"The crucial element is our independence," Galilee is keen to point out. And as an "informal" and "spontaneous" space, she sees the Gopher Hole as part of a necessary response to the changing nature of architecture as an industry and a discipline. "There's not really anyone who's just an architect any more," she says. "Interdisciplinary work is increasingly pervasive at the moment because there's so little work; everybody has to do something else in order to survive."

The Gopher Hole is beneath the El Paso bar and diner at 350-354 Old Street, London, and About a Minute runs until 13 February

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Christien Garcia

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The concept of architecture as something that begins and ends with the design of a building is something that we basically disagree with

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