Arts Catalyst Season of Films at Carroll/Fletcher Onscreen

A season of three films marking the 20th anniversary of Arts Catalyst. Carroll / Fletcher Onscreen is an online cinema showing dynamic curated weekly screenings of experimental and artists' film.


Chris Oakley Half-life
Tue 10 March – Mon 16 March
15:00min, HD Video, 2009
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. 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. Half-life was commissioned by Arts Catalyst and SCAN.

The Otolith Group and Richard Couzins Otolith I
Tue 17 March – Mon 23 March
23:16min, SD Video, 2003
Otolith I is set in the 22nd Century, when the human race is no longer able to survive on earth and is obliged to live in the agravic conditions of the International Space Station. Dr. Usha Adebaran Sagar, the future descendent of Otolith Group member Anjalika Sagar, is an exo-anthropologist researching life on an earth that she can experience only through media archives. Otolith 1 was the Otolith Group's first project. It was commissioned by Arts Catalyst and the M.I.R. Consortium.

Agnes Meyer-Brandis The Moon Goose Colony
Tue 24 March – Thu 2 April
20:56min, HD Video, 2011/12
In her documentary film The Moon Goose Colony, artist Agnes Meyer-Brandis develops an ongoing narrative based on the book 'The Man in the Moone' written by English bishop Francis Godwin in 1638, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by moon geese. Meyer-Brandis actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, taking them on expeditions and housing them in a Moon analogue habitat. The Moon Goose Colony is a Pollinaria project and formed part of The Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility commissioned by Arts Catalyst and FACT.

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Test Sites: Assembly

Arts Catalyst presents Test Sites: Assembly, an exhibition and co-inquiry asking how we can respond collectively to social and environmental challenges.

