Legacy Systems

Artist Carey Young's photographic series Legacy Systems explore the 'Space Race' as a pivotal era in 20th century achievement, capturing images of contemporary Russian sites containing technological artefacts never previously visited and photographed by an artist.

Atomic featured the work of artists James Acord, Mark Aerial Waller, and Carey Young, explored the economic and cultural legacy of atomic power, and was later exhibited at Kluze Fortress, Bovec, Slovenia and Yard Gallery, NOW, Nottingham, UK in 1999.

 

Legacy Systems, the photographic series she produced for the Atomic exhibition, 1998. The ‘space race’ represents an extreme point in the achievements of the twentieth century, not least as a zenith of faith in scientific progress. The Legacy Systems series traced this vision to the heart of contemporary Russia. Young – the first artist to visit the sites she photographed – portrayed these technological crown jewels as they lie stranded in the present, like the scatterings of an unruly time capsule. Removed from the familiar iconography of science fiction or Cold War paranoia, these little-seen giants of the 20th century imagination appear small and vulnerable, like the shock of celebrity glimpsed in the flesh. - See more at: http://www.artscatalyst.org/experiencelearning/detail/panning_for_atomic_gold/#sthash.tl49887J.dpuf
Legacy Systems, the photographic series she produced for the Atomic exhibition, 1998. The ‘space race’ represents an extreme point in the achievements of the twentieth century, not least as a zenith of faith in scientific progress. The Legacy Systems series traced this vision to the heart of contemporary Russia. Young – the first artist to visit the sites she photographed – portrayed these technological crown jewels as they lie stranded in the present, like the scatterings of an unruly time capsule. Removed from the familiar iconography of science fiction or Cold War paranoia, these little-seen giants of the 20th century imagination appear small and vulnerable, like the shock of celebrity glimpsed in the flesh. - See more at: http://www.artscatalyst.org/experiencelearning/detail/panning_for_atomic_gold/#sthash.tl49887J.dpuf
Legacy Systems, the photographic series she produced for the Atomic exhibition, 1998. The ‘space race’ represents an extreme point in the achievements of the twentieth century, not least as a zenith of faith in scientific progress. The Legacy Systems series traced this vision to the heart of contemporary Russia. Young – the first artist to visit the sites she photographed – portrayed these technological crown jewels as they lie stranded in the present, like the scatterings of an unruly time capsule. Removed from the familiar iconography of science fiction or Cold War paranoia, these little-seen giants of the 20th century imagination appear small and vulnerable, like the shock of celebrity glimpsed in the flesh. - See more at: http://www.artscatalyst.org/experiencelearning/detail/panning_for_atomic_gold/#sthash.tl49887J.dpuf
Legacy Systems, the photographic series she produced for the Atomic exhibition, 1998. The ‘space race’ represents an extreme point in the achievements of the twentieth century, not least as a zenith of faith in scientific progress. The Legacy Systems series traced this vision to the heart of contemporary Russia. Young – the first artist to visit the sites she photographed – portrayed these technological crown jewels as they lie stranded in the present, like the scatterings of an unruly time capsule. Removed from the familiar iconography of science fiction or Cold War paranoia, these little-seen giants of the 20th century imagination appear small and vulnerable, like the shock of celebrity glimpsed in the flesh. - See more at: http://www.artscatalyst.org/experiencelearning/detail/panning_for_atomic_gold/#sthash.tl49887J.dpuf
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Republic of the Moon, London

A major exhibition in which artists consider their visions for a Republic of the Moon.

It's four decades since humans walked on the Moon, but it now seems likely that we will return there this century – whether to mine for its minerals, as a ‘stepping stone’ to Mars, or simply to do scientific research. In a provocative pre-emptive action, a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon here on Earth, to re-examine our relationship with our planet’s only natural satellite.

After two decades working with space dreamers from the European Space Agency to anarchist autonomous astronauts, The Arts Catalyst transformed Bargehouse into an Earth-based embassy for a Republic of the Moon, filled with artists’ fantastical imaginings. Presenting international artists including Liliane Lijn, Leonid Tishkov, Katie Paterson, Agnes Meyer Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, the exhibition combined personal encounters, DIY space plans, imaginary expeditions and new myths for the next space age.

