Mud Larks among the Eel grass

The first 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.

Mud Larks among the Eel grass with Paul Huxster

Using geo-locating devices such as smartphones, geo-tagging photo-cameras and GPS devices we will assist amateur biologist and gardener Paul Huxster studying Eelgrass and Cordgrass spatial fluctuations across Leigh’s tidelands. Local micro and macro biodiversity depends of these two plant species.

In the 19th century various Cordgrass species were introduced to the tidelands of Two Tree Island, as a low-end land reclamation experiment to expand Old Leigh's public land for grazing sheep. It proved a resounding failure for the positivist minds of land speculation. Today Cordgrass is an attractive nutrient for invasive grazers as they migrate toward the Estuary’s warming waters. And both Cordgrass and grazing animals are steadily establishing in the area. However, siltation processes are also altering the local environment, and as sea temperature rises, Eelgrass species are being pushed from Essex shorelines northwards, affecting in turn many other the breeding, feeding and migration of other species.

Images will be compiled using the hashtag: #mudwalkingleight. An interactive map and extensive documentation will be produced to help Paul Huxster to track this complex yet contentious process in which science oughtn’t have the only say. We want to reflect upon what constitutes native or non-native ecology and what defines novel versus historical ecosystems in an age in which human activity constitutes the main force driving ecosystems’ change. And, above all, contemplate the cultural systems we use to value them.

The tide on the day will be early, so we need to start walking by 9am. Participants should bear on mind that the event is demanding physically; appropriate gear (listed below) is essential, especially tight wellies and a strong stick for walking. It will take about 2-2.5 hours to walk the mud, then after little rest and light refreshment, participants will get a chance to add their data, images and observations to online maps produced on the day or produce their own map. 

Protective clothing and equipment

To take part in this workshop you will need comfort clothing and rainwear, tight-fitting wellies and strong walking stick (boots and stick are critical for walking on the estuary). Smartphones or GPS devices are welcome but please bring a plastic bag to keep the dry.

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Fruits of the Thames

As part of Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, a series of investigations into the Thames Estuary we are holding three workshops in Leigh-on-Sea to digest and map the Fruits of the Thames.

 

Because of the delicate ecosystems, each workshop is limited to 15-20 participants, please book using the booking links below.  The workshops are free, 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.

These workshops lead on from the workshop Eating and Smoking the Flowers of the Thames held in July 2014 at Leigh-on-Sea's Maritime Festival.

Catastrophe can afford a certain optimism. Many would say the worst has already happened to Two Tree Island, Leigh-on-Sea, situated on the north bank of the Thames Estuary. From 1936 to the mid-1980s the site was used as landfill and a sewage works, leaking PCBs, DDT and other nasties into the salt marsh. Southend-on-Sea and Castle Point local authorities have little data about what lurks beneath the uneven rubble, plastic bags of dog poop, half-empty 1950s Brasso tins, chip wrappers and the ruins of long-forgotten Southend-on-Sea property booms. In 2004, the Island’s chemical cocktail leached into the genomes of surrounding shellfish percolating to public attention in Parliamentary questions.

In recent years Essex Wildlife Trust and a host of local volunteers have transformed the Island into a haven, allowing wild Essex to perch on top of its abandoned urban filth. Today beautiful — and sometimes exotic — wild apples are tempting to eat, blackberries flourish and cry out to be jammed; fennel, shellfish and sea aster spring from once-contaminated soil. Two Tree Island is not too different from anywhere else in the UK, where the worst of poisonous substances and their potential hide beneath the surface.

Workshop Details 

Mud Larks among the Eel grass with Paul Huxster

Sat 13 September, 8.30am - 1pm
Picking up point: Leigh-on-Sea railway station, Belton Way, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2ET
Dropping point: Old Leigh

Using geo-locating devices such as smartphones, geo-tagging photo-cameras and GPS devices we will assist amateur biologist and gardener Paul Huxster studying Eelgrass and Cordgrass spatial fluctuations across Leigh’s tidelands. Local micro and macro biodiversity depends of these two plant species.

