The year is 2530. Humans have long since left planet Earth. After mistreating the natural environment for centuries, they were forced to seek a new home beyond the stars. What remains is little more than an abandoned pile of decaying artefacts and a scattered population of LEGO minifigs.

In a prologue to their annual event in May, Scribblers Festival presents RELICS: Bricks of the New World, an immersive exhibition by Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler, winners of Channel 9’s LEGO Masters 2020. The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow 26 February and will be on display at The Goods Shed until 30 May.

Set in a dystopian post-human world where LEGO minifigs have inherited the remnants of planet earth, RELICS is a timely exploration of adaptation, sustainability, diversity and the connections we make with each other. The overarching narrative of distinctly separate civilisations reaching out beyond their own existence and coming together to explore the world around them is told through multiple layers of storytelling.

Built for the young and young-at-heart, the exhibition uses LEGO in ways rarely seen before. Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler have really thought outside the block, incorporating found objects and mixed media into nine thought-provoking installations that bring the universal language of LEGO to life in a gallery context.

As the saying goes, life really does imitate art. Pulling together this exhibition has been the ultimate exercise in divergent thinking for its creators, who between them have spent in excess of 2,500 hours building RELICS.

On merging their respective backgrounds in art and engineering to dream up the concept behind the exhibition Jackson Harvey explained, “RELICS is an investigation into the importance of play to creativity. Each vignette explores a narrative arc relating to the future reimagined, existing and interacting with the architecture of The Goods Shed. Within this work, artefacts of our current civilisation – a fridge, piano, even a discarded vintage VW Beetle, need not be considered banal examples of everyday life, but instead totems for future civilisations. We are imagining a post-apocalyptic future, but is this future already with us?”

Alex Towler elaborated further, “The timeliness of presenting RELICS to an audience marked by life during the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to explore how we as humans cope when faced with uncertainty. By presenting viewers with a series of unresolved scenarios, each artwork invites the audience to interact and engage with projecting alternative possibilities for our world. Quite often we talk about creativity and problem solving as mutually exclusive things, however the reality is that one doesn’t exist without the other.”

Alex and Jackson have collaborated with authors Cristy Burne and James Foley to create a free STEAM-based RELICS Workbook that will allow younger viewers to continue their learning journey far beyond the exhibition, and for those who may not be able to see it in person, to instead enjoy aspects of it at home. RELICS will also be available virtually on the website for those unable to attend, along with a video series breaking down various topics around the making of the exhibition, creativity, storytelling, and the merging of art and engineering.

Scribblers Festival Director Katherine Dorrington said, “At Scribblers Festival, we celebrate the magic of storytelling, which Jackson and Alex have managed to elevate to a whole new level. While RELICS features nine distinct worlds, there are hundreds of individual stories waiting to be told in these artworks, and we can’t wait for young people to use them as a starting point for their own creativity. We hope that every person who experiences RELICS, whether in person or online, feels inspired by what they see to think differently, create more, and maybe even help change the narrative of our collective future.”

The RELICS story extends to Subiaco on 3 May, when you can grab a RELICS map to help find the minifigs who have escaped The Good Shed to continue their journey at Scribblers Festival and in select cafes, bookshops, and the library.

The Stats & Figures

  • 2 Artists
  • 9 Installations
  • 1 Build Your Own Future World area for young people to contribute to
  • 250kg of LEGO
  • 336,000 LEGO pieces
  • 2,000+  hours of construction
  • 1 x beat-up 1960s VW Beetle painstakingly sourced in and transported from Dunsborough

For more information click here.

Provided by Scribblers Festival.