East of Eden

East of Eden was an ambitious collaborative project between artist Lucy Stockton-Smith and The Arts Catalyst with Sandwich Technology School in Kent. The project began in October 2004 and was handed over to the school in July 2006.


For 18 months, Lucy Stockton-Smith worked with teachers and students to plan, design, build and fully utilise two geodesic ecology domes in the grounds of the school. Each dome now houses a microenvironment in which food crops are grown. The ‘Perma-pod’ is an environment which follows the principles of sustainable land use. It incorporates a wormery and is used to cultivate plants and wildlife which are ‘companions’, and beneficial to each other and the soil. The ‘Techno-pod’ aims to recreate contemporary farming methods, including the use of pesticides and intensive cultivation.

These contrasting environments have served as a platform from which artists have led a diverse range of workshops across the school curriculum, in science, art, design and technology, geography, music and history. The project has seized upon areas where science has overlapped into other subjects.

Students have been growing a huge variety of fruit and vegetables both inside and outside the domes. They conduct wildlife surveys, document the plant life and use it for inspiration for poetry and writing. Others are currently researching and designing a medieval garden.

Other artists have come in to work on the project and lead workshops, including Antony Hall and Marcus Ahlers. Artists’ workshops have included making solar ovens and solar puddles; a bio-acoustic project; and the building of a rain water harvesting system and an automatic irrigation system for the domes.

 

Partnership

The project was developed with Creative Partnerships Kent and is supported by Pfizer and Wight Salads.

 

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The Insect Project

Inspired by the ideas in Jan Fabre's A Consilience, Year 9 students (13 & 14 year olds) at Waveney School, Tonbridge, and Haggerston School, Hackney explored the fascinating world of the insect in a project led by artist Sally Hampson.

Over a four week period in January and February 2000, the students examined insects and other 'creepy crawlies' through science workshops, art projects led by artist Sally Hampson, movement workshops on insect behaviour with choreographer Karen Lowe, and a visit to the Natural History Museum in London.

At the museum, the students saw Fabre's video installation, attended seminars from entomologists Gaden Henderson and Linda Pitkin and studied extraordinary specimens from the museum's collections.
Their work culminated in exquisite insect models, striking costumes, self-choreographed movement pieces, project books and an eight minute video.

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Flying & Falling

As part of a research project for NESTA, The Arts Catalyst organised an in-depth project with a Year 3 class at St John the Baptist Primary School in Hoxton, East London.

Flying and Falling was a cross-disciplinary project (spanning art, science, dance, technology and history) that took the children on personal explorations of flight. Regular Arts Catalyst artists Sally Hampson and Tim Millar and dancer Morag Wightman led a series of overlapping workshops looking at the idea and actuality of flight from a number of different angles: human flight, animal flight, machine-enabled flight. The artist-led workshops provided a range of learning styles – visual-spatial, tactile, kinaesthetic, categorising, logical and verbal – contributing to holistic and individual learning experiences.

A class visit to the Natural History Museum’s Dinobird Exhibition and the Science Museum’s Aviation Gallery provided a starting point for the Flying & Falling project.

Performance artist Tim Millar led the children on a hands-on exploration of flight, in particular the technology, mechanics and forces involved in flight, guided by his own unique vision and thorough study of flight.

Aerial choreographic artist Morag Wightman, who usually dances suspended on ropes and has also danced in zero gravity, led workshops exploring the human body’s potential in relation to flight, resulting in the children’s creation of their own choreographed piece.

Textile artist Sally Hampson led workshops based on the exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Dinobirds, centred on studying and making fossils of the Archaeopteryx, the oldest known bird.

Supported by:
NESTA

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Zero Gravity

Projects for Years 6 and 7 to explore the theme of gravity and weightlessness through dance, science and art

Projects explored:

What is gravity?