We invite people from art, science, academia, activism and various communities to come together to explore methodologies for developing cross-disciplinary research and building community resilience. In doing so, we introduce and open up Test Sites, Arts Catalyst’s ongoing programme of environmental co-inquiries around the UK. 
The major challenges facing us today intertwine environmental, social, political and psychological factors. Challenges such as flooding, species loss, and pollution, and complex health issues like diabetes, mental illness and cancer, interweave large-scale global forces with the small-scale and the personal, and are inextricable from the social and political systems in which they unfold. Realising that empirical science on its own is not enough faced with these complex systems, many scientists and thinkers are calling for transdisciplinary approaches and for fresh thinking about conducting science and research in new ways. Critically, we need to involve those whose lives are directly affected – not just make assumptions about the causes, the impact, and what might be the best paths towards resistance and resilience. 
The term Assembly indicates the intention of our programme, which is to gather tactics, practices and theory to create “commoning tools”, creating social and cooperative alternatives for co-producing knowledge and taking control. Through workshops, study days, field trips, reading groups, talks and discussions, we will examine, practice and discuss possible approaches to ecology and society that centre on collaboration and co-creating knowledge, highlighting radical and progressive practices from the UK and internationally. 
An exhibition of works-in-progress by Test Sites artists Ruth Levene and Neal White will be shown at Arts Catalyst’s Centre, drawing on their research in the Calder Valley and Poole Harbour. Ruth Levene presents Working Waters, an installation of maps and models created from her investigations into the flows and stewardship of water in the Calder Valley. Neal White meanwhile presents Brownsea: An Imaginary Island (An Island of the Imaginary), comprising a vivarium containing fauna and flora of an island in Poole Harbour alongside an archive of local knowledge, interrupted by industrial frequencies.
The programme will introduce and focus on issues, concepts and methodologies in a format that blurs the divides between expert and non-expert, those who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We will explore a set of approaches that include active citizenship, planetary commoning practices, co-inquiry processes, and collective governance and policy making, as well as making tactical use of concepts such as the negative commons. These terms are defined further down.
Confirmed programme participants include architect Godofredo Pereira, complexity scientist Sylvia Nagl, social anthropologist Megan Clinch, public science expert Tom Wakeford, interactive theatre company Coney, artist Tom James, artist Luigi Coppola, theorist and editor Shela Sheikh, artist Åsa Sonjasdotter, sustainability expert Rokiah Yaman and artists Ruth Levene and Neal White.
Active Citizenship - a philosophy that people have a responsibility to their society and the environment that encourages participation in local communities and democracy at all levels. We extend this to participation in research and environmental monitoring.
Planetary Commoning Practices - tactical actions towards asserting, enabling, connecting and networking local commoning practices relating to the use or stewardship of common-pool resources within transnational and extraterritorial spaces and natural resource domains, such as the atmosphere, biodiversity, the Arctic, the electromagnetic spectrum, outer space, the lithosphere, and the oceans (Triscott, 2017).
Co-inquiry Processes - Arts Catalyst has been developing a curatorial model of critical and transdisciplinary co-inquiry. The key principles of our model include focusing the inquiry on a shared “matter of concern”, the intentional co-production of knowledge - including artistic, scientific and situated - that is context-specific, and fostering an ecology practices that is sensitive to how particular practices relate to and impact on other practices.
Collective Governance and Policy Making - aimed at shifting the balance of power away from the regimes of commerce and strategic interests that seek to enclose the commons, and instead towards networked grassroots movements working for increased equity and environmental justice.
Negative Commons - the waste of capitalism’s operation, such as debt, epidemics, industrial wastes, and pollution including radiation, which becomes the burden of society once it is of no further value to commerce (Kohso, 2012).
Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern relating to environmental issues, such as flooding, pollution, and species loss, and their impact on local culture and the health of ecosystems and communities. Initially taking place in three sites around the UK, we are inviting local people and groups to be part of art-centred co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists and other experts. Test Sites represents a significant step in Arts Catalyst’s curatorial model of transdisciplinary co-inquiry
Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. Curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, she is currently exploring water systems, farming and market driven developments of the countryside. Recent projects have included a research residency in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, engaging with engineers about urban water systems; and A Field of Wheat with Anne-Marie Culhane, a 42-person strong collective and a Lincolnshire farmer, growing a 22-acre field of wheat. She is currently completing a collaborative work alongside Ian Nesbitt entitled Precarious Landscapes commissioned by In Certain Places. Recent exhibitions include Everything Flows at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Formations, curated by Site Gallery as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival, Castleton. Ruth was known by her nickname Bob Levene until 2015. 
For over 20 years, Neal White's work has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of many collaborative endeavours – he has been developing projects, research and artworks, publications, archives, fieldworks, critical excursions as bus tours and exhibitions with academics, architects and activists. His current work explores situated practices and knowledge - drawing together environmental and ecological matters of concern with marine biologists, ecologists, coders, architects and volunteers in Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, Dorset for Test Sites. Neal White is a Professor at University of Westminster, where he also directs the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), a UK leader in research in art, design and media.
Test Sites is supported by Wellcome Trust, University of Westminster, Bournemouth University, Canal and River Trust, and Arts Council England.
Tuesday 27 March, 6:30 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Tuesday 10 April, 4 – 7pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
As part of Test Sites: Assembly, artist Kat Austen will lead a workshop on microplastics exploring both the different plastic types and the different plastic identification techniques.
Microplastics have been gaining more and more public attention over the last few years. These small plastic particles have been shown to pervade the marine environment, and have been found to affect the wellbeing – and possibly even the behaviour – of marine species, and maybe even those that consume them. Much microplastic in the environment comes from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic pollution. In this workshop we will explore different types of plastics, where they are commonly found, and methods of identifying them. We’ll also explore what it would mean to live without plastic. 
As an artist Kat deals with themes of environment, social justice, communities and human relations to digital culture. She creates experiences, stories and playful installations, mixing fact and fiction closely, so troublesome. Kat holds a PhD in chemistry from UCL and worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in Nature, The Ecologist and The Guardian, and she consults widely on the intersection of science, art and technology, including as a Futureshaper for Forum for the Future, for the European Commission and UK water regulator Ofwat.
Thursday 12 April, 4 – 6pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
Thursday 19 April, 4 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
Friday 20 April, 4 – 8pm
R-Urban, Poplar
Free, booking essential
Monday 23 April, time TBC
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
Wednesday 25 April, 2 – 6pm
Calthorpe Project, King’s Cross
Free, booking essential
Saturday 28 April, 10am – 6pm
University of Westminster, Regent Street
£5, booking essential
Tuesday 1 May, 6 - 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
Tuesday 8 May, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£3, booking essential
As part of Test Sites: Assembly, activist and researcher pantxo ramas (aka Francesco Salvini) is joined by researcher Nicholas Beuret for a conversation on the subject of caring ecologies and infrastructures.
Taking the radical practice of institutional destruction and reinvention realised within the Trieste psychiatric asylum (Italy) as a starting point, pantxo ramas will consider various forms of commoning infrastructures in a process of “recovery” as emancipation. 
Nicholas Beuret will give an introduction to the affects and practices of chemopolitics and toxic entanglements, a research interest that stemmed from a routine blood screening test that for Beuret, brought about a personal revelation: the quiet horror of toxicity and the saturation of everyday life within the endless loops of the uncanny and the eerie. What does it mean when our capacities to act and know, the basis of what it means to be social and to understand, are transformed by the very things we come to act on and know? What does it mean to live within the horror of late industrialism with its never-quite-confirmed allegations and conspiracies?
Francesco Salvini (pantxo ramas) is a Wellcome Trust Research Associate, at the Kent Law School where he works in a project on the modern boundaries of healthcare. Pantxo is also an activist and has been actively involved in social mobilisations around the contemporary crisis of care in Ecuador, Italy and Spain.
Nicholas Beuret is a lecturer at the University of Essex. Previously he has been a researcher on green chemistry and climate migration, and environmental campaigner and community organiser. His research explores the politics of environmental catastrophe and how our lives are shaped by both the more than human world and technoscience.
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Test Sites: Calder

Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern connected with environmental change – such as flooding, pollution, and species loss – and their impact on local culture and the health and wellbeing of our ecosystems and ourselves. At each site, we are involving local people in art-led co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists, and other experts.

In the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, where flooding and water pollution have been issues for 200 years, we are exploring water governance in relation to health, wellbeing and the resilience of communities and ecologies, in partnership with many local individuals and groups. The core team comprises artist Ruth Levene, anthropologist Megan Clinch, artist group Invisible Flock, curator Anna Santomauro from Arts Catalyst, with input from Liz Sharp at Pennine Water Group, University of Sheffield, and the water@leeds group, University of Leeds.

We began in 2017 by making two research journeys by narrowboat along the Calder/ Hebble Navigation meeting local people, river/canal users, and experts with interests in water, the history of the river and canal, and water governance.

During 2018, under the banner of ‘The River College’, we organised workshops with local groups and hosted stands and events at local festivals, using walks, games, geological cake-baking, water testing experiments and exhibits of maps and models to spark conversations around the geology, ecology, history, pollution and uses of the water system, while exchanging ideas around water’s social, spiritual, political and environmental meanings. Alongside, we held many group meetings and interviews to gather people’s varied understandings about the Calder water system and its management.

In Summer 2019, we presented a series of art installations and public events at festivals and venues along the Calder Valley, sharing our findings and continuing the inquiry with many more people. Find out more about the Summer programme here!

In 2020-21, Arts Catalyst has been working with Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright) who have been developing an inquiry and web platform investigating the ways in which a river’s health can be examined and understood.


Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. Curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, she is currently exploring water systems, farming and market driven developments of the countryside.

Dr Megan Clinch is an anthropologist and lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research explores how different forms of investigation, experimentality, evidence, and evaluation are understood (or not) and managed in the development of public health interventions.

