Test Sites: Assembly

Arts Catalyst presents Test Sites: Assembly, an exhibition and co-inquiry asking how we can respond collectively to social and environmental challenges.

We invite people from art, science, academia, activism and various communities to come together to explore methodologies for developing cross-disciplinary research and building community resilience. In doing so, we introduce and open up Test Sites, Arts Catalyst’s ongoing programme of environmental co-inquiries around the UK. 
 
The major challenges facing us today intertwine environmental, social, political and psychological factors. Challenges such as flooding, species loss, and pollution, and complex health issues like diabetes, mental illness and cancer, interweave large-scale global forces with the small-scale and the personal, and are inextricable from the social and political systems in which they unfold. Realising that empirical science on its own is not enough faced with these complex systems, many scientists and thinkers are calling for transdisciplinary approaches and for fresh thinking about conducting science and research in new ways. Critically, we need to involve those whose lives are directly affected – not just make assumptions about the causes, the impact, and what might be the best paths towards resistance and resilience. 
 
The term Assembly indicates the intention of our programme, which is to gather tactics, practices and theory to create “commoning tools”, creating social and cooperative alternatives for co-producing knowledge and taking control. Through workshops, study days, field trips, reading groups, talks and discussions, we will examine, practice and discuss possible approaches to ecology and society that centre on collaboration and co-creating knowledge, highlighting radical and progressive practices from the UK and internationally. 
 
An exhibition of works-in-progress by Test Sites artists Ruth Levene and Neal White will be shown at Arts Catalyst’s Centre, drawing on their research in the Calder Valley and Poole Harbour. Ruth Levene presents Working Waters, an installation of maps and models created from her investigations into the flows and stewardship of water in the Calder Valley. Neal White meanwhile presents Brownsea: An Imaginary Island (An Island of the Imaginary), comprising a vivarium containing fauna and flora of an island in Poole Harbour alongside an archive of local knowledge, interrupted by industrial frequencies.
 
EVENTS AND INQUIRY PROGRAMME
The programme will introduce and focus on issues, concepts and methodologies in a format that blurs the divides between expert and non-expert, those who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We will explore a set of approaches that include active citizenship, planetary commoning practices, co-inquiry processes, and collective governance and policy making, as well as making tactical use of concepts such as the negative commons. These terms are defined further down.
 
Confirmed programme participants include architect Godofredo Pereira, complexity scientist Sylvia Nagl, social anthropologist Megan Clinch, public science expert Tom Wakeford, interactive theatre company Coney, artist Tom James, artist Luigi Coppola, theorist and editor Shela Sheikh, artist Åsa Sonjasdotter, sustainability expert Rokiah Yaman and artists Ruth Levene and Neal White.
 
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL LIST OF PROGRAMME EVENTS
 
KEY TERMS
 
Active Citizenship - a philosophy that people have a responsibility to their society and the environment that encourages participation in local communities and democracy at all levels. We extend this to participation in research and environmental monitoring.
 
Planetary Commoning Practices - tactical actions towards asserting, enabling, connecting and networking local commoning practices relating to the use or stewardship of common-pool resources within transnational and extraterritorial spaces and natural resource domains, such as the atmosphere, biodiversity, the Arctic, the electromagnetic spectrum, outer space, the lithosphere, and the oceans (Triscott, 2017).
 
Co-inquiry Processes - Arts Catalyst has been developing a curatorial model of critical and transdisciplinary co-inquiry. The key principles of our model include focusing the inquiry on a shared “matter of concern”, the intentional co-production of knowledge - including artistic, scientific and situated - that is context-specific, and fostering an ecology practices that is sensitive to how particular practices relate to and impact on other practices.
 
Collective Governance and Policy Making - aimed at shifting the balance of power away from the regimes of commerce and strategic interests that seek to enclose the commons, and instead towards networked grassroots movements working for increased equity and environmental justice.
 
Negative Commons - the waste of capitalism’s operation, such as debt, epidemics, industrial wastes, and pollution including radiation, which becomes the burden of society once it is of no further value to commerce (Kohso, 2012).
 
