CABIN/ET   by   Architrope

ISO Shipping Containers are the silent catalyst of globalisation. 17 million containers in the world account for a billion cubic meters, equivalent to a city the size of London, constantly on the move around the globe. CABIN/ET aims to explore how we might locate ourselves in this 'transitional space' between nations, desire and consumption, departure and destination.

CABIN/ET is an installation made from a recycled shipping container, bearing the scars of its trans-global drift, perched on four ornate cast iron pedestals.

CABIN/ET is the juxtaposition of the containers mobility with the finite and idealized space of a cabin, and also a 'CABIN/ET of Curiosities'; the 18thC colonial proto-museums, that sought to represent the world by an eclectic and often spurious collection of artefacts.

Lined with plywood that also makes up shelves, seats, CABIN/ET is furnished like a cabin or cabinet, where there will be a changing group of objects and installations:

A slow panning shot of the inside of 'Caveman Bill's' cave in the Yukon as Bill recounts the stories of each object as it appears.

A small mushroom farm powered by the excess heat from a computer.

A computer that tracks the viewer and translates their movements into that of a 3d virtual image of a geological specimen, projected onto the wall.

A 'binaural' recording of the construction of CABIN/ET played back on headphones in the exact location of its recording.

A recording of the inside of a container ship crossing the Atlantic to Canada, with a narration of the journey, embedded in the wall of the container.

A library of related subjects; a journey around America in credit card receipts, Thoreau's Walden, ISO specifications of a shipping container, will be ongoing.

Visitors will be asked to submit proposals for a flag to represent 'transitional space' flown on the containers flagpole, and to participate in a Barter Project.

CABIN/ET will be in Hackney road Recreational Ground from July to September. It has the support of ROOM gallery, LB Hackney, Maersk Shipping and has been invited by and made an application to ACE. London Art Fair has expressed interest and we aim to tour it round the UK in the near future.

Project Details and Timeline:

Exhibition openings will proceed each phase of the installation.

Architrope is an organisation directed by Tom Wolseley, formed to create and explore 'transitional spaces' and their relationship to more organized structures of understanding and authority. Architrope welcomes contributions from other artists, professionals and the general public.

CABIN/ET is the first project by Architrope. Participating in Cabin/et are the artists; Camilla Lyon, Clare Stent and KnowelesEddyKnoweles collective.

CABIN/ET is an installation made from a recycled shipping container, bearing the scars of its trans-global drift, perched on four ornate cast iron pedestals.

The pedestals are made up of stacks of cast iron discs of different shapes; like a child's toy they can be stacked in different arrangements. Visually the pedestals appear between decoration and something with a more industrial purpose. They function to lift and frame the container as a found object worthy of attention in itself. On a top corner, fixed to the universal fitting will be a flagpole flying an image of a Mobius strip.

Lined with plywood that also makes up shelves, seats, etc, CABIN/ET is furnished like a cabin or cabinet, where there will be a changing group of objects and installations:

1. The following projects will be on for the duration of the exhibition:

Architrope Library. This will contain books by Architrope and other relevant/interesting reading material. There will be a mixture of books as artwork and books as reference. The audience also recommends books that should be included and it becomes an ongoing resource for exploring the area and manifesting people's interaction with the project.


WOLSELEY/THOMAS/MR. A journey round the SW of America recorded in credit card receipts.

'A green Glass Wall' a verbal record of all the objects seen out the window of train between New York and Los Angeles.

Caveman. Robert Crumb

Walden. Thoreau

Too Far from Home. Paul Bowels

The Faber Book of Utopias.

The Wire, Series 2. David Simon, Edd Burns. HBO

'Forest' will be a single photo of the forest from which the plywood that lines the containers was made, before being cut processed and shipped to the UK from Canada on a container ship.

Furniture made out of recycled material i.e. recycled water/gas pipe from Thames water/British gas to make chairs, a chandelier made out of left over sign makers Perspex.

'Flag'. The aim of this project is to design a flag for 'transitional space'. Flags are usually associated with the demarcation of territory but in this case will be used to represent a space of a more mercurial nature.

