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
As part of Test Sites: Assembly, artist Kat Austen will lead a workshop on microplastics exploring both the different plastic types and the different plastic identification techniques.
Microplastics have been gaining more and more public attention over the last few years. These small plastic particles have been shown to pervade the marine environment, and have been found to affect the wellbeing – and possibly even the behaviour – of marine species, and maybe even those that consume them. Much microplastic in the environment comes from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic pollution. In this workshop we will explore different types of plastics, where they are commonly found, and methods of identifying them. We’ll also explore what it would mean to live without plastic. 
As an artist Kat deals with themes of environment, social justice, communities and human relations to digital culture. She creates experiences, stories and playful installations, mixing fact and fiction closely, so troublesome. Kat holds a PhD in chemistry from UCL and worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in Nature, The Ecologist and The Guardian, and she consults widely on the intersection of science, art and technology, including as a Futureshaper for Forum for the Future, for the European Commission and UK water regulator Ofwat.
 
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
As part of Test Sites: Assembly, activist and researcher pantxo ramas (aka Francesco Salvini) is joined by researcher Nicholas Beuret for a conversation on the subject of caring ecologies and infrastructures.
Taking the radical practice of institutional destruction and reinvention realised within the Trieste psychiatric asylum (Italy) as a starting point, pantxo ramas will consider various forms of commoning infrastructures in a process of “recovery” as emancipation. 
Nicholas Beuret will give an introduction to the affects and practices of chemopolitics and toxic entanglements, a research interest that stemmed from a routine blood screening test that for Beuret, brought about a personal revelation: the quiet horror of toxicity and the saturation of everyday life within the endless loops of the uncanny and the eerie. What does it mean when our capacities to act and know, the basis of what it means to be social and to understand, are transformed by the very things we come to act on and know? What does it mean to live within the horror of late industrialism with its never-quite-confirmed allegations and conspiracies?
Francesco Salvini (pantxo ramas) is a Wellcome Trust Research Associate, at the Kent Law School where he works in a project on the modern boundaries of healthcare. Pantxo is also an activist and has been actively involved in social mobilisations around the contemporary crisis of care in Ecuador, Italy and Spain.
Nicholas Beuret is a lecturer at the University of Essex. Previously he has been a researcher on green chemistry and climate migration, and environmental campaigner and community organiser. His research explores the politics of environmental catastrophe and how our lives are shaped by both the more than human world and technoscience.
 
 
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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

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 involving local people in 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 exploring water governance in relation to health, wellbeing and the resilience of communities and ecologies, in partnership with many local individuals and groups. The core team comprises artist Ruth Levene, anthropologist Megan Clinch, artist group Invisible Flock, curator 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 organised workshops with local groups and hosted stands and events 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 held many group meetings and interviews to gather people’s varied understandings about the Calder water system and its management.

In Summer 2019, we presented a series of art installations and public events at festivals and venues along the Calder Valley, sharing our findings and continuing the inquiry with many more people. Find out more about the Summer programme here!

In 2020-21, Arts Catalyst has been working with Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright) who have been developing an inquiry and web platform investigating the ways in which a river’s health can be examined and understood.

CO-INQUIRERS


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.

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.

Invisible Flock is an interactive arts studio based in the UK, making innovative artworks to be experienced and participated in by thousands all over the world. The artists create highly sensory installations and environments that ask us to re-negotiate our emotional relationship to the natural world.

Matterlurgy is a collaborative practice between London based artists Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright. They work in critical contexts of environmental change, across disciplines and media, combining the production of artworks with co-constructed events and live performance. 

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.