How gravity affects us

How gravity has shaped who we are & how we move

What if there was no gravity: the idea of 'weightlessness'

Living in space/zero gravity

Pupils took part in art and dance/movement workshops imaginatively exploring concepts of weight and weightlessness, changing gravities, orientation, freefall and rotation, and a zero gravity seminar, which included videos of French choreographer Kitsou Dubois dancing in weightlessness and problem solving activities on living in space.

Led by various artists, including Tim Millar, Morag Wightman, Graham Hudson, Karen Lowe. Participating schools: William Patten School, Hackney, London; Gayhurst Primary School, Hackney, London; Otford Primary School, Otford, Kent; Langafel CE Primary School, Longfield, Kent; Betty Laywood Primary School, Hackney, London (adapted for a gifted & talented group of year 1&2); St Mary's Primary School, Islington, London; Grasmere Primary School, Hackney London (year 5). All Year 6 except where stated.

The Zero Gravity pilot project with Sebright School in Hackney culminated in the production of a CD-Rom 'Expedition Space' by Year 6 pupils on space and gravity. 

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Bower Birds in Schools

Primary school children constructing 'bowers' of bowerbirds and researching these fascinating birds.

Alongside her Bower Birds exhibition at London Zoo, a number of fascinating created 'bowers', love nests woven and furnished by small birds for the purpose of attracting mates, artist Sally Hampson ran education projects with Fairleigh House School, Pimlico, London, and Year 2 of Sevenoaks County Primary School, Kent, looking at the entrancing behaviour of the bower birds. The children played the parts of bower birds, building bowers from leaves, twigs and grass and finding "treasures" to decorate them.

Supported by:

COPUS

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The Lab

An interdisciplinary arts-science curriculum project

Teachers days, artists' training and workshops for students took place during the 2004/5 school year. The artists worked within three main themes, Transformation: Sound and Electronics, The Changing Nature of Materials and (Un)Natural Selection: biodiversity to biotechnology.

The artists:

Flow Motion (Anna Piva and Eddie George) worked with pupils to record and process sounds from their environment. They created loops and rhythms, used multi-track and mix. The final piece, interspersed with moments of melody, driving rhythm and rap, contained intensely personal voices and sounded astonishingly professional.

Kate Tierney worked with pupils using stills camera and video. Using reflection as a theme, the pupils began to manipulate images using Photoshop and Flash. The finished piece brought together still and video images and animated text and showed a budding awareness and obvious delight in abstract visual language. A presentation/installation which combined the visuals from Kate’s workshop with the sound from Flow Motion’s workshop was screened at the end of the three days.

Lucy Stockton-Smith’s workshops were designed to encourage the pupils to explore and identify the structure and function of organic materials. They made slides of organic materials which they projected large scale and used as a basis for drawings and prints. The workshops were a hotbed of fervent discussion and activities throughout the two days.

Sally Hampson’s workshops were also designed to explore and identify the structure of organisms. The pupils used close observation to create beautiful, finely detailed lifelike drawings and sculptures. The concept of the museum was also explored imaginatively.

Siobhan O’Neill’s workshops used drama and storytelling to explore the role that genetics and culture play in defining what makes us unique and what similarities we share. Over the two days each pupil created a self-portrait with sound, image and text that showed a growing expansive awareness of self.

Tony Hall’s workshops explored cymatics, patterns in liquids caused by sound. Pupils devised their own experiments with household liquids and foodstuffs to create choreographies of changing patterns, which they captured with drawings, microscopic images and short digital videos.

Marcus Ahlers worked with the pupils to build Solar Puddles and Solar Cells, and explored their practical applications. A Solar Puddle, consisting of a shallow pool of water in the earth contained by layers of plastic tarp and insulated from below with natural materials, pasteurises water. The Solar Cell, built from junk materials such as plastic bottles and tubing, utilizes natural dyes extracted from plants and converts solar energy into electrical energy.

Artist Luke Jerram held workshops for 11 year olds about to start in Year 7 at Castle Community School as part of a summer school. The children made hot air balloons and seacraft.

