Lawrence Lek’s Shiva's Dreaming (Crystal Palace) is a 3D animated virtual environment that uses glass architecture to symbolise the transience of technology and its physical artefacts. Players roam around a digital replica of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham on the night of 30 November 1936, just as the building is slowly consumed by a raging fire. As we explore the smoke-filled scene our movements trigger a series of explosions that transform the architecture into cascades of crystalline shards, which falling apart in slow motion only to regenerate afterwards, endlessly.
The experience is reminiscent of a video game in which one’s competitive ‘lives’ are earned and returned and in which the levels become progressively more intense. Movement through the animation is monitored and motivated by a hypnotic narrative in German. It might appear as though everything is lost, but the work allows for an escape from these apocalyptic scenes in order to begin again. Shiva's Dreaming (Crystal Palace) was originally commissioned by STO Werkstatt.