Participants will be invited to design a flag that might represent a space without territory, in a prepared pad. The architrope flag has an image of a Mobius strip on it. Flags will be flown outside, drawing attention to the project.

'Barter Project'. The 'Barter Project' will explore the interconnections between objects and their owners, to map the processes of exchange within a community like a story.

An object will be offered for barter/exchange and a book provided for people to make offers. On a weekly basis these offers will be assessed and one accepted, where upon the initial 'commodity' will be exchanged for another, and so on each week. The book will record the weekly offers and exchanges. The changing objects will be displayed in an alcove in CABIN/ET and on the web. The 'objects' may also be actions, interventions, ideas etc. Photographs of the objects and a record of the offers will be published as a POD book.

This project makes the investment of value explicit within a system of exchange, particularly pertinent in the current economic climate.

2. The following projects will be on from 1st July to 2nd of August

'Caveman Bill' will be displayed on an LCD screen inset into the plywood liner at the end of the cabin with headphones.

An ongoing collaboration with Yukon resident Caveman Bill has produced a slow 360° panning shot of the inside of Bill’s cave, which he has lived in for the past 14 years. To this video Bill narrates the stories of all the objects we see in the room/cave, from a cool-box he found floating down the Yukon river, to a stove he inherited from 2by4 Bob. The stories and readings of the image both confirm and deny romantic interpretations of Bill’s life in the far north, exploring representations of a far away 'other' in contrast to the familiar functionality of everyday objects we can empathize with.

'Horizon'. At strategic locations in the plywood lining will be small perforated listening points. Put your ear to one of these and you will hear the background sounds of the interior of a container ship crossing the Atlantic with the narration of a diary, recounting the departure from land, home, and the perpetual movement of the sea.

3. The following projects will be on from 6th to 30th of August

'Virtual Object'. Displayed on an LCD screen will be an image of a rock. As the viewer approaches, the rock begins to move in response to their movements in the room.

The rock is no longer an objective geological specimen, the viewer no longer passive observer; both are energized into a relationship with each other. The rock is a piece of gold ore from a Spaghetti Western film set which has been modelled in 3 dimensions to revolve and respond to the viewers movements.

A second screen will show a cascade of numbers that change and flux with the viewers movements. This represents the viewer not as an object but as information, akin to a stock exchange readout.

'Virtual Object' uses software especially written for this project by the Banff Arts Centre, Canada. (

'Holding Environment'. The Knowles Eddy Knowles collective propose to use a container to develop a functioning prototype for a computer processor-heated fungus farm and test for a 'holding environment'. Hardware from surplus PC's will be stripped of its casings, arranged in racks and used to host 'Virtual Object'. The heat produced by the functioning of the computers will be captured and channelled into a controlled growing environment in which mushrooms will be kept at the optimum temperature for growth and spore production. Dimensions variable.

'Double Blind' explores the liminal space between perception and understanding.

A recording is taken using binaural microphones of the space while the installation is being built and played back on headphones during the exhibition in the exact location of its recording. The binaural recording gives an uncannily realistic sense of place. The listener on donning the headphones goes through a process, like Déjà vu, as they realise the sounds they are hearing are the same but then gradually different from what is going on around them, and that the reality they are perceiving is a soundtrack.

4. The following projects will be on from the 3rd to the 27th of September

'Border Town' is a video of the window of a café in Palomas, a small town on the Mexican/US Border. The café has a mirror that intersects with the window so that as the cars travel up and down the main street to the border they appear and disappear into the junction of window glass and mirror. The soundtrack is of covers of well know Western hits by Mexican artists and Mexican hits by Western artists.

The video image will be displayed on an LCD screen in the corner of the container, intersecting with a mirror at 90.

This project explores the 'border' as physical and psychological intersection more complex than a line in space.

'London' is part of 'City Maps' a project by Clare Stent where she draws maps of the world's cities using contour lines.

These maps manifest the city as experienced by walking, subtle gradients up and down, a subliminal knowledge, below the infrastructure of the city.

'Untitled'. Camilla Lyon makes pieces out of found 'wood' Formica, delineating the object by following the grain. She follows an obscure time line once linked to the specific time and place of the wood grain but reproduced in Formica to oblivion.