Hero 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
We invite members of the King’s Cross and wider city neighbourhood to come together and join us for an afternoon of communal patchwork cloth stitching, and reflection on the forces that damage, divide and unite our urban communites. Tea and biscuits will be provided.
The process of making and mending within a communal context can often serve as a unifying, healing force in the aftermath of a disaster or trauma. This workshop, the first of two planned stitching sessions, takes place in the context of the exhibition Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima.
‘O-Furoshiki’ is a traditional type of Japanese wrapping cloth created for the annual festival 'Fukushima!', as featured in the film Project Fukushima! Pieces of fabric, donated by people from all over Japan, are sewn together to create a patchwork cover for floors and surfaces affected by radiation. At each festival location, volunteers work together to stitch and cover the floor of each venue with the patchwork cloth. They measure radiation levels to ensure it is safe to carry out the festival. 
Taking Fukushima as starting point, how can we develop a creative language that supports and sustains a post-disaster or displaced community? Can our experience and collective will to overcome ecological difficulty be made manifest through stitching? In this respect, can art transcend function?
The second stitching workshop, taking place on 15 July, will culminate in a celebration that will see the cloth being unfolded in Cromer Street and its surrounding areas, engaging neighbours and passers-by in communal conversation. More information on the celebration can be found here.
 
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
On July 15 we invite you to celebrate the closing of our current season Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima. Drawing from the O' Furushiki patchwork cloth used by volunteers during Project Fukushima, Arts Catalyst invites members of the local community and beyond to create a cloth for Cromer Street.
Following on from the work created during the first stitching session, this second session will culminate in an unfolding of the cloth into Cromer street and the surrounding area, to honour the collective will and creative, social language that can be drawn from stitching, mending and community activity. Arts Catalyst invites members of different communities around Cromer Street as well as from across London to join us for this stitching session. 
To celebrate the closing of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima, we will see the cloth unfolded in Cromer Street and the surrounding area, engaging neighbours and passers-by in communal activity and conversation. We invite you to celebrate with us the creation of our own patchwork cloth for Cromer Street. Tea and cakes will be provided.
 

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

 

Introducing Notes from the Field
Wed 27 January
A conversation between Alistair Hudson, Director of Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) / co-director of the Asociación de Arte Útil, and artist Graham Harwood, chaired by Nicola Triscott, CEO of Arts Catalyst.
MIMA hosts 'The Office of Useful Art' where visitors are invited to join the Asociacion de Arte Util (Useful Art Association) – a membership organisation that promotes and implements Arte Util.
Graham Harwood is one half of artistic collaboration YoHa, along with Matsuko Yokokoji. YoHa’s projects combine groups and individuals with the technologies that surround them, through a socially engaged and research based practice. YoHa produce powerful allegorical contraptions to form an understanding of complex social/technical systems.
 
Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology
Fri 29 January
The assembly will host six speakers and two respondents, split across two consecutive sessions. Speakers will be made up of a trans-disciplinary group of artists, scientists, technologists, designers, curators and researchers who use science and technologies to activate social change. Together they will reflect on the possibilities of art as a tool or devise to effect radical change.
Panel 1
Veronica Ranner, Kit Jones (CAT), Dimitri Launder - Chaired by Alec Steadman, Arts Catalyst's Curator
Panel 2
Graham Harwood, Sylvia Nagl, Jonathan Rosenhead (BSSRS) - Chaired by Nicola Triscott, Arts Catalyst's CEO
Respondent: Gemma Medina Estupiñan (Arte Util, Archive Researcher).
Gemma Medina Estupiñan is an independent research curator and Art Historian (PhD in Contemporary Art History) based in Eindhoven. She was part of the curatorial team of The Museum of Arte Útil (Van Abbemuseum), leading the research to build the Arte Útil Archive and co-curating the public program. She conceived the project ‘Broadcasting the archive’ along with Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive. ‘Broadcasting the archive’ is supported by  Mondriaan Fund.
 
Socialising Activism - A Talk With Lisa Ma
Thu 4 February
“The future of activism isn’t loud. There’s a world of innovation in the field of activism that we are wasting away.”
Lisa Ma has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. In this talk Lisa will introduce her practice as a design activist, using innovative solutions to think through local social problems across the globe. 
Lisa socialises activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa Ma creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community.
Placing herself as a critical explorer, Lisa Ma has built, for the city of Ghent - a political culture of consuming the invasive species that the vegetarian town would otherwise pay to poison; for a joystick factory in Shenzhen - coined the scheme of Farmification to save the worker community through technology innovation; for London Heathrow Airport - gather opposing communities between planning historians, activists to construct heritage tours of the surrounding villages under threat from the airport expansion. Through sweet storytelling of unlikely events, Lisa Ma bridges organisations with communities and through everyday clashes of values between what we do and what we believe in to make us think deeper about the future.
 