Marking the start of its twentieth anniversary year, The Arts Catalyst animated the exhibition with performances, workshops, music, talks, a pop-up moon shop by super/collider and playful protests against lunar exploitation.  A manifesto declaring the Moon a temporary autonomous zone, with responses from artists and scientists to novelist Tony White’s call to “Occupy the Moon!” was published in print and e-Book formats to coincide with the exhibition.

The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the Moon not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. The exhibition asks: Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.

Artists

Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave together fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, from past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by English bishop Francis Godwin in the 1630s, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist has built a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).  Moon Goose Analogue: Luna Bird Migration Facility the documentary film of this project was Ars Electronica award of distinction winner 2012.

Katie Paterson Second Moon and Earth–Moon–Earth.  Second Moon is Paterson's project tracking the cyclical journey of a small fragment of the Moon as it circles the Earth, via airfreight courier, on a man made commercial orbit.  Second Moon makes an anticlockwise journey; orbiting at approximately twice the speed of our Moon, it orbits Earth about 30 times in one year.  The journey could be followed on a free App. Earth–Moon–Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon) involved using a form of radio transmission whereby messages are sent in Morse code, from earth, reflected from the surface of the moon and then received back on earth. The moon reflects only part of the information back – some is absorbed in its shadows, ‘lost’ in its craters. For this work Paterson has translated Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata into Morse code and sent it to the moon via Earth-Moon-Earth (EME). Returning to earth fragmented by the moon's surface, it has been re-translated into a new score, the gaps and absences becoming intervals and rests. In the exhibition the moon–altered score is performed on a self-playing grand piano.

Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme explores the repeating cycle of the Moon’s phases, projecting the word 'SHE', an epithet for the Moon, onto the lunar surface so the letters slowly emerge and then disappear as it wanes. Since lunar projection is so challenging technically, Lijn has worked with an astronomer to present a real-time animation of the projection accompanied by a sound work and by quotations from sources including Pliny and the Talmud to illustrate the profound connections between the Moon and the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of intimate photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) were the Republic of the Moon’s artists in residence throughout the exhibition, creating work and running talks and workshops. Corke and Betzwieser’s graphic art and installation projects embody a child-like wonder at the universe. Employing a range of DIY production techniques, their partnership is rooted in absurdism and theatrical performance characterised by slogans and catchphrases. At the Bargehouse, they coordinated protests against the exploitation of the Moon and working with scientists to help us look afresh at our closest celestial neighbour.

Moon Vehicle (Joanna Griffin and ISRO scientist P Shreekumar) a presentation of a project devised by the students at Srishti School of Arts, Bangalore, India, with artist Joanna Griffin. Its focus was to reclaim a cultural connection with the Indian Chandrayaan space programme challenging the now-dominant scientific narrative of the Moon and reasserting other imaginaries inspired by Indian narratives of self-determination and agency.

Pop Rock Moon Shop designed by super/collider sold all manner of discerning lunar ephemera.

A Manifesto for the Republic of the Moon published to accompany the exhibition, edited by curator, Rob La Frenais and including Tony White's specially commissioned short fiction Occupy the Moon!, it is available in print, or for free download in .epub and .pdf formats.


Artists websites
Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Katie Paterson
Liliane Lijn
Leonid Tishkov
WE COLONISED THE MOON
super/collider
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.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese.  With thanks to Z33 co-producers of Moon Goose Analogue, shown In Space Odyssey 2.0.

Second Moon has been commissioned by Locus+ in partnership with Newcastle University and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.  Supported by Arts Council England, Adelaide Festival and Newcastle City Council

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

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Atomic

James Acord, Mark Waller, Carey Young explored the economic and cultural legacy of atomic power in a series of new commissions

The 'Atomic' exhibition confronted fears and assumptions about science and the nuclear industry. Featuring the work of the American 'nuclear sculptor' James Acord, the only private individual in the world licensed to handle radioactive materials. 'Atomic' dealt with the tricky issue of the idealism behind the 'white heat of technology' of the fifties and sixties and attempts to break down the wall of secrecy which has shielded the nuclear industry since the cold war. 
 
Acord had an ambition to break down the wall of secrecy which has shielded the nuclear industry since the cold war. His 15-year self-organised residency on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home of the atomic bomb, was a tragi-comic dance between Acord and the US Department of Energy as he sought permission to sculpt with the stuff of the nuclear age. Atomic leads us through his perilous journey to a site-specific display of his nuclear reliquaries - specially commissioned for his UK residency at Imperial College London.
 