TEST SITES
 
Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern relating to environmental issues, such as flooding, pollution, and species loss, and their impact on local culture and the health of ecosystems and communities. Initially taking place in three sites around the UK, we are inviting local people and groups to be part of art-centred co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists and other experts. Test Sites represents a significant step in Arts Catalyst’s curatorial model of transdisciplinary co-inquiry
 
 
ABOUT THE ARTISTS 
 
Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. Curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, she is currently exploring water systems, farming and market driven developments of the countryside. Recent projects have included a research residency in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, engaging with engineers about urban water systems; and A Field of Wheat with Anne-Marie Culhane, a 42-person strong collective and a Lincolnshire farmer, growing a 22-acre field of wheat. She is currently completing a collaborative work alongside Ian Nesbitt entitled Precarious Landscapes commissioned by In Certain Places. Recent exhibitions include Everything Flows at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Formations, curated by Site Gallery as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival, Castleton. Ruth was known by her nickname Bob Levene until 2015. 
 
For over 20 years, Neal White's work has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of many collaborative endeavours – he has been developing projects, research and artworks, publications, archives, fieldworks, critical excursions as bus tours and exhibitions with academics, architects and activists. His current work explores situated practices and knowledge - drawing together environmental and ecological matters of concern with marine biologists, ecologists, coders, architects and volunteers in Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, Dorset for Test Sites. Neal White is a Professor at University of Westminster, where he also directs the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), a UK leader in research in art, design and media.
 
SUPPORT
 
Test Sites is supported by Wellcome Trust, University of Westminster, Bournemouth University, Canal and River Trust, and Arts Council England.
 
PROGRAMME EVENTS
 
Tuesday 27 March, 6:30 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
 
Tuesday 10 April, 4 – 7pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Thursday 12 April, 4 – 6pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Thursday 19 April, 4 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Friday 20 April, 4 – 8pm
R-Urban, Poplar
Free, booking essential
 
Monday 23 April, time TBC
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Wednesday 25 April, 2 – 6pm
Calthorpe Project, King’s Cross
Free, booking essential
 
Saturday 28 April, 10am – 6pm
University of Westminster, Regent Street
£5, booking essential
 
Tuesday 1 May, 6 - 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Tuesday 8 May, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£3, booking essential
 
 
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Test Sites: Poole Harbour

Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern connected with environmental change – such as flooding, pollution, and species loss – and their impact on local and their impact on local culture and the health and well-being of our ecosystems and ourselves. At each site, we invite local people to be part of art-led co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists, and other experts.

Test Sites: Poole Harbour was inspired by the idyllic landscape of this natural harbour with its serene wooded islands and beaches, a site of outstanding natural beauty, which boasts numerous Sites of Scientific Interest, the start of a UNESCO world heritage park, and countless European Union protected environmental habitats, and the contrast with the almost invisible network of oil industry activities and varied commercial and military interests that also characterise the area.During 2017 and 2018, Arts Catalyst has organised field trips, workshops and platforms bringing together artists, scientists, students and wildlife experts, many of whom lived locally to Poole, to explore the ecology and economy of the harbour area and Brownsea Island, and the shifting tensions between private land use and ecological needs, between scientific and amateur understanding of wildlife patterns, and between the competing needs of leisure boat users, tourists, shipping, the military, and the oil industry.

Core team members are artists Neal White and Anna Troisi, marine biologist Rick Stafford from Bournemouth University, and Anna Santomauro, Nicola Triscott and Claudia Lastra from Arts Catalyst. Other contributors include the Alternative School of Economics.

More information about future workshops, events and opportunities will be announced here and through our mailing list.

The project will gather pace during 2019 with workshops, residencies, situated knowledge and citizen science research leading to the creation of site-specific artworks, events, and alternative archives of knowledge.

Supported by EMERGE, Bournemouth University and the University of Westminster, in collaboration with Dorset Wildlife Trust, Lighthouse Poole and the Arts Development Company.

