Why make it simple, when you can make it complex?

Performance shot: Robert Whitman, Side Effects; Arts Catalyst, 2016; Photo: Christopher Fernandez

This evening of experimental actions and installations has arisen from a month long collaboration between a group of students from MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, UAL, and recent MA graduates from Goldsmiths and UCA Farnham.

The group came together as performers in Robert Whitman's new commission, Side Effects, produced as part of Arts Catalyst's recent season 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering Revisited 1966/2016. 

In collaboration with The Performance Studio, Arts Catalyst has since hosted weekly workshops for the group to develop a practical and historical perspective on performance practice and transdisciplinary working. The resulting performative installation involves individual works by artists Monika Dorniak, Verena Hermann, Virginie Serneels, Mary Simmons and Nicolas Strappini, collectively mediated by the group.

This programme is supported by Arts Council England, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation, PACE, Afterall, Central Saint Martins, UAL, King’s Cross and Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Westminster, London: The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) with the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC) and The Performance Studio. 

Scroll down for more information about the artists and their work.

Monika Dorniak
The Metacognitive Tool, 2016

The Metacognitive Tool comprises a video, participatory workstation and instruction book, which allows the audience to adapt to the role of a performer for the duration of the event. 'Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, but Not Simpler.' In this quote Einstein addresses the dendritic interplay of accuracy and creativity in the sciences. This interactive relationship is present at the debates about the shifting scientific definitions of mind and body. Our brains' neural plasticity responds to environmental developments and the implant of technology in our life creates synthetic dependancy. Simultaneously we are learning more about the organic control over our bodies. In Dr. Daniel Siegel's Hand Model of the Brain the psychiatrist suggests a possibility to cope with emotional stress by explaining its structure with a hand model; an action formally called Metacognition. The installation The Metacognitive Tool adapts Siegel's model to the gallery context and transforms the metacognitive theory in a collective game that fuses art and science interactively.  More information about the artist can be found via www.monikadorniak.com  

Mary Simmons
Less than or equal to ≤

This experimental interactive artwork aims to use domestic objects, assemblages and technology in unusual ways to stimulate precognitive affect whilst challenging intellectual social conventions about what art is, and how and where it ‘should’ be displayed.
About the artist:
My art practice uses critical theory and scientific research to investigate the complexities of the human condition whilst knowledge gained informs my choice and use of materials and technology in my work. Our increasingly busy lives mean we have become mentally fragmented. We can lose the ability to have ‘real’ perception and become automatons in our own lives. My artwork subverts our expectations about the ‘everyday’ to stimulate precognitive emotions to reawaken and free the assuming mind.

Virginie Serneels
9 Evenings & Side Effects reload

A Series of short pieces reinterpreting moments from the 9 Evenings and Side Effects performances.
About the artist:
Virginie Serneels graduated with a first class honors bachelor’s degree in Theatre Lighting Design from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2015 and is currently a postgraduate student at Central Saint Martins. Her artistic practice includes performance, video mapping, theatre lighting & video design, installation and photography. She has a particular interest in feminist issues and politically minded art in general. She has worked as assistant video designer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, English Nation Opera in London and Opéra de la Monnaie in Brussels. Her work experience includes interning at Hotel Pro Forma, United Visual Artists, Adrien M / Claire B and AntiVJ. She started her career as a rock’n’roll lighting designer freelancing for various clubs and toured around Europe with international bands.

Nicolas Strappini

This work references Cage’s contribution to the original 9 Evenings (1966) event through the use of static and the sounds of it being discharged using a machine. John Cage applied the principle of randomness by picking up radio signals – my Lichtenberg figure patterns seen in this piece are ‘chaotic’. In radio reception, noise is the superposition of white noise and other disturbing influences. These noises are often referred to as static. I am playing with two meanings of the word static – the noun being the way Cage intended, the adjective being the way I intend it to be used in reference to my piece. I also wanted to produce a live-feed performance, referencing Whitman’s Side Effects (2016). 

Verena Hermann
Performing the Blockchain

A radical performance of block chain technology by means of analogue techniques in five blocks each lasting five minutes.
About the artist:
I am a media artist & writer. My projects are imperfect experiments, assembling reflections of lived experience and excursions into metaphysics and science. I’m utilizing all kinds of methods, tools and materials, which enables authentic response to the actual state of affairs. This has led to an eclectic output of video, sound and sculptural/installation works. Currently I’m dabbling in performance art and enquire about the [digital] technological and how it molds socio-economic structures.