Immerse in a gigantic cocoon-like structure that redefines 185-year old historical architecture

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and A+E Lab are thrilled to present ‘Tape by Numen/For Use,’ transforming historic architecture and bringing an audience-centred, cultural experience to The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Opening on Saturday 18 March, Numen/For Use will transform the Historic Dockyard’s 3 Slip Mezzanine with their massive cocoon-like tape structures. Visitors will be able to sit, walk, crawl, or simply admire from afar to fully immerse themselves in the gigantic installation made entirely from tape.

Numen/For Use, an Austrian award-winning trio, has been exploring diverse material for more than a decade to rethink the relationship between environment and human beings.

Tape is inspired by self-forming, emergent construction processes like those occurring in the natural world. These structures, both clean and messy, easily switch between systems of lines and nets to form two-dimensional skins. Previous iterations have been built in Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Moscow, and Vienna while stretching across various types of architecture, from the airport to an ancient building in Florence.

The gigantic 20m installation will be built in 3 Slip, transforming one of Medway’s most iconic architectural structures, connecting old and new, forming one organic architecture.

Tape will be a family-friendly event running alongside the new “Monsters of the Deep” temporary exhibition at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, creating an attractive artistic presence for visitors to the Museum and the local community.

Beyond its life at the Historic Dockyard, the components of Tape will be re-used in several creative artwork projects across Medway.

Co-directors of A+E Lab, Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Lecoq said, “As we moved into Historic Dockyard in 2022, our aim was to bring world class artists who has inspired us for years as creatives to the site, share and introduce what we experience during our international tour with our local community. 3 Slip is one of the most inspiring places within Dockyard site and it is an honour to bring inspiring places and artists together, creating one of the biggest Tape installations to date. We are planning a touch tour for the installation to make the event accessible. Installation will be during Easter holidays were young people and family audiences can enjoy this playful and immersive experience. We hope his exhibition will spin and create a new thread merging the history, international culture and the people n Medway.”

Numen/ For use, Sven Jonke said, “We are very happy to be able to exhibit our work in such a spectacular and structurally outstanding venue. Upon seeing the space for the first time we immediately felt it would be a great set for our tape installation due to its delicate engineering, ornamental structures and subtle quality of light. Since the Tape installation is a parasitic object, the venue becomes its host and as such its extension, a crucial part of the final design. The chaotically woven tape structure has no life of its own, but needs an adequate vessel to thrive in.”

Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Richard Morsley said, “We are thrilled to be working with A+E Lab and Numen/For use to bring the incredible Tape installation to the Historic Dockyard this spring. The magnificent 3 Slip is the most remarkable architectural achievement surviving on our historic estate. As part of Medway’s growing cultural sector, we’re excited to be showcasing our phenomenal space, with its cahedralesque roof, as the backdrop to Tape. We’re looking forward to seeing visitors immerse in the experience and crawling inside the structure. Beyond its life at the Historic Dockyard, he components of Tape will be e-used in several creative artwork projects across Medway.”

This ambitious project has been supported by Arts Council England, Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) – University of Kent and Brandon Hire Station, AΦE and produced by A+E Lab.

  • Location: 3 Slip, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Chatham ME4 4TY
  • Date: 18 March – 30 April 2023
  • Tickets: Entry to Tape is free as part of a ticket to The Historic Dockyard Chatham

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