Image: Design by An Endless Supply

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Test Sites: Calder Valley

Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern connected with environmental change – such as flooding, pollution, and species loss – and their impact on local culture and the health and wellbeing of our ecosystems and ourselves. At each site, we are inviting local people to be part of art-led co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists, and other experts.

In the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, where flooding and water pollution have been issues for 200 years, we are researching water governance in relation to health, wellbeing and the resilience of communities and ecologies. The core team currently comprises artist Ruth Levene, anthropologist Megan Clinch, artist group Coney, and Nicola Triscott and Anna Santomauro from Arts Catalyst, with input from Liz Sharp at Pennine Water Group, University of Sheffield, and the water@leeds group, University of Leeds.

We began in 2017 by making two research journeys by narrowboat along the Calder/ Hebble Navigation meeting local people, river/canal users, and experts with interests in water, the history of the river and canal, and water governance.

During 2018, under the banner of the ‘River College’, we are organising workshops with local groups and hosting stands at local festivals, using walks, games, geological cake-baking, water testing experiments and exhibits of maps and models to spark conversations around the geology, ecology, history, pollution and uses of the water system, while exchanging ideas around water’s social, spiritual, political and environmental meanings. Alongside, we are holding group meetings and interviews to gather people’s varied understandings about the Calder water system and its management.

Upcoming events include:

Sat 14 July 2018, 12noon - 4pm
Cake and the Calder Valley
Mirfield Art Festival at Mirfield Library, Huddersfield Rd, Mirfield
An informal conversation and cake-eating session thinking about Mirfield’s water systems.
What ways do we come into contact with and consume water on a daily basis? Where does it come from? How is it managed? Is it clean? Is it harmful? Who profits from it? Can we begin to understand our environment and learn about its multi-layered complexities through the creation of geographical cakes?
Join artists and researchers for slice of artist-made geological strata cake and an informal chat about the water systems in the Calder valley.
Everyone welcome. Free, just drop in between 12 and 4pm.

Sat 28 July - Sun 29 July 2018, All day
The River College
Dewsbury Canal Festival, Savile Town Wharf, Mill Street East, Dewsbury
What is the relationship between the canal, the river and the water that we consume on a daily basis? Where does all this water come from and who manages it? Is it clean? Who cleans it? Who profits from it? Come and learn about the Calder valley water system through creative games, exhibits, demonstrations, citizen science activities, geological cakes and tea tasting.
Everyone welcome. Free, just drop into the River College tent!

CO-INQUIRERS

Ruth Levene
Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. Curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, she is currently exploring water systems, farming and market driven developments of the countryside.

Megan Clinch
Dr Megan Clinch is an anthropologist and lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research explores how different forms of investigation, experimentality, evidence, and evaluation are understood (or not) and managed in the development of public health interventions.

Coney
Coney are artists and makers of interactive theatre, adventures and games, a BAFTA-winning agency who make play happen all over the UK.

Nicola Triscott
Dr Nicola Triscott is a curator and researcher, working at Arts Catalyst and the University of Westminster. She is interested in curating processes of co-inquiry and knowledge coproduction, through an art-centred approach and a science and technology studies perspective.

Anna Santomauro
Anna Santomauro is a curator, educator and researcher in micropolitics and socially engaged art. She is Programme Curator at Art Catalyst.

Test Sites: Calder Valley is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Canal and River Trust and Arts Council England.

Image: Design by An Endless Supply

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A Walk in Fukushima

The curatorial collective Don’t Follow the Wind (Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite) came into being through the exhibition project initiated by Japanese collective Chim↑Pom. On 11 March 2015, on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, the curators working with a group of twelve participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, and others opened an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don’t Follow the Wind inside the radioactive evacuated area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, comprising a series of projects presented at three venues – a warehouse, a farm with a home and an unopened restaurant, and a recreation centre.
 
