Dan Walwin – Panshanger (2018)
Dan Walwin (b. Frome, Great Britain, 1986, lives and works in Amsterdam) creates environments staged with various objects and traces of human presence. The outlines of the installations are clearly marked out, often in the form of a surrounding iron fence. This results in semi-closed spaces that encourage visitors to observe them closely and to try to work out what is going on inside.
With the fenced-off area and the combination of everyday objects, construction materials and digital media such as videos, audio and footage from mobile telephones, these installations suggest associations with pop culture but also with scientific research or, perhaps even more so, with forensic investigation. The work revolves around observing the viewer while also alluding to the ways in which we are increasingly being watched by cameras, both seen and unseen.
Walwin’s work is often seen in the context of speculative fiction, the genre that employs utopian, apocalyptic, supernatural and fantastic aspects to create worlds that are very different from the real world. At the same time, his work has been compared to experiential architecture that appeals to all the visitor’s senses and features a dynamic interaction with the various aspects of the space.
For Hybrids, Walwin choose an area of grass at De Oude Warande, employing curved white steel tubes and wooden constructions to make an enclosed space of four by eight metres. This mysterious space was a cross between a garden, a scientific laboratory and a sanctuary. The setting, which at first appeared completely random, was in fact chosen and composed with great precision so that the different elements entered into an interplay that resulted in a fascinating cocktail of tension, confusion, mystery and humour. The title, Panshanger, refers to a former country house in Hertfordshire, England. The house itself no longer exists, but the surrounding park, and the orangery, stables and other small buildings are all still there. So Panshanger has a similar history to that of De Oude Warande.