Trouble In Outer Heaven: Portable Ops Plus (Lake Gallery)

15 Sep 2021–31 Oct 2021
PV 12 Sep 2021, 2-5pm


Larry Achiampong, Joseph Buckley, Kitty Clark, Sam Keogh, Hardeep Pandhal, Adam Sinclair and Jamie Sutcliffe.

Curated by Jamie Sutcliffe. 

Featuring The Diamond Dogs Educational Unit: Uma Breakdown, Petra Szemán, Zara Truss Giles

Trouble In Outer Heaven: Portable Ops Plus focuses on the influence and fan cultures of Metal Gear Solid, one of the most popular video game franchises of all time.

Originally initiated by developer Hideo Kojima in 1987, Metal Gear’s enigmatic story has been told over the course of three decades through a distinct play style based upon techniques of secrecy, concealment and stealth. Exploring the unnerving possibilities of biogenetic cloning and military espionage; off-shore para-states and the formation of private task forces charged with seizing power from the world’s collapsing democracies, its once bizarre mythos feels disturbingly appropriate to the world in 2021.

Metal Gear has spurred an international fandom that seeks to interpret and reappropriate its sprawling speculative narratives. From memes of the game’s distinct graphics finding their way into the culture wars leading up to the 2016 US presidential election, to close-readings of the game’s prescient themes of behavioural manipulation, gamification, unstable truths and geopolitical subterfuge; Metal Gear has increasingly come to predict and reflect our unstable global political climate.

This exhibition brings together a group of artists whose early encounters with the game’s unique vision and poetics continue to influence their world-views and artistic practices. Through performance, sculpture, film, and an education program for young people, the exhibiting artists explore Metal Gear’s rich yet often troubling themes as opportunities for thinking through positions of de-colonial critique, ludic defiance, and anti-fascism.

Trouble in Outer Heaven: Portable Ops Plus is made possible thanks to the support of The Paul & Louise Cooke Endowment, Arts Council England and Southwark Council.

Events //
A new covert performance by Sam Keogh will take place during the opening event on September 12th, drawing upon Southwark Park's history as a wartime munitions depot. No booking required, but we are limiting capacity to allow for safe social distancing.

Diamond Dogs Educational Unit //
Saturdays 25 Sept, 2, 9 & 23 Oct // 1-4pm each day // Dilston Gallery

To coincide with the exhibition Trouble in Outer Heaven: Portable Ops Plus, this programme for young people (13-19yrs) draws upon the influence of Metal Gear to explore ideas of play, storytelling, animation, sound, and memory and is a fun way to achieve a Bronze or Silver Arts Award.

Led by artists Uma Breakdown, Petra Szemán, and Larry Achiampong & Zara Truss Giles across four sessions, participants will be encouraged to explore their love of films, games, cartoons, and soundtracks, and introduced to ways of making that might help them develop those interests into different kinds of art - from game design, to anime, and music!

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