Auto Italia, in conversation

As part of  Arts Catalyst presents 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering Revisited 1966/2016, Exhibition Studies Working Group invites artists Auto Italia to discuss their work.

Auto Italia is an artist run organisation that commissions and produces new work, collaborating directly with emerging artists. For this evening talk they will discuss a range of projects which critically engage with technologies, experimenting with alternative modes of production and exhibition formats. This will include Meet Z, an online personal guide, productivity consultant and creative collaborator. As well as Auto Italia LIVE, nine 1 hour, collectively developed works engaging the histories and format of Television, broadcast live over the internet.

This talk, organised by the ‘Exhibition Studies Working Group’, aim’s to introduce the voice of a younger generation of artists who are critically engaging in the social and political implications of technology. The ‘Exhibition Studies Working Group’ is made up of students from MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and MFA Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London. They have been working together for over nine months, to critically reflect on key themes and issues raised by Arts Catalyst’s revisiting of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering. As well as this event they have collectively authored a publication of new writing: Transdisciplinary Collaboration, Exhibiting Archives, Re-staging Exhibitions.

About Auto Italia:
Auto Italia South East is an artist run organisation that commissions and produces new work – collaborating directly with emerging artists. Founded in 2007, it aims to provide a framework for developing alternative approaches to production and exhibition formats. Auto Italia is currently run by Kate Cooper, Marianne Forrest, Marleen Boschen and Edward Gillman.

About Exhibition Studies Working Group:
The group brought together students from two programmes both critically engaging with ideas of exhibition making or exhibition histories; MFA Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London and MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. These students worked together for over nine months, from February to September 2016, to critically reflect on key themes and issues raised by Arts Catalyst revisiting of this seminal event in the history of transdisciplinary art, science and technology collaborations.

During this period the group met every other week at Arts Catalyst’s Centre for Art Science & Technology. Meetings involved open discussions, sessions led by group members, and meetings with visiting artists and curators. Guests included Alistair Hudson, Director, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) and Julie Martin, Director E.A.T.. The students eventually split into three sub-groups, each focusing on a different area of investigation. The ‘Re-staging Exhibitions’ group examined the re-staging and re-imagining of historic exhibitions and events, as a model of doing art history. The ‘Trandisciplinary Collaborations’ collective looked at examples of artists and curators working with practitioners from across disciplines.
Finally, the ‘Exhibiting Archives’ group look at the possibilities and pitfalls of various methods employed to make archival materials public. This collaborative process culminated in the production of the texts in this publication, conceived and written by the members of the working group. In addition they have organised a talk / event relating to their research to mark the close of the season, to be held at Arts Catalyst Centre. 

This programme is supported by Arts Council England, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation, PACE, Afterall, Central Saint Martins, UAL, King’s Cross, Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Westminster, London: The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) with the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC) and The Performance Studio.


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Material Nuclear Culture Roundtable Discussion

A discussion about art and nuclear culture will take place in the centre of the Material Nuclear Culture exhibition bringing together artists, submariners, and members of the Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group (SDP-AG) and NsubF Nuclear Submarine Forum in the South East.

Participants include: Les Netherton, chair of the SDP-AG; Mark Portman, WO1, Royal Navy (Submarines); Carien Kremer, Curator, William Morris Gallery; artists: Nick Crowe, David Mabb, Kota Takeuchi, Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead; Ele Carpenter, Curator; Nicola Triscott, Artistic Director of Arts Catalyst.

The discussion will take place around a reconstruction of James Acord’s roundtable that he built in his Hanford studio, USA 1999, to bring together environmentalists and people from the nuclear industry to discuss the clean up of nuclear materials at the Hanford site.

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Introducing Notes from the Field

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.


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Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology

As part of Notes from the Field, Arts Catalyst will present an 'Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology’. 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

Veronica Ranner is an artist and designer, researching the burgeoning domain of the bio­–digital — a converging knowledge space where digitality and computational thinking meets biological matter. She dissects and creates tangible and immaterial manifestations of such collisions, examining hereby the polyphonic potential of alternative technological futures as part of her practice-led PhD at the Royal College of Art

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), situated in Wales, is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability. CAT have developed and produced of a wide range of renewable energy systems.