As a counterpoint, artist Carey Young travelled to the former USSR to photograph the remnants of the nuclear-fuelled space race, the hero-worship of Gagarin and the ironic spectacle of the pride of Russia's technological achievements displayed among knock-down Western consumer goods.
 
Meanwhile, Mark Waller gained access to some of Britain's nuclear power stations to film a short thriller, 'Glow Boys', to be shown as an installation, about itinerant nuclear power workers who mysteriously develop superhuman qualities, featuring Mark E. Smith of The Fall. 
 
2 - 27 October 1998, Imperial College Gallery and Queen's Tower, Imperial College, London, UK
The exhibition at Imperial was accompanied by a round table discussion Art & the Atomic State. A schools programme led by James Acord supported the exhibition.
Art & the Atomic State
Tue 24 November 1998
James Acord, Carey Young, Mark Aerial Waller
The Gallery, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7.
A discussion event to accompany the Atomic exhibition.
Panelists: Artists James Acord, Carey Young, Mark Waller with Keith Franklin, BNFL, Mark Ramsay, Imperial College Radiation Safety Officer, and Helen Wallace, Greenpeace. Chaired by Nicola Triscott, Director of Arts Catalyst.

 

July - August 1999, Kluze Fortress, Bovec, Slovenia

The Atomic exhibition was shown at Kluze Fortress near Bovec. The fortress is at the head of the Soca Valley, near one of the main entry points to Slovenia from Italy and the exhibition has received a constant stream of visitors, mostly European tourists. James Acord gave his notable lecture-performance in the capital, Ljubljana.

 
2 Oct - 28 Nov 1999, Yard Gallery, NOW, Nottingham, UK

Atomic toured to the Yard Gallery at Wollaton Hall Museum in Nottingham as part of the NOW Festival, a festival of contemporary arts organised by the City Council. James Acord was artist-in-residence at the NOW Festival. Accompanying the exhibition was a schools programme, led by James Acord, who also gave a talk.

Atomic catalogue available from Cornerhouse.
Softback. Glows in the dark.
Essay by James Flint.
48 pages. 21 colour, 10 b&w illustrations.

 

Artists

James Acord was the only private individual in the world licensed to own and handle radioactive materials. He is likely to remain so since the authorities closed the loopholes after he achieved his license. His work was a story of a 20-year performance, a cat and mouse game with the nuclear regulatory authorities, in which he pursued his dream of converting highly radioactive waste into inert metal for use in art. Along the way, he created sculpture and events that probed the history of nuclear engineering, often incorporating radioactive materials. His astonishing story shines light on the secrecy and security with which society cloaks the nuclear industry.
 
Carey Young is a visual artist and teacher who incorporates a variety of media such as video, photography, performative events and installation into her art works, which investigate the increasing incorporation of the personal and public domains into the realm of the commercial world. Young's projects often center on notions of language, training and performance, and take an ambiguous political stance in order to create a web of complex questions for the viewer. Her 2013 exhibit Legal Fictions at Migros Museum in Zurich was described by Mousse Magazine as "law-based works [that] address the monolithic power of the legal system. The artist examines law as a conceptual and abstract space in which power, rights, and authority are played out through varying forms of performance and language. With the drafting assistance of legal advisers, her works often take the form of experimental but functional legal instruments such as contracts, and also employ media such as video, installation, and text."
Carey Young is a lecturer in fine art at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London.
 
Mark Aerial Waller is an artist working in video, sculpture, drawing and event based practices, based in London. He produces interdisciplinary, cinematic time travelogues that refute any predictable balance between our romance for the ancient past and our fetish for a streamlined future. Waller defies conventional screening formats, integrating sculptural objects and live performances for an experience of cinema defined in spatial and situational terms. He is also the founder of The Wayward Canon, a platform for event-based interventions in cinematic practices.
He studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art, London for BA(Hons) Fine Art - Film & Video (1990-1993) and was listed in September 2013's Art Forum in their Top Ten.
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MIR - Dreams of Space

New photographic, installation and video works by British and Russian artists reflecting the enduring legacy of the Russian quest for space.