Sketch a Bioluddite - A Science and Activism Workshop with Lisa Ma
Sat 6 February
For every technological era, there are sub-cultures that resist the flow and whose critical perspective inspires the rest of society. This workshop invites the general public and scientists to a comic forensic sketch to identify an emerging subculture called Bioluddites.
What does society look like when you put historic activists with future science? Lisa Ma invites scientists, biohackers and the general public to an open forensic sketch session.
Lisa believes that designing a cultural memory of activism in technology is an essential part of public engagements with science. She provokes the scientific community by asking everyone to imagine how Luddism would affect society in the Biotechnological era. Rather than portraying these historical activists as criminals of the past, Lisa Ma argues that they are in fact the engaged citizens of the future.
This workshop will ask:
Why should scientists anticipate activism with their technology?
What might the general public celebrate in Luddism?
How could biohackers socialise activism for a result that is more productive than political engagement?
 
Inter-species Technologies for Peripheral Contexts (the Bionic Sheep project) - A Workshop with Fernando Garcia Dory
Thu 18 February
Artist, Fernando García-Dory, has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science to present his Bionic Sheep project, part of the Arte Util Archive with a workshop and talk.  Join Fernando and guests for a discussion and workshop on his concept how art can connect with territories, native cultures and other species, and about the specific system shepherd-sheep-wolf today . In this workshop there will be the chance to draft models for a 21st century shepherds hut and learn the inner workings of the ultrasonic Flock Protection System for sheep, as well as gain insight into the behaviour of wolves.
Fernando will be joined by specialists Sue Hull (Co-Director of the UK Wolf Conservation Trust) an expert in animal behaviour and Paolo Cavagnolo, a hacker and electronic engineer who will dissect the technical details of the Bionic Sheep prototype.
The wolf has captured imaginations for as long as humans have been living in settled communities, appearing in different guises in folk tales and peasant songs as a wily predator and a fiendish seducer. Today they are seen by urban societies as a paradigm of wholeness and freedom. In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on protecting wolves and other predator species and even re-introducing them into certain rural areas. This is creating an increased conflict between what is left of the pastoralist cultures and domesticated animals and this wild species.
Since 2006, artist Fernando Garcia Dory has produced various prototypes of 'Bionic Sheep', In collaboration with shepherds and engineers. The 'Bionic Sheep' project is a portable, solar-powered, ultrasonic flock protection system for sheep. The system provides a technological and creative solution to the age-old pastoral rivalry of the shepherd and the wolf so that wildlife and farmers can co-exist in harmony.
Fernando’s work engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature now, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations concerned with identity, through to (global) crisis, utopia and the potential for social change.
As the artist states; "From the frozen tundra where Sami reindeers graze, to German prairies to Portuguese remote mountains, the war between wolf and shepherd is increasing, with it, worldviews and ecosophies's clash. There is a gulf between the re-wilding ideology and deep ecology, on the one hand, and social ecology and agroecology ideas on how to solve culture-nature frictions, on the other."
 
Agroecology a New Kind of Neo Pastorialism - A Talk with Fernando Garcia Dory
Thu 18 February
Artist, Fernando García-Dory, has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. His work engages specifically with issues affecting the relation between culture-nature now, embodied within the contexts of landscape, the rural, desires and expectations related with aspects of identity, crisis, utopia and social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology in Madrid, Spain and Ritveld Akademie Amsterdam.
In this talk he will discuss his work on agroecology and his current sociological and technical collaborations with engineers, communities and  other specialists.
His work stems from an interested in the harmonic complexity of biological and technical forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from Microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages such as drawing to collaborative agro ecological projects, actions, and cooperatives.
Engaging directly with issues affecting rural communities, García-Dory develop his "ethical-aesthetical" agroecological projects, such as working with shepherds who are trying to preserve their rights and way of life in the face of EU and tourist industry pressures, directing a Shepherds School there, and building huts open for newcomers; seed savers networks linked to hackers working to counteract patents on life forced by agribusiness and genetic engineering firms; and diverse interventions projects in Europe, India, Mauritius, Equator and other places.
Recent projects have been with Casco, Utrecht, Insite Casa Gallina, Mexico, Betonsalon, Paris,  Istanbul Biennale and he is working towards the upcoming intervention for Gwangju Biennale. 
 
