Test Sites: Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Design by An Endless Supply

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Test Sites: Calder Valley

Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern connected with environmental change – such as flooding, pollution, and species loss – and their impact on local culture and the health and wellbeing of our ecosystems and ourselves. At each site, we are 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 will unfold 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!

CO-INQUIRERS

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

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

Invisible Flock
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.

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

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

Hero image: Design by An Endless Supply

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A Public Hearing – Technologies of Belonging

Calling all residents, workers and communities of Cromer Street and Kings Cross, come and share your stories at the first event in the A Public Hearing series

Saturday 28 May is the first in a series of events to explore the technologies of hearing and the point of mediation between the hearing and listening. It will be used as a foundation to lead into the events on the Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June that will continue to develop and explore these concepts and materials in more depth and alternative ones.

Technologies of Belonging investigates how hearing and vocalising are rehearsed. Presenting hearing as narration and storytelling rather than confession. Non-oral bodily sensing and an exploration of the non-human on variety of scales presented in an evolving exhibition as multi-speaker installation, with a collaged sequence of the recent interviews collected by the group with live elements fluctuating between different temporalities, histories and sounds.

Personal hearings

Through a series of informal conversations and discussions the group are inviting you between 1pm–3pm to come and contribute to a developing archive of material.

This event forms part of the first phase of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, where postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London will be in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June. During this time, they will use the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary conditions.

Public hearings originated from the process of the enclosure of public lands in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were held in order to create a petition to parliament to enclose the land, and then later to hear objections to the act created by Parliament. Today, public hearings are still used when dealing with both public lands and private properties. Adopting the device of the public hearing, the Goldsmiths group will consider how diverse experiences and events are communicated through speech, vocalising, hearing and listening. Whose stories are heard and whose not? What other forms of nonhuman expression - animals, plants, industrial, atmospheric - are heard, and what new modes of sensing are needed? In short, who speaks and who listens, and with what technologies?

Arts Catalyst's Centre will be open to the public for A Public Hearing as part of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process
Thursday 2 June – Friday 24 June 2016
Thursdays & Fridays, 12noon – 6pm
With events on Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June 2016
 
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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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Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science

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

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

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

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

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

 

#NotesfromtheField
 

Event Listings; Talks, Workshops and Seminars
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artists

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

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

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

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

Support

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

 

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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: http://www.tonguefirst.com/

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 admin@artscatalyst.org
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 admin@artscatalyst.org 
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 https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england) and is a National Nature Reserve (see  http://www.essexwt.org.uk/reserves/two-tree-island) where wildlife is not to be disturbed.   
 
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Living Assemblies - Design Your Silken Self

‘Living Assemblies’ is a hands-on workshop, led by designer and researcher Veronica Ranner, investigating the coupling of the biological material silk with digital technologies. 

This workshop is organised in partnership with The Arts Catalyst and in cooperation with Furtherfield.

We invite participants (experts in their own field – artists, designers, scientists, writers, technologists, academics, and activists) to join a weekend-long workshop, in which we will experiment with silk and a range of transient materials to imagine potential future applications for combining biological and digital media.

Traditional methods of crafting silk have barely changed in 5000 years, but recent explorations by scientists are uncovering extraordinary new potential uses for this material.  Reverse engineered silk is one of the few biomaterials not rejected by the human body. Rather, able to be fully absorbed by human tissue, it allows for a range of applications within and interacting with the body, including human bone and tissue replacements, biosensors and biodegradable electronics opening the potential to imagine new wearables and imlantables with a range of functions.

During this two-day workshop, participants will collaboratively explore the potential of reverse engineered silk, currently confined to laboratories. Taking the body as the first site for investigation, Veronica Ranner will ask participants to consider themselves as living assemblies that can be hacked, enhanced and patched into through using bio-digital materials. Activities will involve material experiments combined with a narrative design process to speculate on silk's possible future use in the world.

Workshop details


Day 1

With Veronica Ranner, Clemens Winkler and Luke Franzke, participants will be introduced to transient materials — such as reversed engineered silk — through hands-on experimentation with a range of materials, including agar-agar, gelatine, fibroin, glucose and silk-fibres. They will use digital methods and circuits and combine them with silken materials, to then begin forming their own ideas into speculative objects and artworks.
 

Day 2

Innovator, scientist and intermedia artist, Gjino Sutic will introduce the concept of ‘bio-tweaking’: improving and hacking living organisms, for example through metabolism hacking, neuro-tweaking, tissue engineering and organ growing. Participants will work together with science writer Frank Swain to construct narratives around their work. In the final session, participants will map out their ideas in discussion with the group.


Workshop Leader

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. Veronica holds a degree in Industrial Design from Pforzheim University, a Masters in Design Interactions (RCA), and has worked trans-disciplinary with a variety of science institutions and biomedical companies, and she teaches and lectures internationally. Her work is exhibited internationally, including at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2012), Science Gallery, Dublin (2012), China Technology Museum, Beijing (2012), Ventura Lambrate, Milan (2013) and French Design Biennale, St. Etienne (2013). She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Royal College of Art’s Information Experience Design programme and is interested in complex networked cycles, emerging (bio-) technologies and biological fabrication, systems design, material futures and new roles for designers.