Dimitri Launder is the founder of Artist Gardeners. With 12 years of experience designing, and building gardens, his concerns are often based on a playful humour and apocalyptic view of the sustainability of localised food production in an urban context. He believes the cultural and ecological legacy that we leave as a society is our collective responsibility.

Panel 2

Graham Harwood, Sylvia Nagl, Jonathan Rosenhead (BSSRS) - Chaired by Nicola Triscott, Arts Catalyst's CEO

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.

Dr Sylvia Nagl is a trans-disciplinary 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.

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. Professor Jonathan Rosenhead has worked at London School of Economics since 1967 and been Professor of Operational Research since 1987. He was active in the BSSRS for 20 years, including a period as Chair.

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.

Time break down
Panel 1: 17.00 - 18.30, Panel 2: 18.45 - 20.15, Respondents: 20.30 - 21.00

Advance tickets are £5, with refreshments provided. Booking details to follow.



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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.



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


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.


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


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Talking Dirty: Tongue First! Experiments at the Mouth of the Thames

Calling people of Essex join us for a Southend tongue first experimentation and citizen science workshops!

'Talking Dirty: Tongue First!' is a series of public events involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption, leading to a recipe book produced in collaboration with the situated knowledge of South Essex people, containing instructions for cooking with estuary ingredients: from Thames fish to back garden elderflower cordial.

Through public, cooking and eating workshops in Leigh-on-Sea, we will create public tastings that explore environmental change. Alongside these tastings, citizen science workshops will investigate the traces of waste disposal on the 'unnatural' nature reserve of Two Tree Island in Leigh-on-Sea.

The project is led by local Southend artists Fran Gallardo, YoHa and Andy Freeman with environmental chemist and food scientist Mark Scrimshaw.

The citizen science workshops will involve using digital and mobile technologies to investigate the legacy of generations of industrial use (and misuse) in the estuary landscape.

Talking Dirty is part of Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone, an art and citizen science project that will uncover and highlight 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 project website for more information:

Public Events & Workshops:

Open Jamming at Leigh-on-Sea Maritime Festival. Come one, come all!
Date: Sunday 2 August 2015, 11am – 4pm

Location: Victoria Wharf, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend
Booking: No booking required
Join local artists Fran Gallardo and YoHa at Leigh-on-Sea's annual Maritime Festival. You will find us somewhere among the sea shanties and Maldon oysters. We encourage you to bring berries and edible flowers samples from your garden, park or elsewhere to create an 'Open Jamming' (please bring the postcode as well). We will prepare jam, cordials and other seasonal cocktails on which you can choose from where berries have the sweetest earthy taste, which elderberries tickle your tongue the most, and create collective jam and cordials!
PS: We would love to hear about your recipes using local ingredients
Fluids and Mud Science (citizen science workshop 1)

Date: Saturday 15 August 2015, 10am – 5pm
Meeting Point: Fishermens Chapel, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9

Booking: please email
Investigate Two Tree Island in this day workshop led by Andy Freeman with Two Tree scientific expert Dr Mark Scrimshaw (Reader in Environmental Chemistry at Brunel University) to explore the use of scientific testing outdoors. Participants will learn about and make observations of a range of gases and contaminants found in the air and water in the Thames estuary using testing kits. Observations will be geotagged using mobile phones and then uploaded to a custom digital map of the locality and shared online.
Wildlife and Not So Wild Life (citizen science workshop 2)

Date: Saturday 22 August 2015, 10am – 5pm

Meeting Point: Fishermens Chapel, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9

Booking: please email 
Andy Freeman and Mark Scrimshaw with local reserves manager Marc Outten (Essex Wildlife Trust) lead this workshop, which will bring together wild life spotting, digital technologies and scientific testing of the elements. Get to know your fellow organisms, animals and local inhabitants of this complex nature reserve, including the people and industries that surround it.
Public Tasting: Explore your Tongue

Date: Sunday 30 August 2015, 7pm - 8pm)
Location: High Street, Belton Way Beach, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend (follow the railway line along High Street towards the cockle sheds)
Fran Gallardo will lead an open air cooking experiment for using local ingredients (menu released on the day). Fran will present intriguing recipes that represent and re-imagine webs of connections between gastronomy and ecology within many environments: from human microbiomes, eels, fungi, geese, ships, landfills and human-made islands. Come and taste, smell and dive into the sensorial experience of the estuary and all its complex delicacies!