Walking and Sensing in the City – A Citizen Science Sorkshop with Andy Freeman
Sat 27 February
Artist and technologist Andy Freeman has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. In this event Andy takes participants on a part walking tour – part citizen science workshop in Camden. Freeman considers that citizen science practice is a form of ‘tactical living’ drawing together different knowledge sources (scientific, governmental and localised knowledge) meaning that we can monitor the environment we live in and become informed of changes that affect our health and other forms of life in the city.
You will learn how to monitor air quality, test soil and water for toxicity and discover historical, biological, industrial, technological and hidden and situated knowledge in the borough.
Please note this workshop involves a 1.6 mile round walk.
 
A Remedy for the City – A Workshop with Dimitri Launder
Across March
Dimitri’s projects as Artist Gardener offer a gentle provocation to an apocalyptic view of urban ecological sustainability. His work often explores the liminal issues between public and private use of space, aspiring towards transformative urban propagation. Launder’s project Apothecary Arboretum is featured in Arte Util’s archive the aim was to create a garden both medicinal and edible, in a concrete neighbourhood. From this living eco-system of vertical, apothecary sculpture: prototype 1.0, he discusses his approach to his merging medicinal, historical, social knowledge in an urban context.
Over March 2016, Dimitri, along with Calthorpe Project (community garden) will investigate growing natural remedies in 'living pills' of ingredients - Kokedama. They will question the liable and liminal practices of home grown and foraged remedies and its challenges in our age of commercial medicine and whether the diseases of our city relate to medicinal plants in our locality? Together they will investigate and record stories of the traditional use of plants from members of the community whilst planting medicinal moss-balls.
Dimitri's experience in this grafted practice has developed over 15 years expertise as a garden designer and as an artist with inherent interests in ecology and socially engaged practices.
 
Planting in Concrete – A Talk with Dimitri Launder
Thu 3 March
Dimitri Launder has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as speaker and workshop leader. In this talk Dimitri will talk about his work as Artist Gardener.
Dimitri’s projects as Artist Gardener offer a gentle provocation to an apocalyptic view of urban ecological sustainability. His work often explores the liminal issues between public and private use of space, aspiring towards transformative urban propagation. Launder’s project Apothecary Arboretum is featured in Arte Util’s archive the aim was to create a garden both medicinal and edible, in a concrete neighbourhood. From this living eco-system of vertical, apothecary sculpture: prototype 1.0, he discusses his approach to his merging medicinal, historical, social knowledge in an urban context.
His experience in this grafted practice has developed over 15 years expertise as a garden designer and as an artist with inherent interests in ecology and socially engaged practices.

Invasive Ecology – A Working Group with Fran Gallardo
Thu 17 March
As part of a weeklong residency artist researcher Fran Gallardo, invites you to join in a group led discussion on invasive species.
We will be joined by Dr Shonil Bhagwat: Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University and Environmental Geographer, with broad research interests at the cross-section between natural and social sciences. His research centers on the links between environment and development. In particular, it engages critically with discussions on a variety of key environmental concerns: agriculture and food security, biodiversity conservation, climate change, ecosystem services, and sustainability. It addresses these perceived grand environmental challenges within the context of growing discussion on the Anthropocene, the age of humans.
About the workshop:
Non-native plants, animals and organisms can have detrimental effects on our environment, health and ecology – they are considered to be a form of biological pollution.
The debate and discussion will explore whether we should elevate species such as the Transexual Mitten Crab and Japanese Knot weed, to fine dining ingredients when they attack and corrode the structural integrity of our concrete landscapes and affect our boats and flood defences. Shipping industries as well as oceanic currents and global warming are often held responsible for transporting species across the globe. With Dr Bhagwat we will discuss how to think differently about invasiveness, and how to apply new tactics to engage and live with ‘novel ecosystems’, whilst also leaving space for wildness in a human-dominated planet?  
 