Co- facilitators

Clemens Winkler, designer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.
Luke Franzke, designer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.
Frank Swain, science writer and journalist.
Gjino Sutic, innovator, scientist and artist; Director of the Universal Institute in Zagreb, Croatia.
Other experts joining discussions during the workshops will be Bio-informatician Dr Derek Huntley (Imperial College).


Partners & Support

The project is a collaboration between The Creative Exchange Hub at the Royal College of Art, Tufts University (Boston, MA), The Arts Catalyst (London), and Imperial College (London), and hosted and in collaboration with Furtherfield (London). The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Creative Exchange is a national initiative that brings together the best creative and digital minds from leading universities with dynamic and entrepreneurial companies, to create innovative new digital products and services. The Creative Exchange is led by Lancaster University, Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art; funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Find out more at www.thecreativeexchange.org 

Furtherfield is the UK's leading organisation for arts, technology and social change. Since 1997 Furtherfield has created online and physical spaces and places for people to come together to develop and create critical and experimental art and digital technologies on their own terms.
 

Resources & readings:

[1] Primo Levi (1984), Periodic Table, New York: Schocken Books Inc. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Periodic-Table-Primo-Levi/dp/0805210415)
[2] High Low tech instructions for circuits (http://highlowtech.org/?p=1372)
[3] Floridi, L. (2009). Against Digital Ontology in Synthèse,168(1): pp. 151-178. Available at: http://www.philosophyofinformation.net/publications/pdf/ado.pdf
[4] Hu, T. ; Brenckle, M. A., Yan, M. et al. (2012). Silk-Based Conformal, Adhesive, Edible Food Sensors in Advanced Materials, vol 24, nr 8, 1067-1072. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201103814.
[5] Hwang, S-W., Tao, H., Kim, D.-H., et al. (2012), A Physically Transient Form of Silicon Electronics. In Science 337(6102): 1640–1644. DOI:10.1126/science.1226325.          
[6] Transient Electronics (2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnmHZXvJhlk
[7] Fiorenzo Omenetto: Silk, the ancient material of the future (2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqqWw3xkMzA
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Wild eating amongst the rubble and chip wrappers

Wild eating amongst the rubble and chip wrappers with YoHa, the last of three workshops presented as Fruits of the Thames, part of Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, a series of investigations into the Thames Estuary with YoHa.

YoHa will guide you through the potential hazards of eating wild herbs, plants and fruits of the former landfill site of Two Tree Island. We will meet you at the Leigh-on-Sea station and go for walk and collect edible plants along the way. After the walk we will move to Fisherman’s Chapel in Leigh where we will make some lunch out of what we harvest in the morning and taste them.

Protective clothing and equipment
To take part in this workshop you will need comfort clothing and rainwear and walking shoes. Bring a small sharp knife or secateurs and a plastic container for harvesting edibles.

Free workshop, light refreshments will be provided.  Please bring a packed lunch or plan to buy your lunch in Old Leigh, where we will be at lunchtime and you can enjoy the local Fruits of the Thames, Maldon Oysters for just 75p each.

Partner

Joint workshop with Digital Housing Hub project in association with South Essex Homes

Links

Mud walking June 2014 http://vimeo.com/101228535

Interview at the workshop "Eating and Smoking the Flowers of the Thames" on Leigh maritime festival July 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5DJPqsImvs

YoHa website about this project http://yoha.co.uk/wrecked

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Digital Mapping, Introduction to Citizen Science

The second of three workshops presented as Fruits of the Thames, part of Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, a series of investigations into the Thames Estuary with YoHa.

Digital Mapping, Introduction to Citizen Science with Andy Freeman

With GPS enabled camera phones and free online tools its now easier than ever to make useful, fun and beautiful maps that can show anything from your holiday snaps to the distribution of edible plants in polluted soil.

Andy Freeman will introduce a range of techniques for making and sharing maps using simple digital methods. The workshop includes a walking tour of Two Tree Island where participants will learn how to collect geo-tagged images and data using either their mobile phone or equipment supplied on the day. Data we hope to collect and map on the day includes:

  • aerial photography using a drone and/or kite (weather dependent)
  • geo-tagged photos
  • air quality
  • sampling water for pollutants
  • ambient sounds
  • ambient electromagnetism
  • background radiation
  • the blueness of the sky (using a cyanometer)

Participants will get a chance to add their data, images and observations to online open maps produced on the day or produce their own map. The workshop runs from 10am-4pm and includes light refreshments. Participants are welcome to bring their own laptops, tablets and cameras to build their own maps as wi-fi will be available, but this is not a requirement of participation.

Protective clothing and equipment

To take part in this workshop you will need comfort clothing, walking shoes and rainwear. You can also bring smartphones, laptops, tablets and cameras as wi-fi will be available for the indoor parts, but this is not a requirement for participation in the workshop.

Free workshop, light refreshments will be provided.  Please bring a packed lunch or plan to buy your lunch in Old Leigh, where we will be at lunchtime and you can enjoy the local Fruits of the Thames, Maldon Oysters for just 75p each.

Supported by

Dave Black from BlackWing Services http://blackwingservices.com/

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