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In Conversation: LDN 51.5072N 0.1276W by Wen Pey, examining influences of the industrial revolution

LDN 51.5072N 0.1276W, Trailer

LDN 51.5072N 0.1276W is an animation created by Artist Wen Pey that examines the influence of the Industrial Revolution via the relics from architecture in London, reflecting the effects technology has had on transforming traditional notions of work, community, and identity.

Since the first industrial generation in 18th century Britain, we are now embarking on the fourth generation. Contemporary Technology allows us to interact with and control machines across the physical, biological, and digital domains. Our communities, identities, and socioeconomic structures have all been influenced by technology. It is an ongoing discourse on identity and the changing perceptions of the world. A critical reflection upon the metamorphosis of technology will unravel personal insights within ourselves and the social patterns it represents and create in real life. Hence, it could bring improvements in the human experience and lifestyle.

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Now, let's hear from our artist, Wen Pey, about her work and practices.

Q: What are your inspirations for this work?

Wen: My greatest inspiration comes from London's history and architecture. The cultural history of the city is well preserved, so I started the project to explore and document it. During the research, I discovered a lot of details on many of the buildings, such as the components, mechanisms, and constructions, which led me to delve into the history behind each place. The animation process gave me a better understanding of the city.

One of Wen's illustrations of the London architecture

Q: You used a lot of distortions, glitches, overlays, and inversions in your animation, which is beautifully manipulated using technology. What do you think is the relationship between the 18th-century industrial revolution and this modern artistic manifestation?

Wen: We have now entered the fourth generation of industrialisation since the 18th-century British industrial revolution. Our lives have changed dramatically in just a few centuries, from the invention of machines and their control to our ability to interact with them today. I was very interested in this history, which is why I used software automation to create this animation, to echo this history, such as the transition from manual labour to the use of machines, and finally to make them work automatically.

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Q: This is a very thought-provoking piece of art. What do you hope your audiences get after viewing your work?

Wen: I have three different interpretations of this piece that I would like the audience to consider. To begin with, the buildings themselves, are the background that we are accustomed to or even overlook, but the buildings can reveal the personality of a city, just like decorating a room, you put what you like in your own room, and I hope that the audience will notice these aesthetic buildings after seeing them.

I also think it will be interesting to people because of the way the buildings' details reveal the accumulated memories and tales of survival from different eras. To stimulate the audience's imagination, I chose to use British history audio files from the BBC and the British Library Archive, making it more immersive to watch.

Lastly, the impact of this history is that everyone can learn from the industrial revolution, which includes political, economic, cultural, and technological changes. Everyone has a different take on history, and there are so many stories that I can't summarise in visual terms, so I invited composer Shang Yun Wu to interpret these feelings, hopefully through music that will resonate with the audience.

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Q: As a London-based Malaysian artist, how does this identity influence your practice?

Wen: I believe I am similar to other foreigners in that we are more observant and perceptive than the locals to fit in, so we do a lot of exploring and learning, which I believe has had the most impact. Using this work as an example, I feel a strong connection to the fact that many people from other countries came to Britain during the industrial revolution looking for work. And I think that is similar to modern society, though we are much luckier than in the past.

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges for you as an artist? And what do you

like most about being an artist?

Wen: Funding and connections should be the most difficult challenges for emerging artists, but they may also provide the most freedom. The uncertainty of the future is what I enjoy most about being an artist because it is full of possibilities to keep challenging myself.

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Q: What are the goals you hope to achieve in the future?

Wen: In 2020, I started the PPPlanet project, each project is named after the latitude and longitude of the city, which I hope will allow me to travel the world in the future to document how we look at a city in this era and how we conceive of the history of the past. I think it would be exciting to see this series of animations in the future.


About Wen Pey

Wen Pey is a London-based Malaysian animator. She received an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art.

Wen specialises in 2D digital animation and has contributed to many projects, including the Golden Horse Awards, Golden Melody Awards, Golden Bell Awards, commercial works, music videos, etc. In addition, her work has received the Red Dot Award and the Golden Pin Design Award.

Wen laid the groundwork for her oeuvre by cultivating a deep interest in architecture, history, and the humanities. From the perspective of the present generation, she analyses how the past has affected us, our communities, cities, and even whole countries. In 2020, she founded PPPlanet, which aims to reveal a city's culture via its cityscape, architecture, and history. Her ultimate goal is to create animations for all of the cities around the world.


Director: Wen Pey @wenpey

Music and Sound Design: Shang Yun Wu @shangyunwulab

Sound Mix: Joe Hirst @joe_hirst


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