Invisible Flock is an interactive arts studio based in the UK, making innovative artworks to be experienced and participated in by thousands all over the world. The artists create highly sensory installations and environments that ask us to re-negotiate our emotional relationship to the natural world.

Matterlurgy is a collaborative practice between London based artists Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright. They work in critical contexts of environmental change, across disciplines and media, combining the production of artworks with co-constructed events and live performance. 

Anna Santomauro is a curator, educator and researcher in micropolitics and socially engaged art. She is Programme Curator at Art Catalyst.

Test Sites: Calder Valley is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Canal and River Trust and Arts Council England.

Hero image: Design by An Endless Supply

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A Walk in Fukushima

The curatorial collective Don’t Follow the Wind (Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite) came into being through the exhibition project initiated by Japanese collective Chim↑Pom. On 11 March 2015, on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, the curators working with a group of twelve participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, and others opened an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don’t Follow the Wind inside the radioactive evacuated area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, comprising a series of projects presented at three venues – a warehouse, a farm with a home and an unopened restaurant, and a recreation centre.
Seven municipalities lie within the 337-square-kilometre zone currently under restrictions. An estimated 24,000 people are not allowed to return to their homes, many living in temporary housing for the past 5 years. In total more than 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate in the wake of the disaster, with tens of thousands more fleeing, fearing the potential health implications. Given that it may be decades or more before zones within the Fukushima Prefecture are declared safe from radiation and residency restrictions are lifted, it is reasonable to consider that the exhibited artworks will remain unseen and inaccessible for the probable future. 

The project was named for the everyday actions and knowledge of an evacuee that became extraordinary as they fled south towards Tokyo after the disaster so as to avoid exposure to radiation borne on a northwesterly wind.

At Arts Catalyst, Don’t Follow the Wind present their new work A Walk in Fukushima , previously shown at the Sydney Biennale in 2016.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video piece viewed through headsets made in workshops with the former residents The headsets were made by three generations of the Fukushima family of artist Bontaro Dokuyama, who live just outside of the zone in a contaminated area deemed “safe to live” by the government. The grandson, mother, father, and grandmother all made headsets that share their objects and experiences from this new reality.

Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the confidential venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The artworks, which are installed in the resident’s former homes and working spaces within the exclusion zone, are largely obscured by the figures of the artists and members of the curatorial team, retaining their inaccessibility and remaining shrouded and invisible to the outside world; highlighting the ongoing impact of the events of 11 March 2011, and ensuring that Fukushima will not be forgotten.

The invisible exhibition is dated 11 March 2015 – ongoing, commencing on the fourth anniversary of the disastrous Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It will open to the public when the exclusion zone is lifted. The project was initiated by Chimpom, and curated by Kenji Kubota, Jason Waite, and the artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes, with participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon.

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.
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Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima

Arts Catalyst presents two exhibitions and a season of events reflecting on disaster, displacement and poisoned lands.

Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima is a season exploring cultural and societal responses to disaster, displacement and poisoned lands. What can art do in an ongoing catastrophe? How do citizens respond to a situation that forces tens of thousands of people out of their homes, land, and communities, many of whom probably cannot return for decades?

Arts Catalyst presents two solo exhibitions by artists that respond to the man-made disaster of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, alongside a series of events exploring the profound social, cultural and political impact of Fukushima in Japan and the lessons we may learn.

A Walk in Fukushima - Don’t Follow the Wind

The curatorial collective Don't Follow The Wind Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite - who developed the long-term project and its ongoing off-site correspondences, was initiated by Chim↑Pom. On 11 March, 2015, an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don't Follow The Wind opened in Fukushima on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (owned by TEPCO). The exhibition is situated inside the radioactive, evacuated area surrounding the power plant at sites lent by former residents, which include a warehouse, farm, and a recreation centre. The curators collaborated with twelve artists including Ai Weiwei, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Meiro Koizumi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Aiko Miyanaga, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, Nobuaki Takekawa, and Kota Takeuchi. Located inside the inaccessible Fukushima exclusion zone, the exhibition is open and yet remains unseen. It will continue to be invisible for years or even decades.