In the 19th century various Cordgrass species were introduced to the tidelands of Two Tree Island, as a low-end land reclamation experiment to expand Old Leigh's public land for grazing sheep. It proved a resounding failure for the positivist minds of land speculation. Today Cordgrass is an attractive nutrient for invasive grazers as they migrate toward the Estuary’s warming waters. And both Cordgrass and grazing animals are steadily establishing in the area. However, siltation processes are also altering the local environment, and as sea temperature rises, Eelgrass species are being pushed from Essex shorelines northwards, affecting in turn many other the breeding, feeding and migration of other species.

Images will be compiled using the hashtag: #mudwalkingleight. An interactive map and extensive documentation will be produced to help Paul Huxster to track this complex yet contentious process in which science oughtn’t have the only say. We want to reflect upon what constitutes native or non-native ecology and what defines novel versus historical ecosystems in an age in which human activity constitutes the main force driving ecosystems’ change. And, above all, contemplate the cultural systems we use to value them.

The tide on the day will be early, so we need to start walking by 9am. Participants should bear on mind that the event is demanding physically; appropriate gear (listed below) is essential, especially tight wellies and a strong stick for walking. It will take about 2-2.5 hours to walk the mud, then after little rest and light refreshment, participants will get a chance to add their data, images and observations to online maps produced on the day or produce their own map. 

Protective clothing and equipment
To take part in this workshop you will need comfort clothing and rainwear, tight-fitting wellies and strong walking stick (boots and stick are critical for walking on the estuary). Smartphones or GPS devices are welcome but please bring a plastic bag to keep the dry.

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.

Digital Mapping, Introduction to Citizen Science with Andy Freeman

Sun 14 September 10am - 4pm
Meeting point: The Fisherman’s Chapel, New Road Methodist Church, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2EA (5 minutes walk from Leigh-on-Sea railway station)

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/

Wild eating amongst the rubble and chip wrappers with YoHa

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

Sat 20 September 10am - 4pm
Picking up point: Leigh-on-Sea railway station, Belton Way, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2E
Dropping point: The Fisherman’s Chapel, New Road Methodist Church, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 2EA

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 & 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.

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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Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone

Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, a series of investigations into the Thames Estuary


Follow the progress of the project on the Wrecked website.


The Thames estuary is a complex collection of objects, atmospheres and flows that cannot readily be reduced to scientific methods and models. The estuary is changing rapidly with new industrial infrastructure in construction, including the largest container port in the UK. The estuary's sea marshes, tidal flats and muddy waters are critical wilderness zones for biodiversity conservation and species migration. Simultaneously, they are also zones for leisure and tourism, fishing grounds and the sites of historic wrecks.

This exploratory project, led by YoHa and Arts Catalyst, brings together a network of local people with artists and technologists to explore how local "situated" knowledge of the estuary can be combined with artistic investigations and citizen science techniques to explore and respond to a changing contested estuary.

Through a series of participatory workshops, public realm art projects and activities, which began in Summer 2014 and will continue at least to Summer 2016, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone will profile ways of structuring information from situated knowledge (bird watchers, fishermen, mud walkers, amateur ecologists) and verifiable methods (monitoring networks and ambient sensors).

By fostering an ecology of practices, Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone aims to generate a critical interest in the complex influences governing these delicate environments.

Participating artists include YoHa, Fran Gallardo, Critical Art Ensemble and Andy Freeman.

 

 

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Moon Stories and Make it to the Moon family workshops

Family workshops at Bargehouse as part of the programme for younger visitors to Republic of the Moon exhibition


Make it to the Moon
Sunday 12 January, 2pm – 5pm
Make it to the Moon, drop in family workshops led by artist and ESERO-UK Space Ambassador Helen Schell. 
Imagine a mission to the moon and using various art and craft techniques design and make space diaries, logbooks, rocket manuals, moon flags and mission badges. (5–11 years.  Must be accompanied by an adult.)

Moon Stories
Sunday 19 January, 2.30pm – 4.30pm
Moon Stories, family workshop with Moon Vehicle project leader Joanna Griffin.
Join a space adventure re-enacting the history of moon landings, making space vehicles and a light-based lunar installation for a new mission. (Suitable for ages 8+)

 

Support

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.
Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org
 

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HEAT

A series of workshops for young people run by Something & Son to explore heat through creative problem solving about how and what are the best methods and materials to reduce energy loss in our homes and buildings.

