Innovation Box: Introduction

Innovation Box is Platform-7’s latest longitudinal intervention, taking place in a grade II listed K2* Red Telephone Box in Holborn, London, WC1R 4EB from September 2016. The project explores what is innovation? Asks how innovation will change the way our society operates as it becomes more networked and discusses whether we will all adapt to the coming of the Internet of Things? How do people see innovation, do they even notice change or is it too gradual? There are now two generations who might wonder what are these red boxes dotted around the streets? As with all Platform-7 intervention the work will constantly evolve and morph; the course of the conversation is very much set by the responses the work receives from viewers and how it stimulates artists and other practitioners to react.

The intervention will begin by exploring the most common modern idea of innovation, that of mobile phones and other technologies before moving towards wider a understanding of social and policy innovation.

What is innovation?

Innovation is a bit of a buzzword in 2016. For some, the word has been hijacked by Silicon Valley to apply to every conceivable kind of app and start-up company. If one buy into this reading then innovation often indicates new, shiny, exciting and very often young; yet is this what innovation actually means?

According to Canadian historian Benoît Godin;

Innovation is everywhere. In the world of goods (technology), but also in the world of words: innovation is discussed in the scientific and technical literature, but also in social science like history, sociology, management and economics. Innovation is also a central idea in the popular imaginary, in the media and in public policy. In summary innovation has become the emblem of the modern society, and a panacea for resolving many problems.

This exhibition begins the photograph installation by Heather Agyepong, Ethics of Planned Obsolescence Embedded in Digital Commodities. The rational of exhibiting these pictures at the beginning of the intervention is two fold:

  1. To start where most innovations end-up and,

  2. For continuity from the Waste.Agency (2014-15), Platform-7’s last major intervention in the City of London exploring how we have built an economy on consumption and wastefulness.

The images capture the numerous complexities of our world and our understanding of the word ‘innovation’.

John McKiernan ©2016