At Arts Catalyst, the curatorial collective has formed a correspondence with the inaccessible exhibition. Whilst the artworks in the original exhibition remain unseen in the exclusion zone, other objects from the sites appear on display, bearing material witness to the ongoing catastrophe. These physical artefacts include the farmhouse keys and cafe furniture from a restaurant that had intended to open on the farm a few weeks after the disaster. The restaurant, its inauguration now perpetually deferred, has instead become a host for artworks that the former residents see as conceptual placeholders for their absence.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video made by the curatorial collective. Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The video follows the account of a former resident's visit to his abandoned home inside the exclusion zone; it is shown on headsets made by three generations of a Fukushima family living just outside the zone in a contaminated area deemed 'safe to live' by the government. The accompanying narratives of these headsets share personal accounts and experiences of this new reality: the restrictions, the rumours and the desires for a different future seen from their unstable present.

Project Fukushima! - Hikaru Fujii

Artist Hikaru Fujii’s film Project Fukushima! follows the preparations for a festival held in Fukushima city five months after the nuclear disaster. The festival, called simply “Fukushima!” was organised by a group of artists and musicians including Yoshihide Otomo. They aim to give visibility to Fukushima’s current state just as it was. The film features music and poetry by Yoshihide Otomo, Michiro Endo, Ryoichi Wago and people from Fukushima and other regions of Japan. It was not a typical festival since the organisers had to address questions such as: Would it be ethical to bring people to Fukushima? What about children? And what would it mean to the people of Fukushima if the festival had to be called off after all due to radiation concerns? Throughout the film we see how the lives of people in Fukushima have changed and what the future might look like for the next few generations.

Born in 1976, Hikaru Fujii creates video installations that respond to contemporary social problems. He makes use of extensive research and fieldwork investigating existing systems and structures, based on the idea that art is produced out of the intimate relationship between society and history. His work explores modern education and social systems in Japan and Asia as well as the nature of museums and art museums.

Events Programme

The “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and meltdown energised many people in Japan to become more proactive, vocal and dissenting. Mass anti-nuclear protests were held countrywide in the years following the disaster and smaller scale protests are still widespread. A citizen science movement sprang up in response to the slow release (some claimed withholding) of radiation data, with citizens using their own radiation-measuring devices to measure levels of radioactivity and post that data online. Legal challenges and petitions against nuclear power in Japan point to another tactic used by a citizenry that wishes to reclaim more governance over its environment and safety. Japanese artists have responded with an array of approaches, and have often been at the forefront of dissent and critique.

A programme of talks, events and activities will run through May to July, in partnership with Art Action UK. Art Action UK is a collective that explores ways to create opportunities for cultural practitioners to develop strategies that will help those affected by disasters.

Nuclear Energy and the Commons – A Workshop
Wednesday 31 May 2017, 2 - 4pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, but pre-enrolment essential
Sabu Kohso, political and social critic, scholar and activist, and Arts Catalyst’s artistic director, Nicola Triscott, lead this workshop examining nuclear radiation as a “negative commons” and discussing this in relation to the planetary commons and nuclear capitalism.
More information available here

Sabu Kohso and Jason Waite: Confronting a Catastrophic World
Wednesday 31 May, 6.30pm - 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Critic, scholar and activist Sabu Kohso and curator Jason Waite discuss the Fukushima disaster as an ongoing and unfolding situation, one among many disasters across the globe caused by the intensifying development of extractive capitalism across the planetary body.
More information available here

Consequences: A collaborative film-making workshop
Saturday 17 June, 12-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£3, bring your own lunch
Kerri Meehan and Alex Ressel invite workshop participants to make a collaborative film or sound work, using the framework of the surrealist game of “Consequences”. The workshop will use imagination and storytelling to address the consequences of the global nuclear industry in a deep time context.
More information available here

