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.

Activities

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.

Artists

Dr Ele Carpenter is a curator, writer and researcher in politicised art and social networks of making. She is curatorial researcher in Nuclear Culture with Arts Catalyst, Senior Lecturer in MFA Curating and convenor of the Nuclear Culture Research Group at Goldsmiths, University of London. The research and development stage of the Nuclear Culture project was supported by an AHRC Early Career Research Fellowship 2012-13, and Arts Council England.
 
Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead (Thomson & Craighead) make artworks that examine the changing socio-political structures of the Information Age. In particular they have been looking at how the digital world is ever more closely connected to the physical world becoming a geographical layer in our collective sensorium.  Time is often treated with a sculptor’s mentality, as a pliable quantity that can be moulded and remodelled.  Jon is Professor of Fine Art at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and Alison is Reader in Contemporary Art at University of Westminster and Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University of London. They live and work between London and Ross-shire.  
 
Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway have worked together since the early 90’s, developing large-scale multimedia installations, site-specific works and performances. Using custom-built technologies, data visualisations and video, their recent projects have explored the global politics of uranium mining and landrights in Greenland (Bildmuseet, 2016), the regulatory systems of plant growth applied to city planning (Cambridge University, 2016), live data visualisation of the global financial markets: financial belief systems and the naturalisation of finance (Somerset House, ArtScience Museum Singapore, 2016; Nikolaj Kunsthal, 2004; Tate Britain, 2000) and finding the bluest sky in the world:  the changing perceptions of the sky space in the context of climate change (Domaine de Chamarande, 2012; Arts Catalyst, 2011; Tensta Kunsthal, 2010; Nikolaj Kunsthal/COP15, 2009; Gwangju Biennial, 2006). In 2013 Autogena and Portway developed Foghorn Requiem, a requiem for a disappearing sound, performed by Souter Lighthouse foghorn, 3 brass bands and 50 ships on the North Sea.
 
Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson have worked together since 1994 and are drawn to the ways in which power and authority articulate themselves through the grammar and rhetoric that surrounds them. Their works often combine densely layered visual and acoustic allusions to faith, politics, national identity and the environment. They live and work in Manchester and Berlin.
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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 public 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).

 

Artists

YoHa (English translation 'aftermath') is a partnership between artists Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, formed in 1994. YoHa's graphic vision and technical tinkering, has powered several celebrated collaborations, establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical arts projects. Harwood and Yokokoji co-founded the artists group Mongrel (1996-2007) and established the MediaShed a free-media lab (2005-2008). In 2008 they joined Richard Wright to produce Tantalum Memorial shown in nine countries and 15 cities over four 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 (2011) and Endless War (2012).

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specialisations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art and performance. Formed in 1987, CAE'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, Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C., ICA in London, MCA in Chicago, Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Natural History Museum in London.

Andy Freeman is an artist, educator, technologist and former oyster farmer. Andy has worked with software and community arts projects and was founder member of the Australian Network for Arts and Technology. Based on his arts practice and his teaching at Goldsmiths College, Andy has developed a practice that involves the combination of open data tactics and community engagement. In 2015, he lead citizen science workshops alongside Fran Gallardo, YoHa and Arts Catalyst on the project Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone. Andy has been invited to partake in a research residency in 2016, as part of Arts Catalyst's multi-faceted project Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science. 

Fran Gallardo’s background is in systems engineering. He is a member of the Environmental Art Activism movement. Fran's work explores interfaces for culture in technology and ecology. In 2015, he lead the Arts Catalyst project Talking Dirty! Tongue First: Experiments at the Mouth of the Thames. This was a series of public events including citizen science workshops, involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption.

Warren Harper is a curator and researcher whose approach to working with artists is mainly collaborative, developing long-term projects and outcomes. Recent curatorial projects include Migrating Origins (2014) with James Ravinet, Digital Voices (2015) with Jonathan Weston, MORNING (2016) with artist Shaun C. Badham and the curation of the ESSEX Architecture Weekend talks programme in September 2016 with Stephanie Sutton. He has undertaken research for YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble and the Arts Catalyst for Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone and on Modernist architecture for the Radical Essex programme, led by Focal Point Gallery. He is currently working on a project with artist James Ravinet on Nuclear Culture. Warren is a former Assistant Director of TAP (Temporary Arts Project) in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

James Ravinet is an artist and curator interested in the method of working collectively, across disciplines, and destabilising the understanding of authorship. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art Moving Image programme in 2016, recent shows include The Old Waterworks (2016); Royal College of Art, London (2016); Jerwood Space, London (2016); Firstsite, Colchester (2015); Dyson Gallery, London (2015); Light Eye Mind, London (2013). Curatorial projects have also included Migrating Origins (2014) with Warren Harper. He is currently Assistant Curator for Offsite Projects at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea. His independent practice is comprised of a long-term project with Warren Harper on Nuclear Culture in Essex
 

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, http://www.seft1.com, 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.