Partnership:

Castle Community School, Creative Partnerships Kent.

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Near Earth: A Week of Space Creation

A week of Space Creation at the Roundhouse, London, with artists and scientists took 100 young people on a journey that explored space through digital photography, animation, sound and music, drama and the performing arts. Part of SPACE SOON.

Workshops were led by Semiconductor, Luke Jerram, Kate Tierney, Tony Hall, Trevor Mathison, Mat Fox, Marcus Ahlers, Hilary Westlake and Morag Wightman, with the input of scientists Chris Welch, Kevin Fong and Mark Lythgoe.

Part of the international art and space event Space Soon.

Space Animation

Led by Semiconductor - animation artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhadt - participants took snapshots produced from satelites orbiting the earth and explored how to create time-lapse digital animation sequences.

Space Digital Film & Photography

Led by arist Luke Jerram, participants explored the tricks of film and photography and learned how experts manipulate images from space. 

Space Radio

Led by artists Kate Tierney and Antony Hall, participants worked to decode and transmit sound from space.

Space Music 1 - Recorded

Led by musician Trevor Mathison, participants experimented with panning, overlaps, fades, dissolves, delay and reverbs to record their journey to space.

Space Music 2 - Live

Led by Mat Fox. Participants joined an out-of-this world band and created some cosmic sounds and recorded their own live sessions.

Exploring Energy

Led by Marcus Ahlers, participants collected electricity from sunlight, built hydrogen fuel cells and became energy technologists of the future.

Space Drama

Led by theatre maker ilary Westlake. Participants explored outer space themes using iconic music and images and created a striking theatrical performance.

Space Movement

Led by dancer Morag Wightman. Participants worked suspended off the floor and explored aerial dance with Morag Wightman, one of the very few dancers to experience zero gravity first hand, to create a new piece exploring gravity.

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Ecoventions: Art & Ecology Projects

Artist Brandon Ballengé led a series of art and ecology fieldtrips and ecology study days, 'bug parties' and a public bioart laboratory in Yorkshire, London and Essex.

During 2007 and 2008, atist Brandon Ballengée led numerous public fieldtrips and biodiversity walks, projects with schools, workshops, study days and events, and ran a public bioart laboratory, as an integral part of his UK amphibians study and residencies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Gunpowder Park and SPACE London, organised by Arts Catalyst.

More than 1000 people participated in these many events and activities.

Brandon Ballengée at Gunpowder Park & SPACE, 2007

In Summer 2007, artist Brandon Ballengée led a series of art and ecology field trips and study days in the fields and marshland at Gunpowder Park, a new country park in the Lea Valley, on the boundary between London and Essex, exploring the present species of insects and amphibians. The projects were organised in collaboration with Arts Catalyst and SPACE, a gallery in East London. Urban ecologist Dusty Gedge, and wildlife photographer David Cottridge also joined Brandon to lead a study day of particular interest to artists wishing to develop their ecological-art practice and ecologists interested in working with artists to raise awareness of ecological issues.

The artist also set up installations, Love Motels for Insects, at Gunpowder Park and SPACE, sculptural works that use ultra-violet (black) light to study and photograph spiders, moths, beetles and other nocturnal creatures, and ran a popular 'Bug Party' at SPACE, a drawing workshop for all ages which incorporated music, graffiti art, and an urban bug hunt to discover the insect life of Hackney.