The works were created in Star City, heart of the Russian space programme, accessng the museums and archives there, as well as zero gravity flights and the giant centrifuge used for cosmonaut training . 50 years after the launch of Sputnik, and at the start of a new millennium, with new aspirations to build the International Space Station and to reach Mars, it is timely that artists are reclaiming these territories, in a contemporary and very direct sense.

Using the TsF-18 centrifuge in Star City, Gec recorded the G-force exerted by the centrifuge on a celestial globe. His resulting installation Celestial Vault prompts a re-examination of our age old fascination with the celestial sky. The Otolith Group (Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar.) with Richard Couzins' film Otolith opens up forgotten histories of the Space Age, uncovering a legacy of female exploration. Carey Young's exquisite photographic series Legacy Systems illustrate the remnants of the nuclear fuelled space-race, and the lingering hero worship of Gagarin .

Vadim Fishkin's installation Kapelgraf Zero-G translates time-based data into drops of water, beautifully demonstrating the effects of Earth gravity and zero gravity on the droplets. In Yuri Leiderman's film Kefir Grains Are Going Onto The Flight records his breeding, selection and release of Kefir grains into zero gravity: a metaphor for Russian Cosmism's grandeur and disaster.

Evgeni Nesterov's photographic series documents Star City and the artists' journey there.

Accompanying the exhibition in the Resource Room, the MIR programme of documentary and artists films:
Gravitation Off! The Arts Catalyst
Centrifuge Ewen Chardronnet
The Briefing Ewen Chardronnet
Neutral Buoyancy Ewen Chardronnet
Too G Andrew Kotting
Zero Genie Ansuman Biswas & Jem Finer
Daedalo Marcelli Antunez Roca
Zero Mike Stubbs
Universal Substitute, Andrei & Julia Velikanov

Everything Normal, the equipment is working perfectly

Thursday 07 April 2005

As part of the MIR - Dreams of Space season, Stills and The Arts Catalyst presented a special screening event recalling the early days of the space race. Introduced by Rob La Frenais, curator of MIR and The Arts Catalyst, the programme opens with Attention Weightlessness, a Russian educational film, and continues with films by Acoustic Space Lab, Andrei Ujica, The Priviet Mission, Louise K Wilson, Andrew Kotting and Ansuman Biswas & Jem Finer

Commissioners

MIR was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium, a group of international organisations including Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol (Slo), V2_Institute for the Unstable Media (NI), Transmediale (D), Leonardo/OLATS (Fr/Us), SpaceArtONe (FR), MoM (Sp) and the Multimedia Complex for Actual Art

 

Artists

The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of London based Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. The Group have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials to explore the moving image, the archive, the sonic and the aural within the gallery context. The research based work has focused on the essay film as a form that seeks to look at conditions, events and histories in their most expanded form. This work acts as a resource that is documented on The Group’s website and supports The Otolith Group's public platform – The Otolith Collective.

Carey Young is a visual artist and teacher who incorporates a variety of media such as video, photography, performative events and installation into her art works, which investigate the increasing incorporation of the personal and public domains into the realm of the commercial world. Young's projects often center on notions of language, training and performance, and take an ambiguous political stance in order to create a web of complex questions for the viewer. Carey Young is a lecturer in fine art at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London.

Yuri Leiderman is an artist and writer from Odessa, Ukraine and graduated from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology in 1987. Leiderman now lives and works in Berlin. In 2003, Yuri Leiderman was part of The Arts Catalyst's event “MIR – Art in Variable Gravity”, held at The Cornerhouse in Manchester. Leiderman was part of the panel discussion “Unknown Territories” which confronted concepts and ideas about space exploration. Yuri was also part of the “MIR Campaign 2003” in Star City, Russia where he demonstrated his project on Kefir grains. The artist grew Kefir grains, “trained” them and then selected the most “healthy” samples to set off on a zero-gravity space flight. This project was filmed and entitled “Kefir Grains Are Going Onto The Flight”. This film was included in the 2005 film “Gravitation Off” and was screened at the “MIR – Dreams of Space” event. Yuri's project was also documented in the “Zero-Gravity: A Cultural Users Guide” publication.
Kodwo Eshun is a writer, theorist, filmmaker and co-founder of The Otolith Group with Anjalika Sagar, 2002. Their practice includes curating, publishing and production of artists work. Their research into aural and visual cultures is informed by the legacy and potential of the moving image and the archive. In 2012 The Otolith Group made the film ‘The Radiant’ exploring the aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and the partial meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
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Malamp UK

Bridging the gap between biology and art, artist Brandon Ballengée led a UK study into deformed amphibians, involving participation with scientists and the public

The ecological artist and researcher Brandon Ballengée combines a fascination with amphibians, fish and insects with techniques of fine art imaging. For the past ten years, Ballengée's primary field of study has been amphibian species declines and deformities.

