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

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.


Mud walking June 2014

Interview at the workshop "Eating and Smoking the Flowers of the Thames" on Leigh maritime festival July 2014

YoHa website about this project

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Transformism, new commissions by two artists, Melanie Jackson and Revital Cohen. 

Both artists, through their distinctive practices, have made new works exploring their interests in how cultural archetypes and ideas interweave with science and technology to create new shapes, visual forms and structures.

As we develop the tools to manipulate and engineer new forms and systems of life, the exhibition considers our historical and contemporary entanglements with nature, technology and the economy, and how these relationships influence emergent forms in biological and synthetic matter, through new sculpture, installation and moving image works.

The Urpflanze (Part 2) is the second part of Melanie Jackson’s ongoing investigation into mutability and transformation that takes its lead from Goethe’s concept of an imaginary primal plant, the Urpflanze, that contained coiled up within it the potential to unfurl all possible future forms. Contemporary science likewise imagines the potential to grow or print any form we can imagine, by recasting physical, chemical and biological function as a substrate that can be programmed into being. Jackson’s work begins in the botanical garden and looks to the laboratory, from clay pits to the factory floor, from analogue to digital clay, from its own animated pixels to the interior of the screen in a series of moving image works and ceramic sculptures. She has collaborated with Esther Leslie on a text that has informed the work and a new publication, THE UR-PHENOMENON, that will be distributed as part of the exhibition.

In Kingyo Kingdom, Revital Cohen, whose projects often test the ethical parameters of biological design, explores the genus of fish that have been designed for aesthetic purposes, questioning the definitions used to indicate living creatures. Does one denominate a manipulated organism as an object, product, animal or pet? What consequences does this entail for our feelings and behaviours? Cohen’s interest in the cultural perceptions and aesthetics of animal-as-product took her to Japan where exotic goldfish have been developed over centuries of meticulous cultivation; breeding out dorsal fins and sculpting kimono-like Ranchu fish tails. Kingyo Kingdom explores the unique culture of breeders, collectors and connoisseurs with footage from the Japanese national goldfish competition, questioning the design and commodification of this species.

The exhibition's Reading Room includes:

  • Paola Antonelli, Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects
  • Jane Bennet, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
  • Diana H. Coole, Smantha Frost, NewMaterialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics
  • Michel Houellebecq, Atomised
  • Esther Leslie, Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry
  • Daniel Miller, Materiality (Politics, History, and Culture)
  • William Myers, Bio Design: Nature Science and Creativity
  • Harry Pearson, Racing Pigs and Giant Marrows: Travels around the north country fairs
  • Kazuya Takaoka, Kingyo: The Artistry of Japanese Goldfish


An illustrated exhibition guide with an essay by Isobel Harbison will be available in print and as a free eBook download.


26 January, Opening and Crafting Life: Materiality, Science and Technology symposium

Read reviews

Nicola Triscott blog
AnimalNewyork blog

Biographical information

Melanie Jackson
Melanie Jackson inhabits different tropes of art making to interrogate possibilities of representation against the engaged practices of the world. She is interested in ways in which thought and affect is conducted through the material, and much of her work has explored this against the context of work, production and the flow of international capital.  She is currently investigating the relationships between nature and technology through a series of experiments with fauna and flora, and the technologies available to her. Melanie is a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, her solo exhibitions include The Urpflanze (Part 1), The Drawing Room, London (2010), Road Angel, Arnolfini, Bristol (2007), Made In China, Matt’s Gallery, London (2005).  She won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2007.

Revital Cohen
Revital Cohen is an artist and designer who develops critical objects and provocative scenarios exploring the juxtaposition of the natural with the artificial. Her work spans across various mediums and includes collaborations with scientists, bioethicists, animal breeders and physicians. Since establishing her studio in 2008, she has been exhibiting and lecturing internationally within varied contexts and locations - from scientific and academic conferences to art galleries and design fairs. She is the current winner of the Science Museum’s Emerging Artist Commission.

Supported by

Melanie Jackson's commission has been supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and the Slade School of Fine Art and Revital Cohen’s by S-Air Japan. Transformism is funded by Arts Council England.

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Artist Chris Oakley's short film (2008) explored the intricacies and ambivalent legacy of nuclear power.

