A Labour of Love: Lego Loki on Brick High-Rise

• Nov 13, 2015 • Tags: , , , ,

J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise has inspired adaptations and homages in all forms of media, from the films of David Cronenberg to the artworks of Jenny Saville to the music of Hawkwind. But none are as original, funny and, well, bonkers as Lego Loki’s quest to build every scene from the novel out of Lego bricks. We asked Loki why and how he set about his quest, and after putting his campaign to cause Lego Ragnarok on hold for a moment, he stomped across the Bifrost bridge and agreed to tell us all about it…

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‘Back in August 2014, as the filming of Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of the novel drew to an end, the official Twitter for the movie issued me with a challenge. They had seen Brick Jest, an earlier project by Kevin Griffith and his son Sebastian, which translated David Foster Wallace’s work Infinite Jest into LEGO, and asked me if I could recreate High-Rise in a similar manner. Never one to turn down a challenge, I agreed to take on the project.

NfBrTiem_400x400Budget constraints meant that I could not shoot the images in order, as the bricks would have to be reused to create different locations within the building, so I set about creating a shooting script of sorts. As I began to read the book again, poring over every page, attempting to find the perfect way to accurately capture the startling visuals presented in Ballard’s writing, I realised what an immense undertaking this truly was. I could easily have created three or four images from each page of the book, but I decided to limit myself to preparing only one image per page, and after 4 weeks of preparation I was finally ready to begin photography.

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I worked ceaselessly in every moment of spare time I had, and I took over 1000 images, even though my battered paperback of the novel was only 166 pages long. I built and dismantled sets dozens of times, spent countless hours arranging figures and props, and spent more time washing fake blood off LEGO than I would care to admit. At times I was exhausted by the sheer scale of the undertaking, but much like the residents of the High-Rise, I never once thought of leaving.

For eight months I lived with Brick High-Rise, and in the end I can only describe it as a labour of love; love for the characters, for story, but most of all, love for the words on the page.’

To read High-Rise in Lego form, visit BrickHighRise.co.uk.

High-RiseHigh Rise is out now in paperback, with a cover designed by Stanley Donwood.

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