Seven municipalities lie within the 337-square-kilometre zone currently under restrictions. An estimated 24,000 people are not allowed to return to their homes, many living in temporary housing for the past 5 years. In total more than 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate in the wake of the disaster, with tens of thousands more fleeing, fearing the potential health implications. Given that it may be decades or more before zones within the Fukushima Prefecture are declared safe from radiation and residency restrictions are lifted, it is reasonable to consider that the exhibited artworks will remain unseen and inaccessible for the probable future. 

The project was named for the everyday actions and knowledge of an evacuee that became extraordinary as they fled south towards Tokyo after the disaster so as to avoid exposure to radiation borne on a northwesterly wind.

At Arts Catalyst, Don’t Follow the Wind present their new work A Walk in Fukushima , previously shown at the Sydney Biennale in 2016.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video piece viewed through headsets made in workshops with the former residents The headsets were made by three generations of the Fukushima family of artist Bontaro Dokuyama, who live just outside of the zone in a contaminated area deemed “safe to live” by the government. The grandson, mother, father, and grandmother all made headsets that share their objects and experiences from this new reality.

Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the confidential venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The artworks, which are installed in the resident’s former homes and working spaces within the exclusion zone, are largely obscured by the figures of the artists and members of the curatorial team, retaining their inaccessibility and remaining shrouded and invisible to the outside world; highlighting the ongoing impact of the events of 11 March 2011, and ensuring that Fukushima will not be forgotten.

The invisible exhibition is dated 11 March 2015 – ongoing, commencing on the fourth anniversary of the disastrous Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It will open to the public when the exclusion zone is lifted. The project was initiated by Chimpom, and curated by Kenji Kubota, Jason Waite, and the artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes, with participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon.

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.
 
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Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima

Arts Catalyst presents two exhibitions and a season of events reflecting on disaster, displacement and poisoned lands.

Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima is a season exploring cultural and societal responses to disaster, displacement and poisoned lands. What can art do in an ongoing catastrophe? How do citizens respond to a situation that forces tens of thousands of people out of their homes, land, and communities, many of whom probably cannot return for decades?

Arts Catalyst presents two solo exhibitions by artists that respond to the man-made disaster of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, alongside a series of events exploring the profound social, cultural and political impact of Fukushima in Japan and the lessons we may learn.

A Walk in Fukushima - Don’t Follow the Wind

The curatorial collective Don't Follow The Wind Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite - who developed the long-term project and its ongoing off-site correspondences, was initiated by Chim↑Pom. On 11 March, 2015, an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don't Follow The Wind opened in Fukushima on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (owned by TEPCO). The exhibition is situated inside the radioactive, evacuated area surrounding the power plant at sites lent by former residents, which include a warehouse, farm, and a recreation centre. The curators collaborated with twelve artists including Ai Weiwei, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Meiro Koizumi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Aiko Miyanaga, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, Nobuaki Takekawa, and Kota Takeuchi. Located inside the inaccessible Fukushima exclusion zone, the exhibition is open and yet remains unseen. It will continue to be invisible for years or even decades.

At Arts Catalyst, the curatorial collective has formed a correspondence with the inaccessible exhibition. Whilst the artworks in the original exhibition remain unseen in the exclusion zone, other objects from the sites appear on display, bearing material witness to the ongoing catastrophe. These physical artefacts include the farmhouse keys and cafe furniture from a restaurant that had intended to open on the farm a few weeks after the disaster. The restaurant, its inauguration now perpetually deferred, has instead become a host for artworks that the former residents see as conceptual placeholders for their absence.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video made by the curatorial collective. Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The video follows the account of a former resident's visit to his abandoned home inside the exclusion zone; it is shown on headsets made by three generations of a Fukushima family living just outside the zone in a contaminated area deemed 'safe to live' by the government. The accompanying narratives of these headsets share personal accounts and experiences of this new reality: the restrictions, the rumours and the desires for a different future seen from their unstable present.

