Visual art: I don't know what's there, because it would take hours to do an inventory

Tomoko Takahashi

LIFT, London

The gallery is piled high with hi-tech rubbish. There's a narrow gangway for the visitor to walk through, taking care to avoid being snagged by lengths of cut plastic and metal poles. The eye rests on a spot, but there's so much to see, so much clutter (coils of cable; clapped-out monitors; boxes of metal bits, plastic pieces, hard lines and soft loops) and complication (plastic hosepipe intertwined with a length of flexible saw blade; intersecting mass-material-texture) that it soon passes on ... to complications new. What the hell is this?

The gallery occupies space formerly used by a computer company which now designs websites on the floors above. Tools and equipment from the redundant basement workshop - which can be glimpsed through a grille in the floor - have been hauled upstairs. Three hulking great machines: a multiple vice, a Clarke's 5/8ins drill press, and a lathe, have been pushed back against the gallery walls, embellished with smaller items, and interspersed with free-standing shelving and filing cabinets stuffed with electric cables, light fitments, pots of paint, and who knows what else. I don't know what else because it would take hours to do an inventory, even if the mind could be persuaded to conduct one.

While the exhibition was being made, the upstairs office found that much of its stationery and written records had become obsolete. So lever-arch files and boxes of business cards have been incorporated into the installation. The relatively uncluttered area at the back of the gallery contains sculptural metal shapes - toppled cash dispensers and other interactive units, stripped of their touch screens and bristling with sticks. A ladder, perched on heavy metal, reaches at a rakish angle towards a displaced square patch in the false ceiling. The whole installation speaks of a bewilderingly fast-changing world, information overload, an oh-so- uncertain future, and an artist laughing amid the bedlam.

began the year producing the extremely large-scale installation which is still on display at the Saatchi Gallery. Since then she's done several more, including a three-week project in Lisbon which ended the day before this one began. She was ill during the four-week making of this show. A piece of packaging incorporated in the work states "20 effervescent tablets for hectic lifestyles and unbalanced diets". It's just possible she's been overdoing things.

Cigarette butts - detritus of her own working process - are scattered around. She slept on the premises during the final week (when she worked from early afternoon to six or seven in the morning), but as her collapsible bed was positioned in the hallway outside the gallery, she has not incorporated it into her art. Underpinning all the exuberant activity is a sense of restraint. It seems less contrived than the Saatchi installation, there's not so much technological virtuosity and the focal points are more fully integrated with the turbulent mass of the rest.

The nose of the drill press rotates horizontally, making noise and vibration in the process, but for periods it stops. The machine is on a timer so that it doesn't burn out, as are a computer printer and a dusty old grinder elsewhere in the work. The sounding and silencing of these machines diverts attention from one part of the installation to another, and is a main organising principle for the viewer. With the drill at rest I bend to examine a fan which has been whirring away, only to realise (with the cool air in my face that echoes the blast from a Toshiba air-conditioning unit when standing further along the gangway) that the noise is from a calculator with a print-out function, buried under a tangle of black flex.

Whenever someone telephones the building, two extensions embedded in the installation ring, as they did throughout the work's making, linking the artwork with the present business upstairs. The white phone is on a shelf with a wooden mallet pressing down on the receiver, a sign of the annoyance the ringing caused the artist, perhaps, and a hint to the visitor not to pick up the receiver.

What do we have in this installation? The question can now be answered more succinctly.

Bold and all-embracing site-specific work. The cutting edge (and circling grinder) of corporate art. An entirely untrustworthy ladder.

`': sponsored by Icon Medialab at LIFT Gallery, EC2 (0171 729 3445) to 29 August

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York