Fukushima Artists' Films: Screening and Discussion with Kodwo Eshun (The Otolith Collective)
Wednesday 21 June, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective presents an evening of screenings of artists’ responses to the 03/11/11 Fukushima Disaster. 
Tadasu Takamine: Japan Syndrome Kansai version
Nina Fischer and Moroan el Sani: I Live in Fear After March 11
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ernst Karel and Verena Paravel: Ah Humanity!
Workshop: Artistic Practice - Working with Displaced and Peripheral Communities
Wednesday 28 June, 2-6pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
This workshop aims to provoke conversations around artistic and cultural practices that explore communities affected by peripheralisation and marginalisation as a result of conflicting power dynamics.
Cromer Street: O-Furoshiki Stitching Group 
Saturday 1 July and Saturday 15 July, 2-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, drop-in
We invite members of the King’s Cross and wider city neighbourhood to come together and join us for an afternoon of communal patchwork cloth stitching, and reflection on the forces that damage, divide and unite our urban communites. Tea and biscuits will be provided.
The process of making and mending within a communal context can often serve as a unifying, healing force in the aftermath of a disaster or trauma. This workshop, the first of two planned stitching sessions, takes place in the context of the exhibition Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima.
‘O-Furoshiki’ is a traditional type of Japanese wrapping cloth created for the annual festival 'Fukushima!', as featured in the film Project Fukushima! Pieces of fabric, donated by people from all over Japan, are sewn together to create a patchwork cover for floors and surfaces affected by radiation. At each festival location, volunteers work together to stitch and cover the floor of each venue with the patchwork cloth. They measure radiation levels to ensure it is safe to carry out the festival. 
Taking Fukushima as starting point, how can we develop a creative language that supports and sustains a post-disaster or displaced community? Can our experience and collective will to overcome ecological difficulty be made manifest through stitching? In this respect, can art transcend function?
The second stitching workshop, taking place on 15 July, will culminate in a celebration that will see the cloth being unfolded in Cromer Street and its surrounding areas, engaging neighbours and passers-by in communal conversation. More information on the celebration can be found here.
Curators Talk: Jason Waite and Kaori Homma
Wednesday 5 July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, (£3 concession) Booking essential
Curators Jason Waite and Kaori Homma discuss their work in relation to Arts Catalyst’s presentation of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima
Fukushima and Visual Inquiry: Philippe Rouy Film Screening and Conversation with Jason Waite and Kodwo Eshun
Thursday 13th July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, booking essential
Philippe Rouy's films explores different notions of seeing in relation to the Fukushima disaster. An in-conversation with Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective and curator, Jason Waite, will follow the screening.
Cromer Street Stitching Group and Closing Celebration
Saturday 15th July, 2-5pm
Free, drop-in
On July 15 we invite you to celebrate the closing of our current season Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima. Drawing from the O' Furushiki patchwork cloth used by volunteers during Project Fukushima, Arts Catalyst invites members of the local community and beyond to create a cloth for Cromer Street.
Following on from the work created during the first stitching session, this second session will culminate in an unfolding of the cloth into Cromer street and the surrounding area, to honour the collective will and creative, social language that can be drawn from stitching, mending and community activity. Arts Catalyst invites members of different communities around Cromer Street as well as from across London to join us for this stitching session. 
To celebrate the closing of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima, we will see the cloth unfolded in Cromer Street and the surrounding area, engaging neighbours and passers-by in communal activity and conversation. We invite you to celebrate with us the creation of our own patchwork cloth for Cromer Street. Tea and cakes will be provided.


Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.

With special thanks to NPO S-AIR and Project Fukushima!.