Project Fukushima! - Hikaru Fujii

Artist Hikaru Fujii’s film Project Fukushima! follows the preparations for a festival held in Fukushima city five months after the nuclear disaster. The festival, called simply “Fukushima!” was organised by a group of artists and musicians including Yoshihide Otomo. They aim to give visibility to Fukushima’s current state just as it was. The film features music and poetry by Yoshihide Otomo, Michiro Endo, Ryoichi Wago and people from Fukushima and other regions of Japan. It was not a typical festival since the organisers had to address questions such as: Would it be ethical to bring people to Fukushima? What about children? And what would it mean to the people of Fukushima if the festival had to be called off after all due to radiation concerns? Throughout the film we see how the lives of people in Fukushima have changed and what the future might look like for the next few generations.

Born in 1976, Hikaru Fujii creates video installations that respond to contemporary social problems. He makes use of extensive research and fieldwork investigating existing systems and structures, based on the idea that art is produced out of the intimate relationship between society and history. His work explores modern education and social systems in Japan and Asia as well as the nature of museums and art museums.

Events Programme

The “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and meltdown energised many people in Japan to become more proactive, vocal and dissenting. Mass anti-nuclear protests were held countrywide in the years following the disaster and smaller scale protests are still widespread. A citizen science movement sprang up in response to the slow release (some claimed withholding) of radiation data, with citizens using their own radiation-measuring devices to measure levels of radioactivity and post that data online. Legal challenges and petitions against nuclear power in Japan point to another tactic used by a citizenry that wishes to reclaim more governance over its environment and safety. Japanese artists have responded with an array of approaches, and have often been at the forefront of dissent and critique.

A programme of talks, events and activities will run through May to July, in partnership with Art Action UK. Art Action UK is a collective that explores ways to create opportunities for cultural practitioners to develop strategies that will help those affected by disasters.

Nuclear Energy and the Commons – A Workshop
Wednesday 31 May 2017, 2 - 4pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, but pre-enrolment essential
Sabu Kohso, political and social critic, scholar and activist, and Arts Catalyst’s artistic director, Nicola Triscott, lead this workshop examining nuclear radiation as a “negative commons” and discussing this in relation to the planetary commons and nuclear capitalism.
More information available here

Sabu Kohso and Jason Waite: Confronting a Catastrophic World
Wednesday 31 May, 6.30pm - 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Critic, scholar and activist Sabu Kohso and curator Jason Waite discuss the Fukushima disaster as an ongoing and unfolding situation, one among many disasters across the globe caused by the intensifying development of extractive capitalism across the planetary body.
More information available here

Consequences: A collaborative film-making workshop
Saturday 17 June, 12-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£3, bring your own lunch
Kerri Meehan and Alex Ressel invite workshop participants to make a collaborative film or sound work, using the framework of the surrealist game of “Consequences”. The workshop will use imagination and storytelling to address the consequences of the global nuclear industry in a deep time context.
More information available here

Fukushima Artists' Films: Screening and Discussion with Kodwo Eshun (The Otolith Collective)
Wednesday 21 June, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective presents an evening of screenings of artists’ responses to the 03/11/11 Fukushima Disaster. 
Tadasu Takamine: Japan Syndrome Kansai version
Nina Fischer and Moroan el Sani: I Live in Fear After March 11
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ernst Karel and Verena Paravel: Ah Humanity!
 
Workshop: Artistic Practice - Working with Displaced and Peripheral Communities
Wednesday 28 June, 2-6pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
This workshop aims to provoke conversations around artistic and cultural practices that explore communities affected by peripheralisation and marginalisation as a result of conflicting power dynamics.
 
Cromer Street: O-Furoshiki Stitching Group 
Saturday 1 July and Saturday 15 July, 2-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, drop-in
You are invited to participate in two workshops that will take place in early July at Arts Catalyst and to actively engage in the creation of a cloth that will be sent back to Fukushima as a gesture of reciprocity.
 