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.

Support

Presented in partnership with Furtherfield Gallery

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

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Panning for Atomic Gold

Panning for Atomic Gold explores artistic quests for sensory perceptions of deep time through atomic materials and nuclear culture.

The symposium will make connections between Arts Catalyst’s Atomic exhibition (1998), current artistic practices and future nuclear archives. In our twentieth anniversary year the event draws on Arts Catalyst’s archive of unique documents and artefacts – revisiting work by James Acord, Mark Aerial Waller and Carey Young – and makes public these archives for the first time.

Curated by Ele Carpenter, speakers include radiological protection advisor Shelly Mobbs; scholar of Cold War literature Dan Grausam; artists Thomson & Craighead, Karen Kramer, Mark Aerial Waller and Carey Young; curator Ele Carpenter; and Arts Catalyst’s archivist Z Richter-Welch and research engineer Lisa Haskel.

Full programme of events

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Research is Not Terrorism: Steve Kurtz

Steve Kurtz, artist, activist and researcher, arrested by the FBI

Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble spoke about his case for the first time since his arrest in the USA. He was accompanied by Claire Pentecost from the Critical Art Ensemble Defense Fund.

Steve Kurtz was wrongly arrested in 2004, the FBI on charges relating to bioterrorism, because he had sourced some harmless bacteria to use in an artistic project. The bioterrorism charges were finally dropped by a Grand Jury, after an international storm of protest, however Steve still faces FBI charges of mail fraud (a charge traditionally used by the FBI when they can't pin another charge on someone - Critical Art Ensemble are known for their political views expressed through their work). Also indicted was Robert Ferrell, head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Health. The charges concern technicalities of how Ferrell helped Kurtz to obtain $256 worth of harmless bacteria for one of Kurtz's art projects.

Artists, scientists and civil liberties groups internationally have publicly condemned both the old and new charges and the continued harrassment of Steve Kurtz and many people that he has worked with. These new charges still carried a potential jail sentence of 20 years and threaten many researchers in the sciences who source material in a similar way.

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specialisations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art and performance. Formed in 1987, CAE'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, Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C., ICA in London, MCA in Chicago, Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Natural History Museum in London.
The collective has written seven books, with writings translated into 18 languages. Titles include The Electronic Disturbance (1994), Electronic Civil Disobedience & Other Unpopular Ideas (1996), Flesh Machine: Cyborgs, Designer Babies, & New Eugenic Consciousness (1998), Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media (2001), Molecular Invasion (2002), Marching Plague (2006) and Disturbances (2012).
Their participatory theatre aims to involve the public in the processes of biotechnology in order to contribute to the development of an informed and critical public discourse on contemporary bioscience.
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Sailing for Geeks 2 : Ship-to-Shore

Sailing For Geeks 2 @ Fadaiat took place in the framework of "Fadaiat : freedom of knowledge, freedom of movement" event

Sailing for Geeks 2 : Fadaiat : ship-to-shore took place in the framework of "Fadaiat: freedom of knowledge, freedom of movement" event : a political, technological and artistic laboratory that took place in Tarifa (Spain) & Tanger (Morocco), on both sides of the tense frontier dividing Europe from Africa. Fadaiat means "through spaces" in arabic. Fadaiat 2005 had the theme of exploring ideas of open borders.

Sailing for Geeks 2 established a link between the two sides by sailing boat. On the boat, a crew of activists and artists physically explored the roads of migration between Morocco and Spain. From Gibraltar (UK) to the enclave of Ceuta (Spain), from Tarifa (Spain) to Tangier (Morocco), we entered each country from the sea, cooperating with the processes of immigration control. We traced and documented our course via GPS, radar and radio communication.

The idea of Sailing for Geeks 2 was to try to give a representation of what a border really is. Crossing the Straits of Gibralter by sailing boat is dangerous, with high winds, strong currents and a busy shipping channel, which made it possible for the crew to have some idea of what it is to cross this zone in one of the “pateras”, the boats of fortune of the illegal migrants.

The sailing boat also tested technologies of counter-surveillance deployed on shore by the Makrolab team. At Tarifa, radio ham Aljosa Abrahamsberg fastened an antenna on the Tarifa fortress to intercept maritime communications between cargo liners and Tarifa traffic.