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Courageous is an Arts Catalyst Nuclear Culture Commission by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson

This subtly poetic film explores the submarine as an object within its own terms, moving beyond the powerful but familiar narratives of functionality and social context. Instead the film looks to capture the unknown ‘self' of the submarine, a space of being that is difficult to grasp. The subject of Courageous is the physical qualities of particular spaces on the boat that form part of what is seen on a guided tour along with views of its exterior undergoing renovation. The artists are interested in the dual status of this submarine as a piece of history and a museum of that history. Their film aims to bring an understanding of the object as real space.

Beyond its function and history there is an actual physical object that remains obscured by the narratives that surround it. Whilst there have been various documentaries about life aboard a naval submarine these inevitably focus on personal narratives, where the boat is a supporting character and never given the space to articulate itself. In addition Courageous will consider the submarine as an emblem of hearing and silence, an icon through which to consider the unknowability of the nuclear.

The film will be exhibited at KARST in Plymouth, as part of the exhibition Material Nuclear Culture curated by Ele Carpenter.


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assemble | standard | minimal

Arts Catalyst and the Schering Foundation present a new exhibition of work by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, centred on a major new commission Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen translate our times of rapid progress in the biosciences, and of automated and standardized production technologies, into life-manipulating performative installations, provocative objects, and subtly aestheticised documentary films. While the biological sciences shift their focus from analysis to synthesis, adopting a language of engineering that focuses less on living beings than on components, circuits and systems, the artists examine our changing values.

Their new work Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gōdraws attention to the ambiguous identity of animals designed as products. It centers on albino goldfish specifically designed to be born without reproductive organs, presented alongside a machine - put in stand-by mode - that is capable of reproducing such sterile fish to demand from pre-extracted sperm and eggs.

Other works by the artists showing in this exhibition are the short film Kingyo Kingdom which explores the unique culture of breeders, collectors and connoisseurs at the Japanese national goldfish competition, giving a cultural context to the design and commodification of this species, further explored in Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō. In Pigeon d’Or and 75 Watt, human and animal organisms are being used in highly controlled (dys)functional processes.

The exhibition is curated by Jens Hauser with Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst).

Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō is commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Foundation. 
Kingyo Kingdom is commissioned by Arts Catalyst.


Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen’s work is occupied with broad meanings of material and production. They work across objects, installation, video and photography that explore processes of production as cultural, ethical and political practices. Their practice experiments with the use of design as an medium, reconfiguring processes, systems and organisms in order to question the context in which they operate. 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 winner of the Science Museum’s Emerging Artist Commission, 2012.


An exhibition in cooperation with The Ernst Schering Foundation and transmediale 2015 CAPTURE ALL.


Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō also supported by the Daiwa Foundation, and forms part of the European Commission FP7 funded project KiiCS

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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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Glow Boys

Mark Aerial Waller's short film shot at Oldbury nuclear power station 

16mm film to video
14m colour sound
Mark Ariel Waller's film is a study of the psychological state of the contemporary British nuclear industry. The film dramatises original research undertook over the course of a year. The script was developed from the pitch black humour of nuclear contract workers Waller met whilst travelling across the UK, from Wylfa in Anglesey, to Sizewell in Suffolk. This is a survey of a strange marriage between the maintained decrepitude of post war science and a highly sophisticated, but undermined PR campaign. Nothing had changed since Lindsay Anderson surveyed Britain in O'Lucky Man or Britannia Hospital, 25 years earlier.

Glow Boys was first shown in The Arts Catalyst exhibition, Atomic at Imperial College Gallery, London, UK, 1998, and subsequent tour.

Atomic featured the work of artists Mark Aerial Waller, James Acord, and Carey Young, exploring 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. Glow Boys was also featured at the symposium, Nuclear Culture on Film, 28 April, 2013 at The Arts Catalyst, London.

CAST: Douglas Park, E.J. Waller, Grahame Fox, Kealan Doyle, Bernd Bucker, Mark E. Smith, Michael Howarth, Joolia Cappleman, Paul Rattee.
Produced by Tom Sheahan and Red Star Films
Funded by The Arts Catalyst, British Film Institute, Southern Arts
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