Curators Talk: Jason Waite and Kaori Homma
Wednesday 5 July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, (£3 concession) Booking essential
Curators Jason Waite and Kaori Homma discuss their work in relation to Arts Catalyst’s presentation of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima
 
Fukushima and Visual Inquiry: Philippe Rouy Film Screening and Conversation with Jason Waite and Kodwo Eshun
Thursday 13th July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, booking essential
Philippe Rouy's films explores different notions of seeing in relation to the Fukushima disaster. An in-conversation with Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective and curator, Jason Waite, will follow the screening.
 
Cromer Street Stitching Group and Closing Celebration
Saturday 15th July, 2-5pm
Free, drop-in
This is the second of two stitching meet-ups to create a cloth for Cromer Street. To celebrate the closing of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima, the end of this session will see the cloth unfolded in Cromer Street and the surrounding area.
 

SUPPORTERS

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.

With special thanks to NPO S-AIR and Project Fukushima!.

 

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temporary index

temporary index is an Arts Catalyst Nuclear Culture Commission by Thomson & Craighead

Artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead investigate understanding of geological and planetary time through the relationship between live data and the material world. Their temporary index is an online database of live decay-rate counters, which operate as markers of time as well as place. The artwork utilises live and pre-recorded data feeds which can be embedded in specific sites, syndicated online, presented in art galleries, preserved in a museum collection, and included in nuclear archives. The artwork publically presents invisible data through a series of numeric counters which countdown the probabilistic decay of radioactive materials in seconds. The design of the counters demonstrates how human measurement of time is a process of linguistic and pictorial language. The result is an animated object of contemplation; representations of time that far outstrip the human life cycle and provide us with a glimpse into the vast time scales that define the universe in which we live, but which also represent a future limit of humanity’s temporal sphere of influence.

The counters include: Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository, Finalnd;  Hallam Nuclear Generating Station, USA; Waste Isolation Power Plant (WIPP) USA;  Repository for Radioactive Waste Morsleben, Germany; Schacht Asse II Intermediate Waste Store, Germany; Piqua Nuclear Power Facility, USA; Hanford, USA; Dodewaard Nuclear Power Plant, Netherlands; Chernobyl Reactor #4, Ukraine. temporary index was developed during a residency at HUMlab in partnership with Bildmuseet, Umeå University, 2015.

temporary index will be exhibited at KARST in Plymouth, as part of the exhibition Material Nuclear Culture curated by Ele Carpenter.

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Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science

Arts Catalyst launches its Centre for Art, Science and Technology with Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science

This multi-faceted project investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.

Notes from the Field… presents aspects of Arts Catalyst’s ongoing art and citizen science project Wrecked! on the Intertidal Zone with lead artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo, who are working with communities on the Thames estuary. Alongside this, it presents the Arte Útil archive, a project initiated by artist Tania Bruguera, which chronicles a history of art projects that create tactics to change how we act in society.

In an archive room designed by Collective Works and ConstructLab, housing physical copies of selected Arte Útil case studies, and through exploratory workshops and discussion events, visitors will be able to speak with invited resident guests, undertake their own research, or propose new Arte Útil case studies. Contributing artists, scientists and experts to Notes from the Field… include Alistair Hudson, Dimitri Launder, Lisa Ma, Sylvia Nagl, Graham Harwood and Veronica Ranner.

More information about the 2016 programme can be found on the Arts Catalyst Centre launch press release.

 

#NotesfromtheField
 

Event Listings; Talks, Workshops and Seminars
 

Wed 27 January
Introducing Notes from the Field - Alistair Hudson and Graham Harwood in conversation, chaired by Nicola Triscott
Fully Booked

Fri 29 January
Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology – with Veronica Ranner, Kit Jones (Centre for Alternative Technology), Dimitri Launder, Graham Harwood, Sylvia Nagl, Jonathan Rosenhead (British Society for Social Responsibility in Science), Gemma Medina Estupiñan, Alec Steadman and Nicola Triscott.
Booking details

Thu 4 February
Socialising Activism - a talk with Lisa Ma
Booking details

Sat 6 February
Sketch a Bioluddite - a science and activism workshop with Lisa Ma
Booking details