Talking Dirty: Tongue First Research at the Mouth of the Thames Book Launch
Fri 18 March
Join us for enlivening evening with refreshments such as Earth Cola with Mycobacterium vaccae (M. Vaccae is a non-pathogenic species of Mycobacteria) and Edge Cordial made from Britain’s most valuable wild resource. Refreshments made by Fran Gallardo.  
Talking Dirty: Tongue First! was a series of public events in Leigh-on-Sea, Southend involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption, which lead to the recipe book produced in collaboration with the situated knowledge of South Essex people. It contains instructions for cooking with estuary ingredients: from Grey Mullet Sashimi with Hair Soy Sauce and to Invasive Species Soup. The recipe book concentrates on local foods, ecology, environmental and toxicity and how interconnected webs of industry, culture, living beings and pollution form the estuaries complex ecosystem.
 
Explore the Thames Estuary with your Tongue – With Fran Gallardo
Sat 19 March
Join Fran Gallardo for a day of tasting, sensing and thinking through the Thames Estuary .
Fran will present intriguing recipes that represent and re-imagine webs of connections between gastronomy and ecology within many environments: from mud, human microbiomes, ships, landfills and human-made islands.

 

Artists

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specialisations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art and performance. Formed in 1987, CAE's focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology and political activism. The group has exhibited and performed at diverse venues internationally, ranging from the street, to the museum, to the internet. Museum exhibitions include the Whitney Museum and the New Museum in NYC, Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C., ICA in London, MCA in Chicago, Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Natural History Museum in London.
 
YoHa (English translation 'aftermath') is a partnership between artists Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, formed in 1994. YoHa's graphic vision and technical tinkering, has powered several celebrated collaborations, establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical arts projects. Harwood and Yokokoji co-founded the artists group Mongrel (1996-2007) and established the MediaShed a free-media lab (2005-2008). In 2008 they joined Richard Wright to produce Tantalum Memorial shown in nine countries and 15 cities over four years. In 2010 YoHa produced Coal Fired Computers before embarking on a series of works about the lived logics of database machinery including Invisible Airs (2011) and Endless War (2012).
 
Tania Bruguera is a Cuban, politically motivated performance artist that explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. By creating proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt, she defines herself as an initiator rather than an author, and often collaborates with multiple institutions as well as many individuals so that the full realization of her artwork occurs when others adopt and perpetuate it.
 
Fran Gallardo’s background is in systems engineering. He is a member of the Environmental Art Activism movement. Fran's work explores interfaces for culture in technology and ecology. In 2015, he lead the Arts Catalyst project Talking Dirty! Tongue First: Experiments at the Mouth of the Thames. This was a series of public events including citizen science workshops, involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption.
 
Andy Freeman is an artist, educator, technologist and former oyster farmer. Andy has worked with software and community arts projects and was founder member of the Australian Network for Arts and Technology. Based on his arts practice and his teaching at Goldsmiths College, Andy has developed a practice that involves the combination of open data tactics and community engagement.
 
Dimitri Launder’s projects as Artist Gardener offer a gentle provocation to an apocalyptic view of urban ecological sustainability. His work often explores the liminal issues between public and private use of space, aspiring towards transformative urban propagation. Launder’s work has been commissioned by organisations including Tate Modern with his Apothecary Arborimum and RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for Tales Of The NOOSPHERE recently featured in the Arte Útil archive. His ideas cross pollinate between commercial private gardens, public commissions and emergent ideas in his art practice. His experience in this grafted practice has developed over 15 years expertise as a garden designer and as an artist with inherent interests in ecology and socially engaged practices.
 
Veronica Ranner is a designer, artist and researcher living and working in London. She researches the burgeoning domain of the bio–digital — a converging knowledge space where digitality and computational thinking meet biological matter. She dissects and creates tangible and immaterial manifestations of such collisions, examining hereby the polyphonic potential of alternative technological futures. Her current doctoral work explores paradigm shifts in reality perception by coupling speculative (bio)material strategies and information experience through design research.
 