Between 2006 and 2008, The Arts Catalyst and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with Gunpowder Park and SPACE London, commissioned Ballengée to undertake a study of deformities in UK toad populations. Collaborating with ecologist Richard Sunter and groups of the public (intrinsic to his practice), the artist focused on the study of a population of toads with high levels of deformities that he discovered near to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and he has worked over two years to study possible causes of these deformities. During 2007 and 2008, the artist led numerous public field-trips and workshops at the park, in 2008 setting up a public laboratory to continue the study. Nearly 800 people participated in these activities.

The work has culminated in 2009 in an exhibition, The Case of the Deviant Toad, a publication, Malamp: The Occurence of Deformities in Amphibians , a survey of Ballengee's study of amphibians across several countries and many years published by The Arts Catalyst and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and a scientific paper written by the artist and his collaborator Professor Stan Sessions and reported on BBC News.

Ecoventions: Art & Ecology Projects & Field Trips, 2007-8

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, artist 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

 

New York artist Brandon Ballengee creates multidisciplinary works from information generated by ecological field trips and laboratory research, exploring the boundaries between art, science and technology. Since 1996, Ballengee has collaborated with numerous scientists to conduct primary biological research and advanced imaging procedures. His works have been exhibited in New York, Beijing, Vienna, London and other cities.
In the exhibition, The Case of the Deviant Toad Ballengée presented variations of his sculptural series Styx which display cleared and stained specimens of deformed toads, each tiny animal presented in a precisely illuminated glass dish. In a gallery context, the specimens resembled translucent gems; enchanting, terrible and other-worldly. Framed watercolour prints of detailed vibrant specimens scans are reminiscent of x-rays, presenting large-scale images of fragile delicacy to invoke viewers' empathy.
 

External links

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

SPACE

YouTube Malamp UK

BBC News - Legless Frogs Mystery Solved

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The Case of the Deviant Toad

Ballengee's artistic practice is immersed in the study and exchange of ideas around biodiversity and ecological change, and particulary focuses on global species decline.

New York artist, activist and ecological researcher, Brandon Ballengee brings his startling high-resolution scanner photographs, video and preserved specimens of deformed toads to the Royal Institution for his first London solo exhibition: The Case of the Deviant Toad. The show, exploring issues of biodiversity and ecological change, presented the outcome of the artist's 'Ecoactions' and study of UK amphibians commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Ballengée's artistic practice warns of high incidences of amphibian deformity in response to environmental degradation through his creation of aesthetically rich images and intriguing installations. 

In the exhibition, Ballengée presents variations of his sculptural series Styx which display cleared and stained specimens of deformed toads, each tiny animal presented in a precisely illuminated glass dish. In a gallery context, the specimens resemble translucent gems; enchanting, terrible and other-worldly. Framed watercolour prints of detailed vibrant specimens scans are reminiscent of x-rays, presenting large-scale images of fragile delicacy to invoke viewers' empathy.

The free exhibition at the Royal Institution, The Case of the Deviant Toad, coincides with the launch of a new publication of Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians by Brandon Ballengée.

Publication

Malamp, The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians by Brandon Ballengée. A monograph, jointly published by The Arts Catalyst and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, brings together Ballengée’s UK research with findings from his global amphibian studies. It includes texts on his practice from arts, science and ecological perspectives, including a keynote essay by the renowned art critic and curator Lucy R Lippard. Additional contributors include Clare Lilley, Head Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Nicola Triscott, Director of The Arts Catalyst; Dr Stanley K Sessions, Professor of Biology, Hartwick College and Dr Kerry Kriger, Director of Save the Frogs. The publication is richly illustrated with extraordinary photographs, Ballengée’s drawings and other artworks.

Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians, Brandon Ballengée. Edited by Nicola Triscott/Miranda Pope. 72 page, softback. £15.95. ISBN 978-0-9534546-7-9

Full picture credits

Scanner photographs of cleared and stained multi-limbed Pacific Tree frogs from Aptos, California in created in scientific collaboration with Dr Stanley K Sessions. MALAMP titles in collaboration with the poet KuyDelair; Unique Digital chromogenic prints on watercolor paper, 2001-07. Courtesy the artist, New York City and Nowhere Gallery, Milan.

Detail: Cleared and stained deformed Pacific treefrog from Styx sculpture installed at the Biotechnique Exhibition, Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, San Francisco 2007. Malamp drawings, 1997-2000 of deformed Pacific Treefrogs from California. Polluted pond water, ash, and leftover coffee on artist-reconstituted paper. Photographs Foto22 courtesy of the artist and private collection, New York City.

Malamp drawings, 1997-2000 of deformed Pacific Treefrogs from California. Polluted pond water, ash, and leftover coffee on artist-reconstituted paper. Photographs Foto22 courtesy of the artist and private collection, New York City.

Artist

New York artist Brandon Ballengee creates multidisciplinary works from information generated by ecological field trips and laboratory research, exploring the boundaries between art, science and technology. Since 1996, Ballengee has collaborated with numerous scientists to conduct primary biological research and advanced imaging procedures. His works have been exhibited in New York, Beijing, Vienna, London and other cities.
 

External links

The International Year of BiodiversityMalamp UK Youtube Video, Antennae Issue 10, Green Museum, Eco Art Space, Archibald Arts, Wave Hill, Malamp

Partner websites

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Royal Institute of Great Britain

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Republic of the Moon, Liverpool

A touring exhibition of artists' works that reimagine the future of the Moon. Combining lunar narratives, fantasies and futures, Republic  of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

As the players in the new 21st century race for the Moon line up – the USA rejoining China, India and Russia and jostling with private corporations interested in exploiting the Moon’s resources – a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon: a ‘micronation’ for alternative visions of lunar life.

Republic of the Moon challenges utilitarian plans of lunar mines and military bases with artists’ imaginings and interventions. Combining beguiling fantasies, personal encounters, and playful appropriations of space habitats and scientific technologies, Republic of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

The last race to the Moon was driven by the political impulses of the Cold War, but shaped by extraordinary visions of space created by writers, film-makers, and artists, from Jules Verne, Lucien Rudaux, and Vasily Levshin, to HG Wells, Stanislav Lem and Stanley Kubrick. Can artists’ quixotic visions reconcile our romantic notions of the Moon with its colonised future, and help us to reimagine our relationship with our natural satellite in the new space age?

Curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT, Republic of the Moon includes major new commissions by Agnes Meyer-Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, and works by Leonid Tishkov, Andy Gracie, Liliane Lijn and Sharon Houkema.

The Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In this major new work  the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book ‘The Man in the Moone’, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist will build a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).

Luring us onto the surface of the Moon, WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) will create an immersive audience experience, Enter At Own Risk. For this new commission, the artists will create an intimate immersive installation in the form of a laboratory-like room in which a lone astronaut tenderly gardens a group of rocks, spraying them periodically with the smell of the Moon - a scent the artists have had synthesised based on reports from the Apollo crew.  The artists question what is real and what is imagined? the nature of the fake and the authentic object, the art of showmanship and illusion through this experimental performance piece, drawing on the entertainment iconography of early astronaut training.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon, by contrast, brings the Moon down to us. Tishkov tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

Transforming the everyday into the mesmerisingly beautiful, Sharon Houkema’s M3, created with characteristic simplicity with an overhead projector and a bucket of water, conjures a moon so tantalisingly close you can almost hold it.

Interweaving artistic metaphor and scientific rigour, Andy Gracie‘s DIY-astrobiology experiment Drosophila Titanus attempts to select and breed an organism – a new strain of fruit fly – that might survive on Titan, a moon of Saturn. The artist recreates the environmental and atmospheric conditions found on Titan using everyday materials such as vodka, smoke alarms and a bicycle pump. The first iteration of the experiment was performed by Gracie with Kuaishen Auson, Janine Fenton and Meredith Walsh, in Laboratory Life co-commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Lighthouse earlier this year.

In Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme, the artist reveals her concept to write on the Moon from the Earth using a laser beam. The word ‘SHE' is projected onto the surface of the moon, the meaning of this word being gradually transformed as the Moon moves through its phases, the work combines territorial appropriation, the technological extension of human consciousness and mythologies. moonmeme is a symbolic union of opposites and an homage to the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the lunar orb not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.