Thu 18 February
Inter-species Technologies for Peripheral Contexts (the Bionic Sheep project) - a workshop with Fernando Garcia Dory
Booking details

Thu 18 February
Agroecology a New Kind of Neo Pastorialism - a talk with Fernando Garcia Dory
Booking details

Sat 27 February
Walking and Sensing in the City – a citizen science workshop with Andy Freeman
Booking details

Across March
A Remedy for the City – a workshop with Dimitri Launder
Fully booked

Thu 3 March
Planting in Concrete – A talk with Dimitri Launder
Booking details

Thu 17 March
Invasive Ecology – a working group with Fran Gallardo
Booking details

Sat 19 March  
Explore the Thames Estuary with your Tongue – with Fran Gallardo
Drop in no booking required
 

Artists

YoHa is a partnership between UK artists Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, which has established an international reputation for pioneering critical arts projects, including Tantalum Memorial, Coal Fired Computers, Invisible Airs and Endless War. Critical Art Ensemble is an acclaimed US-based collective of tactical media practitioners, focused on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology and political activism. Their work has been shown in major museums and biennales internationally.

Fran Gallardo is an artist and engineer, whose background includes studies in biochemistry, computing and space systems engineering. He is an active member of the Environmental Art Activism movement.

Andy Freeman is an artist, educator, technologist and former oyster farmer, whose practice that involves the combination of open data tactics and community engagement.

Tania Bruguera is a Cuban installation and performance artist. Her work pivots around issues of power and control. Several of her works interrogate and re-present events in Cuban history. On 2 January 2015, she was freed having had three back-to-back detentions in three days, and after over a thousand artists worldwide signed an open letter to Raúl Castro calling for her release.
 

Support

This project is supported by The Arts Council England, with in-kind support from The Block.

 

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Graveyard of Lost Species

An ambitious collaborative project and public monument by artists YoHa and Critical Art Ensemble in partnership with Arts Catalyst

The Graveyard of Lost Species is a temporary public monument, created from a local wreck, the Souvenir - a 40ft 12 ton Thames Bawley fishing boat, which was reclaimed from the estuary mud. With the names of varied "lost species" (flora, fauna, occupations, words) from the estuary laser carved onto the boat’s surface and interior, she was sailed back and installed on the Leigh marshes as a part of the local landscape.

 

During 2015 and 2016, the artists led a set of enquiries with people in Leigh-on-Sea and Southend to gather local knowledge of and expertise about "lost species" - wildlife, marine creatures, livelihoods, fishing methods, landmarks and local dialects that once flourished in the Estuary and are now disappearing. Working with local craftsmen, the artists then laser cut the lost species into the vessel’s surface.

The project is intended to act as a monument to Leigh’s past and future, as well as uncovering and highlighting local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary.

The artwork is dedicated to the people of Leigh and Southend.

Graveyard of Lost Species is part of 'Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone', an art and citizen science project that uncovers and highlights local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. Artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo, with The Arts Catalyst, are collaborating with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.

See the Wrecked website for videos and artists updates:

 

The Artists

 
Graveyard of Lost Species is led by artist group YoHa, Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, who have worked together since 1994 and are local Leigh-on-Sea residents. YoHa's polemical vision and technical tinkering has powered several celebrated collaborations, establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical art and socially engaged projects. Harwood and Yokokoji co-founded the pioneering artists’ group Mongrel (1996-2007) and established the MediaShed, a free-media lab (2005-2008), which reached international fame through its film ‘Duallists’ shown at over 30 film festivals around the world.
 

Critical Art Ensemble undertook a residency in Leigh-on-Sea, building on research from two previous visits, working alongside Yoha on Lost Species. Since 1987, Critical Art Ensemble has explored the intersections between art, critical theory and political activism. Projects have included recreating historical bio-warfare experiments off the coast of Scotland; setting up a lab in a gallery to reverse engineer genetically modified seeds; and planting endangered flowers on public lands and urban social space threatened by property developers.