By combining fringe communities, ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa Ma socializes activism through unusual platforms of engagement. These social events are perceived as activism but function as services and deeply resonate with the global technological community.
 
Sylvia Nagl is a transdisciplinary complexity scientist who works on the interdependence of human and natural systems. She is interested in how the dynamic interactions of people with each other, with wider social, economic, political, and technological systems – and with ecological and earth systems – form ever more complex networks of relationships. 'Health' depends on these relationships acting together in a life-enhancing way. Interconnectedness is central to the health of individuals and communities, and the well-being of the living planet Earth.
 
Ben Vickers is a curator, writer, network analyst, technologist and luddite. He makes a living and finds a vocation in understanding how systems of distribution, both human and other, come to affect our personal perception of reality. Vickers is currently Curator of Digital at the Serpentine Gallery, co-runs LIMAZULU Project Space, is an active member of EdgeRyders, leads Brighton University’s Professional 'Reality' Development Program and facilitates the development of unMonastery, a new kind of social space designed to serve the local communities of towns or small cities throughout Europe in solving key social and infrastructural problems.
 
Fernando García-Dory is an artist that engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature now, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations concerned with identity, through to global crisis, utopia and the potential for social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology, and now prepairing his PhD on Agroecology.
 
For over 20 years, Neal White has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of numerous 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 Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme.
 
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), situated in Wales, is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability. It covers all aspects of green living: environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management, renewable energy, energy efficiency and organic growing. CAT is concerned with the search for globally sustainable, whole and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life. Within this search the role of CAT is to explore and demonstrate a wide range of alternatives, communicating to other people the options for them to achieve positive change in their own lives.
 
The British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) was the centre of a 'radical science' movement in the 1970s. The society was formed out of a campaign in 1968 against university research on chemical and biological weapons. Some of those who joined in the early days had a previous record of activism against nuclear weapons, through Scientists Against the Bomb, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, or in other left movements.
 

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:

 
Graveyard of Lost Species Launch Event Programme
Sat 23 July 2016
2.30pm – 3.30pm Artist talk, Focal Point Gallery, Southend
With artists Yoha (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji) and Critical Art Ensemble (Steve Kurtz, Steve Barnes and Lucia Sommer), chaired by Claudia Lastra, Programme Manager, Arts Catalyst.
The artists will discuss their long-term project Graveyard of Lost Species, an anti-monument inscribed with lost and disappearing species of the estuary based in Leigh-on-Sea. The anti-monument is a 30ft boat wreck that will slowly corrode. It is now installed publically on the salt marshes near to the gateway to the Thames. The artist duos will discuss their unique collaboration, as well as processes and production of the project.
Emerging in the late 1980s, Critical Art Ensemble and YoHa are pioneers in a radical art practice that deployed new media as a tactical tool to re-claim, rethink and re-envisage the politics, popular media and artistic practice of the time.
 
3.30pm – 4.30pm Travel to site of Graveyard of Lost Species installation at Leigh on Sea.
 
4.30pm – 6.00pm Reception and installation viewing on site
Please bring waterproof footwear as the marsh area is very muddy. The location is less than 10 minutes walk from Leigh-on-Sea train station, there are parking bays at Leigh-on-Sea station and Leigh Marshes car park.
Arrive at Leigh-on-Sea train station, when exiting turn right towards the Estuary, walk past the car park (on your right) and walk towards the estuary path. Walk along the estuary path (west) towards Benfleet, you will come to a cross path and a hard standing where the boat is situated.
Travelling to Leigh-on-Sea for drinks reception
 
Sponsors
This project is sponsored by Cory Environmental Trust and Arts Council England
 
Thanks
Focal Point Gallery and Southern Borough Council
 

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 designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature. He is also a musician, draftsman and illustrator. He is the director of the Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory in Mexico (Laboratorio Plasmaht de Investigación en Resonancia y Expresión de la Naturaleza, Asociación Civil), an organisation which explores natural resonance, mechanics, electricity and magnetism and how these phenomena can be applied to music and sound experiments.

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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