Oakley's Half-Life looks at the histories of Harwell, birthplace of the UK nuclear industry, and the development of fusion energy technology at the Culham facility in Oxfordshire. Produced with the co-operation of both these organisations, the film examines nuclear science research through a historical and cultural filter. Drawing on archive footage of the sites, alongside contemporary materials, the work takes structural clues from nuclear physics, exploring the heritage of nuclear energy from the roots of the technology that drove the industrial revolution.

The relationship between nature, and our reliance on mineral energy resources, and the portrayal of the often-mundane realities of nuclear research seek to ‘normalise’ emotionally driven debates around the subject. With the recent widespread acceptance of the reality of climate change driven by carbon dioxide emissions, the work explores the realities and myths surrounding the nuclear sciences.' Half-Life featured in Nuclear: Art and Radioactivity, 2008 and at the artist panel discussion, Nuclear Culture on Film, 28 April, 2013 at Arts Catalyst, London.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and SCAN

A trailer of Half-Life can be seen here

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Nuclear Culture Project

A curatorial research project led by Ele Carpenter, associate curator at Arts Catalyst, in partnership with Goldsmiths College, University of London

The Nuclear Culture Project is a curatorial exploration of nuclear culture, which began with considering the conceptual and cultural challenges of dismantling nuclear submarines in the UK, inviting artists to consider the aesthetic, conceptual, ethical and cultural concerns of nuclear submarines in conjunction with experts in the field. The project is bringing together scientists, engineers and community activists with artists and ethicists to develop new opportunities for creative practice investigating nuclear culture. Specific areas of enquiry include: the invisibility of the nuclear economy, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown, geological waste storage, the Anthropocene, and nuclear humanities.


The project involves artists’ field trips, commissioning new work and curating exhibitions, film screenings and interdisciplinary symposia, and public events and talks. Three groups of artists are developing new work in response to the culture of submarines, decay rates, and the architectures of decision-making: Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead; Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson; and Lise Autogena.

Key areas of the research are discussed in a report on the Nuclear Culture Symposium co-authored by Ele Carpenter & Jantine Schroeder, Antwerp Uni. 2013, available here

Nuclear Culture website

The Nuclear Culture website publishes research articles, reviews, interviews and information about creative research, field trips and art practice.

Public Exhibitions & Events

Actinium, exhibition & forum, S-AIR, OYOYO Sapporo, Japan, July 2014. Supported by the Daiwa Foundation
Panning for Atomic Gold, symposium, Arts Catalyst, 17 May 2014
Nuclear Culture, workshop and film screenings, Arts Catalyst, April 2013

Artists Field Trips

  • Tomari Nuclear Power Plant & Horonobe Underground Research Lab, Hokkaido, Japan, 2014
  • S-AIR Sapporo, Aichi Triennale, Japan, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • LLW Ltd, Cumbria, UK, Jon Thomson, Alison Craighead, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • Cove Park Residency, Rosneath Peninsula, Scotland, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • HMS Courageous, Devonport Plymouth, UK. Nick Crowe, Ian Rawlinson, Susan Schuppli, Lucia Garavaglia, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • MoDeRN Conference, EU Commission, Luxembourg, Nick Crowe, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • Aldermaston Womens’ Peace Camp, UK, Lise Autogena, Ele Carpenter, 2012

Nuclear Culture Research Group

The Nuclear Culture Research Group is a an interdisciplinary group of artists, curators and scholars in the nuclear arts and humanities convened by Goldsmiths College, University of London, in partnership with Arts Catalyst.

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Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone

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

'Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone', was an art and citizen science collective inquiry that has uncovered and highlighted local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. The project was conceived by artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman, Fran Gallardo, and arts organisation Arts Catalyst, and developed in partnership with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.

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.

The project resulted in a ublic art commission and 'anti-monument' Graveyard of Lost Species, a series of citizen science workshops and public 'tastings' of the thames and a recipe book (see below).

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

Projects included:

Graveyard of Lost Species by YoHa and Critical Art Ensemble

Talking Dirty by Fran Gallardo

Citizen Science workshops by Andy Freeman

Films were produced as a series of collaborative video documentations by James Ravinet, Jim Smith, Zander Mavor and Alistair Oldham:

Epitaphs of the Common Mud





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SEFT-1 Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe Modern Ruins 1:220

The spectacular SEFT-1 is a road and rail vehicle created by Mexican artists and brothers Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene, known together as Los Ferronautas.

Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene (Los Ferronautas) built their striking silver road-rail SEFT-1 vehicle to explore the abandoned passenger railways of Mexico and Ecuador, capturing their journeys in videos, photographs and collected objects.

In their first London exhibition, SEFT-1 Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe: Modern Ruins 1:220, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and presented in partnership with Furtherfield Gallery, in the heart of Finsbury Park, the artists explore how the ideology of progress is imprinted onto historic landscapes and reflect on the two poles of the social experience of technology - use and obsolescence.

Between 2010 and 2012, the artists travelled across Mexico and Ecuador in the SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada or Manned Railway Exploration Probe). In a transdisciplinary art project, they set out to explore disused railways as a starting point for reflection and research, recording the landscapes and infrastructure, stories and testimonials around and between cities. Interviewing people they met, often from communities isolated by Mexico’s passenger railway closures, they shared their findings online,, where audiences could track the probe’s trajectory, view maps and images and listen to interviews.

The artists’ journeys led them to the notion of modern ruins: places and systems left behind quite recently, not because they weren’t functional, but for a range of political and economical reasons. In the second half of the 19th century, the Mexican government partnered with British companies to built the railway line that would connect Mexico City with the Atlantic Ocean – and beyond to Europe. This iconic railway infrastructure now lies in ruins, much of it abandoned due to the privatisation of the railway system in 1995, when many passenger trains were withdrawn, lines cut off and communities isolated.

For this new exhibition, the artists are inviting British expert model railway constructors to collaborate by creating scale reproductions of specific Mexican railway ruins, originally built by British companies, exactly as they are now. One gallery becomes a space for the process of model ruin construction. The room’s walls will show the pictures, documents, plans and other materials used as reference for the meticulously elaborated ruin construction. With this action a dystopian time tunnel is created.

The SEFT-1 exploration probe will be on display next to the gallery 20–22 June, 11–13 July, 18–20 July and 25–27 July 2014.

The Artists

Ivan Puig (born 1977, Guadalajara, MX) has exhibited internationally in Mexico, Germany, Canada, Brazil and the United States. He is the recipient of a number of awards and residencies including the BBVA Bancomer Foundation Grant for the SEFT-1 project (2010-2011) and the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO) Grant in 2010. Puig, a member of the collective TRiodO (with Marcela Armas and Gilberto Esparza), lives and works in Mexico City.

Andrés Padilla Domene (born 1986 in Guadalajara, MX) has exhibited work in various contexts including ISEA 2012 (Albuquerque, New Mexico), The National Museum of Art MUNAL (Mexico City, 2011), 04 Transitio_MX (Mexico, 2011), and EFRC, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (Qutio, Ecuador, 2012). His video work as director and producer with Camper Media includes documentaries, fiction films and TV shows.


Presented in partnership with Furtherfield Gallery

With support from Embassy of Mexico, Arts Council England, Central de Maquetas

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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+)



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:

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'Breaking Down Barriers: Law, Technoscience and Society'

The AHRC Network ‘Technoscience, Law and Society: Interrogating the Nexus’ in partnership with Arts Catalyst

The AHRC Network on ‘Technoscience, Law and Society’ held its inaugural event on the 6 June 2013, organised jointly with Arts Catalyst, providing an opportunity to explore some of the key aspects of the relationships between law, science and society that the Network seeks to interrogate. This discursive event was organised around displays of and introductions to the work of critical artists Carey Young and the Critical Art Ensemble, and academic presentations pertaining to debates in law and science.


• Introduction to the AHRC Network by Dr. Emilie Cloatre and Dr. Martyn Pickersgill

• Presentations by Prof. Alain Pottage and Prof. Robert Dingwall

• Presentation by Graham Harwood, YoHa

• Presentation of the work of critical artists Carey Young and Critical Art Ensemble by Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst)

• Interactive explorations of the key theoretical, methodological and practical issues that arise when exploring the relationships between science, technology and legal processes




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Mouth of the Thames

Exploratory work around the logics of the Thames Estuary, what gets built and what this might mean for those who live there in a joint project by YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble and Arts Catalyst.