Funders and Supporters

This project is supported by The Arts Council England and Arts Catalyst. Many thanks to Leigh Town Council, Southend Borough Council, Metal (Southend) and Belton Way Small Craft Club with advice from Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust.
 
 
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Holoturian

A new commission by Ariel Guzik for Edinburgh Art Festival 2015. ‘Holoturian’ is an underwater resonance instrument designed by Guzik to communicate with whales and dolphins in the deep seas.

This new work is commissioned and produced by Arts Catalyst with Edinburgh Art Festival 2015.

For the last 10 years, the artist, musician, illustrator and inventor Ariel Guzik has searched for a way to communicate with whales and dolphins. Guzik’s project has encompassed the creation of underwater instruments, expeditions to contact whales and dolphins off the coasts of Baja California, Costa Rica and Scotland, sound recordings, and numerous fantastical drawings of this cetacean civilisation and underwater ships and gardens.

Guzik’s extraordinary vision is to build a manned underwater ship – the Narcisa - with the intention of enabling encounters between humans and cetaceans as inhabitants of parallel civilisations, free from hierarchies or intentions of domination or subordination, and devoid of utilitarian or practical research interests.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Edinburgh Art Festival 2015, his new project brings the artist closer to his goal. For this show, his first exhibition in the UK, Guzik is constructing a beautiful capsule, the Holoturian, designed to send a living plant and a string instrument for a period of time into the depths of the sea. Imagined and re-imagined in extraordinary drawings made by Guzik over the past decade, this ship has instrumentation, which expresses life, space, harmony and brightness as primary messages, and is dedicated to sperm whales and other deep ocean creatures. 

The installation is part of Edinburgh Art Festival's 2015 commissions programme, presenting new work by leading Scottish and international emerging and established contemporary artists, and will be displayed at Edinburgh’s gothic kirk Trinity Apse.

The following events have now passed.
Location: Trinity Apse, Chalmers Close, 42 High St, EH1 1SS

Sat 1 August 2015, 11.30am
Ariel Guzik in conversation with environmental scientist and campaigner, Mark Simmonds OBE, chaired by Art Catalyst Director, Nicola Triscott.

Sat 1 August 2015, 7pm
Field recordings by Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory Soundscape and performance by Ariel Guzik, Alejandro Colinas and Emilio Galvez.
A unique opportunity to hear Mexican artist Ariel Guzik perform live in a specially devised set combining electronic music with field recordings of whales and dolphins.

Soundscape and performance by Ariel Guzik, Alejandro Colinas and Emilio Galvez Field recordings by Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory


'Holoturian’ is commissioned and produced by Arts Catalyst with Edinburgh Art Festival 2015.

Ariel Guzik is supported by Wellcome Trust, British Council, EventScotland, Museums Galleries Edinburgh, Arts Council England and the following Mexican institutions, as part of The Year of Mexico in the UK 2015: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) through the Mexican Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID), the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), and The Anglo Mexican Foundation.

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Sterile / Sensei Ichi-Go

A two part commission by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen


Sterile
Albino goldfish engineered to hatch without reproductive organs. They were not conceived as animals but made as objects, unable to partake in the biological cycle. An edition of 45 goldfish was produced for the artists by Professor Yamaha Etsuro in his laboratory in Hokkaido, Japan, following an intricate collaboration process which began in 2011.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Stiftung. With thanks to Professor Yamaha Etsuro, Kimura Sizuo, Kyoko Tachibana, Dr Rachel Rodman, Michiko Nitta, Charles Duffy, Arron Smith, Oliver Coles, Leon Eckert, Hannah Fasching.

Sensei Ichi-Go
A machine capable of producing sterile goldfish in an automated reenactment of Yamaha-Sensei’s movements and actions. Physically articulating this fabrication process, its mechanisation allows for the standardisation of both sequence and animal. A contraption with its own (dormant) choreography, the machine is an assembly line, a printer, a puppet master, a potential.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Stiftung. With thanks to Professor Yamaha Etsuro, Kimura Sizuo, Kyoko Tachibana, Ben Ditzen, Frank Verkade.

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