The Robinson Institute was created to continue the work of a fictional itinerant scholar known as Robinson. In the spring of 2008, he had surveyed the centre of the island on which he was shipwrecked: ‘the location,’ he wrote, ‘of a Great Malady, that I shall dispel, in the manner of Turner, by making picturesque views, on journeys to sites of scientific and historic interest.’ In an attempt to avert global catastrophe, he set out with an ancient cine camera, hoping to trigger capitalism’s collapse by going for a walk. A year later, a box containing nineteen film cans and a notebook was discovered in a derelict caravan. Having already arranged some of the box’s contents as a film, Robinson in Ruins, the Institute’s researchers revisited Robinson’s journey to devise their inaugural exhibition. Artists’ works, many from Tate’s collection, together with a variety of other exhibits, were displayed alongside sequences of film footage, extending the now absent cinematographer’s interpretation of ongoing economic and environmental crisis.
The exhibition was curated by Katharine Stout and Sofia Karamani and designed by Jamie Fobert Architects.
In October 2018, Keiller outlined the spatial concept of the exhibition in a lecture.