Occupy the Moon

To coincide with the opening of Republic of the Moon, Arts Catalyst has commissioned Tony White to write a short fiction Occupy the Moon.

Republic of the Moon: Artist's Breakfast

10.00am, Fri 16 December 2011
The Box, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool L1 4DQ
Breakfast with the artsits and curators of the exhibition Republic of the Moon

Artists Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Leonid Tishkov, Liliane Lijn and Andy Gracie discuss their work with The Arts Catalyst's curator Rob La Frenais and FACT's Mike Stubbs.

Crash - Moonlanding Workshop
WE COLONISED THE MOON, Hagen Betzwieser
Fri 16 December 2011 - Sun 26 February 2012
FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool L1 4DQ, UK

In conjunction with Republic of the Moon Exhibition, at FACT, Liverpool, WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) held a series of workshops for young people taking inspiration from unplanned disasters in space.

Artists

Agnes Meyer-Brandis is an artist based in Berlin, Germany and has been involved in two major Arts Catalyst initiatives. Meyer-Brandis’ artistic practice is influenced by scientific research focused on the exploration of new worlds. Meyer-Brandis is the founder and director of the Research Raft for Subterranean Reefology (FFUR) which has explored deep in the dark zone above the earth and ice. In March 2011, Meyer-Brandis attended The Arts Catalyst’s Kosmica evening to talk about art, science and weightlessness. At this event, the artist explained details about her project Cloud-Core-Scanner, which involved a microgravity-generating flying manoeuvre carried out with the DLR (German Aerospace Centre). In late 2011, Agnes Meyer-Brandis was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst for a project with the touring exhibition “Republic of the Moon” curated by Rob la Frenais. 
 
Liliane Lijn has worked across media – kinetic sculpture, film, performance and collage – to explore language, mythology and the relationship between light and matter. In 2005, Lijn was ACE NASA, Leonardo Network artist in residence at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2013, Lijn was one of the six artists short-listed to produce a sculpture for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Public commissions include Solar Beacon, a solar installation in collaboration with astrophysicist, John Vallerga on the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge and Light Pyramid, a beacon for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Milton Keynes.
 
'WE COLONISED THE MOON' consists of two artists, Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser. The artists combine different talents and interests that converge during collaborative projects. Sue Corke is a visual artist with an interest in the theatre of illustration, whilst Hagen Betzwieser’s art practice explores the gaps and connections between art and science with the aim of creating ‘New New Media’. 'WE COLONISED THE MOON' taps into contemporary unease about the future, whilst also offering an entertaining counterpart. In one project, the artists were able to synthesise the smell of the moon based on reports from the Apollo crew. As it is impossible to smell the moon directly, due to the vacuum in space, the reports are based on the scent inhaled when astronauts returned to their landing modules and the dust of the lunar surface reacted with oxygen and moisture for the first time.
 
Andy Gracie is a digital artist, creating technological systems designed to interact with natural living systems, incorporating ecosystems and biotechnology. At two Arts Catalyst events, Laboratory Life and Republic Of The Moon, Gracie presented his project “Drosophila Titanus”. The project developed an experimental breeding programme for fruit flies. The project aimed to genetically modify the new breed of fruit flies in order for them to survive on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, which is considered to host an environment rather similar to Earth. In order to carry out this experiment, Gracie recreated the atmospheric conditions found on Titan using everyday materials such as vodka, smoke alarms and a bicycle pump.
 

Supported by

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition and programme curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT. It has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese. Pollinaria, Italy

FACT, AV Festival 2012, Arts Council England

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Body Visual

An exhibition of new commissions by artists examining key areas of medical science

Helen Chadwick worked with scientists and staff at the Assisted Conception Unit of Kings College Hospital. Letizia Galli's work was informed by findings in the field of neurology, and Donald Rodney's deeply personal reflection on medical science stemmed from his own long-term treatment for sickle-cell anaemia.

Exhibition dates and venues

Barbican Centre, London, UK, 1996
Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria, 1996
St Barts Hospital out-patients department, London, UK, 1997
Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and the Montage Gallery, Derby, UK, 1997
NGBK space, Berlin, Germany, 1997
Storey Art Gallery, Lancaster, UK, 1998

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