Heat is essential to life. It is continuously gained and lost by buildings, industry and people.  Our understanding of it lies at the heart of tackling climate change, conserving energy, personal comfort and machines, yet it is unseen and uncelebrated.

The heating of buildings is responsible for close to 60% of UK carbon emissions with most waste coming from existing buildings. Radical and rapid approaches are needed to transform buildings so that they conserve heat yet there is an absence of creative practitioners, designers and free thinkers proposing solutions. The response is slow and risk averse. Innovation is required to develop new solutions. Can we reduce heat loss to zero in a single day? Can we engineer behaviour instead of engineering buildings? Which new materials need to be developed to change this?

This series of workshops explore through creative problem solving how and what are the best methods and materials to reduce our homes and buildings releasing heat and so wasting energy.

Workshops

Firstly looking at London using a thermal heat camera – a device that forms an image using infrared radiation. Using this technology will reveal how different buildings are losing heat in varying degrees. The camera reveals a hidden world of flowing heat passing through the city like ghosts of wasted energy, something unseen but essential. This simple idea of visualising how London loses heat will pose lots of complex problems from building to building for the workshop participants to consider. This will result in a series of intriguing photographs and video.

The second workshop will see young participants build on the knowledge from exploring the waste of energy of London, testing thermal properties of various materials from clay to aerogel, sheeps wool to celutex and discussing how different materials and applications enable a building to retain more heat.  In the third workshop they will 'build' their own house insulating it in the best methods they see fit. 

Students will work in teams and compete to make the most energy efficient building. Each team will be given a flat pack of a specially designed miniature London townhouse, a selection of insulation material, along with some dud materials to catch them out, and a 100W bulb to hang in the middle of the house. The bulb will produce the heat that the teams need to keep locked into their homes.

The final homes will be tested for the best approach. We expect unusual designs and approaches to be explored and participants to gain a greater understanding about the role of heat around them.

Contact

If you would like to arrange a series of HEAT workshops for your school or young people's group, please contact Claudia Lastra

Partners and Funders

Something & Son

HEAT is part of the KiiCs project which is supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme

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Family DIY Microscopy and Water Bear Hunting

A family event as part of MadLab's March 2013 residency at The Arts Catalyst.

DIY Biology is a rapidly growing global movement whose aim is to democratise, demystify and widen participation in low-cost, hands-on biology - bringing it out of the laboratory and onto the kitchen table.

Manchester’s very own MadLab will be resident at The Arts Catalyst getting their hands dirty with DIY biology. Pioneers of the DIY-bio movement, even the FBI is keeping an eye on them!

All welcome – curious amateurs with no biology knowledge encouraged!

Family DIY Microscopy and Water Bear Hunting

Saturday 16 March, 2-4pm
Come along and hunt for tiny microscopic creatures called Water Bears and then make your own USB microscope allowing you to see their bear-like figure.

Suitable for ages 6+, children must be accompanied by a parent/carer throughout the workshop.

Partners and Funders

MadLab

Funded with support from The Wellcome Trust

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Deptford Market DNA FoodLab

Why amateur biology matters

Ellen Jorgensen’s biotech TED talk gives a great introduction to DIY Biology and why it matters

DIY Biology is a rapidly growing global movement whose aim is to democratise, demystify and widen participation in low-cost, hands-on biology - bringing it out of the laboratory and onto the kitchen table.

Manchester’s very own MadLab will be resident at Arts Catalyst getting their hands dirty with DIY biology. Pioneers of the DIY-bio movement, even the FBI is keeping an eye on them! If you're keen to find out what's in your food - and who wouldn't be after the horse meat burger news - come along and find us in Deptford Market and get testing food DNA.

All welcome – curious amateurs with no biology knowledge encouraged!

Deptford Market DNA FoodLab

“Get your extracted food DNA here, three for a pound and I can’t say fairer than that”. As the Lab Easy rolls to a close, we’ll be taking the show on the road with a visit to Deptford Market. Armed with a battery of ad-hoc biological tests, travel-ready DIY lab equipment and some tasty produce we’ll be bringing some wholesome Lab Easy flavours to the streets of South East London.