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 beyond the flows of creeks, the largest container port in the UK is quietly being built on the site of an old oil refinery at Coryton, Essex, dredging a channel 100km east out to sea. London needs a new airport, a new Thames barrier, wind farms. The estuary is changing beyond the flows of creeks, the largest container port in the UK is quietly being built on the site of an old oil refinery at Coryton, Essex, dredging a channel 100km east out to sea. London needs a new airport, a new Thames barrier, wind farms. 

Initial workshop and talk with Steve Kurtz from Critical Art Ensemble talking about how CAE approach their work.

Steve Kurtz & Critical Art Ensemble

Steve Kurtz is a founding member of Critical Art Ensemble, a collective of tactical media practitioners of various specializations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance. Formed in 1987, Critical Art Ensemble's focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism. The group has exhibited and performed at diverse venues internationally, ranging from the street, to the museum, to the internet. Museum exhibitions include the Whitney Museum and The New Museum in NYC; The Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C.; The ICA, London; The MCA, Chicago; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and The London Museum of Natural History. The collective has written 6 books.


Local artists Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji (YoHa English translation 'aftermath') have lived and worked together since 1994.   YoHa's graphic vision, technical tinkering, has powered several celebrated collaborations establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical arts projects. Harwood and Yokokoji's co founded the artists group Mongrel (1996-2007)and established the MediaShed a free-media lab (2005-2008). In 2008 theyjoined Richard Wright to produce Tantalum Memorial shown in 9 countries and15 cities over 4 years. In 2010 YoHa produced Coal Fired Computers before embarking on a series of works about the lived logics of database machinery including Invisible Airs in 2011 and Endless War 2012.



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Ice Diamond and Whistler

New commissions by Torsten Lauschmann for Ice Lab exhibition

Alongside five imaginative designs for Antarctic research stations, Arts Catalyst and British Council have commissioned artist Torsten Lauschmann to make new work for Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica an exhibition that will illustrate how innovative contemporary architecture is enabling scientists to live and work in one of the most extreme environments on our planet.

Torsten Lauschmann's artworks will envelope audiences in a bewitching immersive environment, playfully offering visitors sounds, sights and sensations evoking the disorientating Antarctic landscape. Taking as his inspiration the phenomena of 'whistlers', very low frequency electromagnetic waves recorded in Antarctica, Lauschmann introduces the startling sounds of the frozen continent into the gallery. He extends the experiential atmosphere with a simple yet mesmerising audiovisual journey, Ice Diamond, splicing footage from the British Atlantic Survey research ship James Clark Ross, a vessel that can steam at a steady two knots through sea ice one metre thick, to create a kaleidoscopic vision which he describes as eluding to “the incredible human ingenuity and difficulties in dealing with in this extreme environment.”

Born in Bad Soden, 1970 Lauschmann now lives and works in Glasgow. His idiosyncratic practice using photography, video, sound, drawing, performance and installation is both eccentric and eclectic. Lauschmann merrily experiments with the mathematical, technological and scientific fusing them with comic, fictional, sometimes absurd ideas revealing his boundless curiosity about the World and beyond. From his World Jump Day (2005) participatory performance leap proposed to shift the Earth's orbit, to the intergalactic visions of Father's Monocle and Coy Lover (2012), his art-making explores the real and illusory.

Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica is an international touring exhibition featuring work by Hugh Broughton Architects, bof Architekten, David Garcia, Space Group, International Polar Foundation. It will give visitors a unique view of the inspiration, ingenuity and creativity behind architecture in the coldest, windiest, driest and most isolated place on earth. It opens at Architecture and Design Scotland, The Lighthouse in Glasgow from 26 July-2 October 2013 before touring to Manchester Museum of Science & Industry (21 October-6 January 2014) as part of the Manchester Science Festival.


There will be an associated events programme of talks, workshops and film screenings at both The Lighthouse and at MOSI (TBC)


Accompanying the exhibition will be a publication with essays written by Dr David Walton (British Antarctic Survey and author of the recent Antarctica: Global Science from a Frozen Continent) and Sam Jab (co-founder of FAT architects, lecturer and writer).

Partners and links

Commissioned and organised by the British Council and curated by Arts Catalyst

Torsten Lauschmann

The Lighthouse

Architecture and Design Scotland

Museum of Science and Industry

We Made That

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