Ecoventions Art & Ecology Study Day, Sunday 15 July 2007

Ecoventions Fieldtrips, Sunday 22 July & Sunday 29 July 2007

Projects with Mulberry School for Girls and other London and Essex schools, 2007

Bug Party, Sunday 30 September 2007, SPACE, 129-131 Mare Street, London

Love Motel for Insects: Gunpowder Park Variation - Commissioned by Arts Catalyst & Gunpowder Park

Love Motel for Insects: Hackney Variation - Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst & SPACE

 

Brandon Ballengée at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2007-8

Brandon was resident artist at Yorkshire Sculpture Park during summer 2007 and the lived and worked at YSP in June and July 2008, collecting samples from the ponds and lakes in order to research rates of deformity and mutation in the park's resident frogs, toads and newts. During both summers, he led field trips and projects involving school groups and the public in collecting samples and conducting aquatic surveys. Throughout his stay in 2008, Brandon worked in a studio at Longside Gallery and set up a public bioart laboratory there, inviting visitors to drop in and talk to him about the project and to participate in his research.

Biodiversity walks, June & July 2007

Artist's talk, Saturday 14 June 2008

Open bioart laboratory, Weds-Sun, June & July 2008

Biodiversity walks every Saturday, June & July 2008

Bug Party, Saturday 16 August 2008

Love Motel for Insects: Yorkshire Sculpture Park Variation - Commissioned by Yorkshire Sculpture Park

 

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Interspecies London - Symposia, Workshops, Family Day

Interspecies uses artistic and participatory strategies to stimulate dialogue and debate, showing artists in contact with real animals and negotiating a new power relationship, questioning the way we view our interactions with animals during Darwin's anniversary year

Interspecies asks: Can artists work with animals as equals? If not, what is the current state of the human-animal relationship?

The exhibition and programme of related events centres around a durational work by Kira O'Reilly and draws together projects by Nicolas Primat and other artists who explore playful speculations on relations between species. Antony Hall Enki Experiment 4 encourages visitors to communicate with an electric fish on the same level.  Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson's Radio Animal* invites visitors to consider ‘unwelcome’ visitors but have for whatever reason found their way into what we may consider our own territories. Work includes: Nicolas Primat Portrait de Famille, The Making of Les Petits Hommes VersKira O'Reilly Falling Asleep With A Pig. Ruth Maclennan Harry and Three short films on Hawks and Men. Rachel Mayeri Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends. Beatriz da Costa PigeonBlog.

Talks & Symposia

Exhibition tour with curator Rob La Frenais, 6pm Friday 2 October 2009

Non-Human Primates symposium with Sarah-Jane Vick - primatologist and psychologist; Patrick Munck - artist, videographer and collaborator with Nicolas Primat; Rachel Mayeri - artist, chaired by Rob La Frenais, 7-9pm Friday 2 October 2009

Tour of ENKI Experiment 4 with artist Antony Hall, 2pm Saturday 3 october 2009

Animals, Humans and Power symposium with Giovanni Aloi - editor Antennae; Ruth Maclennan - artist; Helen Macdonald, author of Falcon; Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir; Karen Knorr - artist and photographer, chaired by Rob La Frenais, 3-6pm Saturday 3 October 2009

Workshops

Primate Cinema workshops on How to Act like an Animal with artist Rachel Mayeri, 1-3 and 3.30-5.30pm Saturday 3 October 2009

Family day

Becoming Bowerbirds workshop with artist Sally Hampson (based on an Arts Catalyst project at Zoological Society London), 2-5pm Sunday 4 October 2009

Interspecies Tales with poet and storyteller Shamin Azad, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Sunday 4 October 2009

Links to artists' websites

Kira O'Reilly, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri, Beatriz da Costa, Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson

Exhibition supported by

Arts Council England, Darwin 200, A Foundation

*Animal Radio is a Story Gallery, Lancaster commission funded by the Henry Moore Foundation.

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Universe Gallery

The Universe Gallery was a major collaborative project between The Arts Catalyst and Mulberry School for Girls

Antony Hall, Joanna Griffin & Kate Tierney worked with Mulberry School students to transform the bare school corridors into a multimedia interactive exhibition dealing with the physics of the early universe.

The project won second prize in the Rolls Royce Science Awards announced on 14th June 2007. The Universe Gallery was officially opened by Susan Greenfield on 29th June 2007.

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