Partners and Funders

MadLab

Funded with support from The Wellcome Trust

Lab Easy is part of the KiiCs project which is supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme

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Dynamic, Affordable, Apollo-free Residency

Hagen Betzwieser (Germany) and Sue Corke (UK) artists in residence in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser met by chance in 2008 conducting artistic field work at a bus stop in Norway. Working for the last four years as WE COLONISED THE MOON their graphic art and installation projects have embodied a child-like wonder of the universe. Employing a range of DIY production techniques their partnership is rooted in absurdism and theatrical performance, characterised by slogans and catchphrases.  Together they seek to demonstrate that the future may indeed be frightening, but also highly entertaining.

Previous projects have included creating solutions for space waste elimination by disguising satellites as asteroids; building a solar powered solarium because ‘the sun dies anyway’ and synthesising the smell of the moon.  They presented a new commission, Enter At Own Risk and Crash - moonlanding workshops for young poeple for Republic of the Moon, Liverpool and have been involved in several Kosmica events at Arts Catalyst.

As artists in residence throughout Republic of the Moon, the residency will evolve in the space and includes a series of participatory events about religious, political and economic approaches to colonising the moon.

Lunar Exploitation Remonstration

Drop-in protest slogan and placard open studio.  Saturday 25 January 11am-3pm.  Free, not suitable for under-12s

Drop-in open studio day for visitors to meet artists-in-residence WE COLONISED THE MOON, continue to debate about the future of the Moon and to pitch their protest slogan for or against the exploitation of the Moon.  Seven solgans will be selected for the the Lunar Exploitation Remonstration and made into placards.

Open Think Tank Late Breakfast

Round table discussion about the concept of moon colonisation, asking: “Should We Colonise the Moon?”.  What's the future for the Moon – theme park or quarry? Saturday 11 January, 11am-1pm, free event

The discussion may act as the stimulus for further dialogue between participants later on in Republic of the Moon. It may be the seed of revolution, or the binding of consensus – the initiation of a movement towards rebellion or treatise.  On the panel are representatives of science, politics, theology, philosophy, and art.

Benedict Singleton describes himself as a strategist with a background in design and philosophy. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Long Con, an alternative history of design, and regularly writes on the politics and philosophy of technology for publications including Architectural Design and E-Flux. He has lectured at the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, the Bartlett School of Architecture, and internationally. His 2013 essay for E-Flux on space travel, Maximum Jailbreak, considers the earth as a trap, and asserts that the common project of philosophy, economics and design should be the formulation of the means to escape from it."

Ian Crawford is Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. His research is mainly concerned with lunar science and exploration, and  he has a significant interest in the future of space exploration. He is currently Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the Space Sciences Committee of the European Science Foundation. In 2003 he was a member of the European Space Agency's Human Spaceflight Vision Group, which recommended that ESA participates in  establishing an international moon base. He believes that space exploration should be an international, global, activity that can act as a unifying endeavour for humanity.“

Rev Dr Jeremy Law is the Dean of Chapel for Canterbury Christ Church University. He conducts theological research at the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. In 2013, he gave a lecture at Canterbury on The Redemption of Evolution at the conference on Wildlife and Society: Challenges for a Shared Future. The conference promoted the discussion of issues related to the relationships between people and wildlife in the context of sustainable living, education and professional development for a shared future.

Read more about the Open Think Tank Late Breakfast debate about colonising the Moon, in the 'We Make Money Not Art' Blog here.

Live moon smelling

part of Kosmica: Full Moon Party, Thursday 16 January 2014

WE COLONISED THE MOON have engineered a macro microencapsulation process to create a LIVE Moon Smelling experience.  Their concept is a massively scaled up version of the chemical process of microencapsulation - a technique that traps aromas in nanosized shell like capsules - first used for their MOON Scratch & Sniff prints in 2010. In this macro version the scent is encapsulated in helium filled balloons. The moment the balloons pop the smell of the moon explodes into the atmosphere creating an immersive transitory experience which rapidly dissipates, leaving only the memory of a place which is neither here nor there.