Leigh Regatta: Chachacha with Local Ingredients

Date: Sunday 20 September 2015, 10.30am – 5pm

Location: High Street, Belton Way Beach, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend (follow the railway line along High Street towards the cockle sheds)
Before Autumn sets in, the artists and The Arts Catalyst will present one more chance for a tongue first exploration. Come and join us for a sensory undressing of the estuary where you can try a mixture of ingredients collected and prepared from the estuary! Artist Andy Freeman will be conducting scientific testing of local edible plants and food between 2pm - 4pm. Please drop by!

Artists Residency: Tongue First Research Centre

Date: January 2016 (exact dates announced soon)

Location: The Arts Catalyst, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR

Fran Gallardo will lead a week long residency at the Arts Catalyst's Centre for Art, Science and Technology. Further details announced in September.
Talking Dirty is supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award, Arts Council England and Leigh Town Council.
 Many thanks to the Institute of Environmental, Health and Societies (Brunel University), Belton Way Small Craft Club, BioHackspace LondonEssex Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Leigh Marina Secure Measures Ltd., Southend Council and Metal (Southend).
Please note we do not encourage large groups of people foraging or collecting plants from local areas along the estuary. The Two Tree Island is considered a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (see and is a National Nature Reserve (see where wildlife is not to be disturbed.   
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Martin O'Brien: Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I'm Yours

A new performance work by Martin O'Brien, to be presented as part of the ongoing European project - 'Trust me, I'm an Artist: towards an ethics of art/science collaboration'.

'Trust me, I'm an Artist' is a European initiative exploring ethical issues in art that enage with biotechnology and medicine, such as medical self-experimentation, extreme body art, and art practices using living materials and scientific process.

Martin O’Brien’s live art practice uses physical endurance, disgust and pain-based practices to explore the meaning of being born with a life threatening disease (cystic fibrosis) by confronting others’ responses to illness.

In this new durational performance,Taste of Flesh / Bite Me I'm Yours, commissioned by Arts Catalyst and hosted by SPACE c/o The White Building - O’Brien turns his attention to the fear of contamination associated with the sick body. In doing so, he highlights recent acute public anxiety around the risk of infection and the surge in depictions of the zombie in popular culture. The traditional sci-fi figure of contagion - the zombie often reflects environmental, political, or societal concerns, all of which are referenced in O'Briens new piece. O’Brien’s performance will be followed by a discussion with a specially convened ethics committee of Professor Karen Lowton (Department of Sociology, University of Sussex), Dr Gianna Bouchard (Department of Music and Performing Arts, Anglia Ruskin University), and Lois Keidan (Director, Live Art Development Agency), chaired by Professor Bobbie Farsides (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)



3pm - 6pm Performance by Martin O'Brien * (Free, drop in)
6pm - 7pm Break
7pm - 8.30pm Panel discussion and Q&A (Booking required, £5)

* This is a durational performance, audience members are welcome to stay for the duration however can also enter /leave when they wish.



This event is commissioned and produced by Arts Catalyst in cooperation with SPACE c/o the White Building. The project 'Trust Me I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art/Science Collaboration' is led by artist Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with Professor Bobbie Farsides in collaboration with the Waag Society. Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I'm Yours by Martin O'Brien forms part of Jareh Das's research into perceptions of pain in performance, audience witnessing and ethics, in collaboration with Arts Catalyst.

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Escape Vehicle No 6

Live event and film of Escape Vehicle No 6 at The Artists Airshow.

Simon Faithfull’s remarkable Escape Vehicle No.6 started as a live event commissioned by The Arts Catalyst for its first International Artists Airshow. The live audience witnessed the launching of a weather balloon with a domestic chair dangling in space beneath it. Once the apparatus had disappeared into the sky, they then watched a live video relay from the weather balloon on a giant screen as it journeyed from the ground to the edge of space (30km up).

Now presented as a non-live video work, the footage shows the chair first rush away from the fields and roads, ascend through clouds and finally (against the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space) begin to disintegrate. The chilling nature of the film is that the empty chair invites the audience to imagine taking a journey to an uninhabitable realm where it is impossible to breath, the temperature is minus 60 below and the sky now resembles the blackness of space.

External links:

YouTube Escape Vehicle No 6

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