The smell itself is based on the reports of Apollo astronauts who on returning from the surface of the moon to the landing module experienced a unique odour for the very first time. Created for WCTM in 2010 by Steve Pearce of Omega Ingredients. The synthesised scent also formed a key element of the artists work, Enter At Own Risk, which was first exhibited for Republic of the Moon, FACT Liverpool, 2012, commissioned jointly by Arts Catalyst and FACT.

Support

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org

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M-Blem: the train project

HeHe’s public art interventions are internationally renowned, from ‘Nuage Vert’, highlighting factory emissions with interactive laser light to 'Is there is a Horizon in the Deepwater', a miniaturised global disaster scenario satirising popular responses to ecological issues. Their ‘Toy Emissions’ video also lampooned American SUV (sports utility vehicle) culture and its critics at the same time.
 
HeHe (Heiko Hansen and Helen Evans) have been working on the ‘Train Project’ for a number of years, criticising the car as the only option for autonomous transport. They propose personal rail travel as a temporary imaginary prototype taking the problem of locomotion as a starting point. The notion of personal rail travel has been explored as an alternative to collective transportation since the 1930s, Bruno Latour for example, reflected on the failure of Aramis (Agencement en Rames Automatisées de Modules Indépendants dans les Stations), France's ambitious attempt to develop a personal rapid transit system in his book 'Aramis, or the Love of Technology'.

The ‘Train Project’ has seen HeHe develop temporary autonomous vehicles in the form of performances on unused or abandoned rail tracks. The AND Festival 2012 commission 'M-blem' follows interventions in Istanbul – ‘Tapis Volant’, a battery-powered flying carpet, ‘H Line’ on New York’s abandoned High-Line and ‘Petite Ceinture’ on the little belt that encircles Paris. HeHe’s new vehicle celebrates the birthplace of the world’s first recognisable modern railway - the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) - which opened in 1830.
 
Inspired by AB Clayton's painting of the inaugural journey of the L&MR which illustrates a series of small open-topped passenger carriages on the track outside Manchester's Liverpool Road station, HeHe will run their vehicle 'M-blem' on this historic track, now part of Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. In a participatory project mixing past and future, HeHe will present their mobile, light-weight, electric wheel-set along with solar charging stations, platform, signs and passenger vehicle referencing the original carriages but using modern materials for AND Festival visitors and passengers.

‘Metronome’, a ‘Train Project’ prototype will also be shown in Paris during the Futur En Seine Festival 14-24 June 2012 and will be demonstrated on the abandoned Petite Ceinture track at the Jardins de Ruisseau on 1 July.

 

Websites

HeHe

AND Festival

Futur en Seine festival

 

Partnerships and Support

La Région Ile-de-France

Cap Digital & Futur en Seine

Ars Longa

HeHe Asso

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KiiCS: Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science

The Arts Catalyst is a partner in KiiCS (Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science), a 3-year European Commission Seventh Framework funded project (February 2012 – January 2015) which aims to:

  • Develop and explore original and innovative processes, methods and tools to "incubate” interdisciplinary arts, science and technology projects. Artists and scientists are brought together to produce and work on new, innovative ideas thus providing evidence of the positive impact of art and science interaction on creativity and innovation.
  • Encourage young people to engage in scientific activities and raise their interest in science and technology. Young adults (14-17 years old) are invited to discover new ways to look at science with the support of creative and artistic interventions.
  • Explore business partnership and market potential for the most innovative ideas stemming from art and science interaction. 

The Arts Catalyst was one of seven city nodes across Europe. Our activities included workshops with scientists and artists and other 'incubation' activities in The Arts Catalyst's London Project Space (between February 2012 and July 2013), including MadLab's 'Lab Easy' residency and workshop series, a one-day workshop with scientists including Dr Ceri Brenner, artists including Torsten Lauschmann, Lindsay Seers and Adam Chodzco, and designer Anab Jain, artist Alistair McClymont's residency at the Central Laser Facility, and artists' research and development projects by Torsten Lauschmann, Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, and Andy Freeman.

 

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