In Tanger, the crew met two Moroccan Fadaiat-Tanger representatives, Hicham Limrami and Youssef Hbib from a Larache organisation which works with immigrants and particularly their children, trying to give them "a boat for life", a craft to succeed in Africa rather than to seek happiness beyond the sea. Both took part in the three day Fadaiat workshop animated by Indymedia Estrecho. "Indymedia enables us to have a support, to connect our local associations to the rest of the world. Here, in Morocco, there is no freedom of speech."

Sailing for Geeks 2 was about physical reality, its visibility and its connections to digital perception - about the collision of representation and the concrete world. Hence mapping the physical space, navigation challenges, fragments of historical and symbolic traces, police control systems and power relations taking place in the straits.

Sailing for geeks from Bandits-Mages on Vimeo.

For more detail, maps, logs of the crossing, etc, see the project web-site

This project was supported by The Arts Catalyst (UK), Ellipse (Fr) and Projekt Atol (Slo).

Nathalie Magnan is an artist and theorist, working mostly in France. Magnan is the president of the Paris Festival of Gay and Lesbian Films and her theoretical work mostly focuses upon feminism and media. Magnan has organised several conferences related to these subjects.
In 2005, Nathalie Magnan participated in The Arts Catalyst project “Sailing for Geeks 2: Ship-to-Shore” where activists and artists boarded a boat, physically exploring the roads of migration between Morocco and Spain.
Sailing for Geeks 2 established a link between the two sides by sailing boat. From Gibraltar (UK) to the enclave of Ceuta (Spain), from Tarifa (Spain) to Tangier (Morocco), the artists and activists entered each country from the sea, cooperating with the processes of immigration control. These actions were traced and documented via GPS, radar and radio communication.
The project explored the idea of physical reality, its visibility and its connections to digital perception; for example, how do digital representations of the world collide with reality?
 

Links

http://www.fadaiat.net
http://volt.lautre.net/sail/S4G2/index.htm

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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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Less Remote: The Futures of Space Exploration - An Arts and Humanities Symposium

Less Remote was a two day symposium at the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, where artists, thinkers and writers met to discuss the future of space exploration.

The Less Remote symposium aimed to foster a dialogue and exchange between the cultural and space communities. It was organised on the occasion of the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, which hosted the symposium. Artists, thinkers and writers contributed to the debates about going back to the Moon and on to Mars, living in space, art in zero gravity, the future of the International Space Station, and the search for life and human origins in scientific missions.

Less Remote featured presentations by Tomas Saraceno, Agnes Meyer Brandis, Marko Peljhan, Zbigniew Oksiuta, Rachel Armstrong, Andy Miah, Sarah Jane Pell, Fraser MacDonald, Nina Czegledy and many others.

Less Remote was organised by Flis Holland and Arts Catalyst, in association with Leonardo and OLATS. The symposum was co-sponsored by the IAA Commission VI

Organisational Committee

Flis Holland, Arts Catalyst, Leonardo, Leonardo/Olats

Peer Review Committee

Flis Holland (Chair), Annick Bureaud (Leonardo / OLATS), Rob La Frenais (Arts Catalyst), Roger Malina (IAA Commission VI), Michael Punt (Leonardo), Sundar Sarukkai (Centre for Philosophy, Indian National Institute of Advanced Studies), Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst)

Advisory Committee

Martha Blassnigg, Lowry Burgess, Stephen Dick, Bernard Foing, Roger Malina, Takuro Osaka, Jean-Luc Soret

Support

Arts Council England, IAA Commission VI

Individual speakers and artists at the symposium were sponsored by:
The Goethe Institute, Glasgow, CAP Research Fund, Solent University, The Australian Network for Art & Technology - Professional Development Travel Fund.

Media Coverage

"Glasgow space congress brings it all home : Intergalactic travel is still humanity’s greatest party tricK" - Allan BrownTimes Online review

Sarah Jane Pell review

 

Artists

Tomas Saraceno is an artist and architect from Argentina, with a utopian vision for cities that float in the air, changing form and joining together like clouds. Saraceno is inspired by soap bubbles, spider webs, neural networks, or cloud formations, which are speculative models for alternate ways of living. These structures challenge ideas about nationality and property, intending to reshape notions about social space and human behaviour. Saraceno’s innovative ideas do not rely on the restrictions of our natural landscapes, instead, the series of experimental structures can be inhabited and exploit natural energies.
 
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. 
 
Rachel Armstrong works with international scientists and architects to explore cutting-edge, sustainable technologies that take the form of new materials that possess some of the properties of living systems. By creating living materials such as, paint that can 'eat' carbon dioxide and change colour when it is 'full' cities will be able to participate in cleaning up the environment and even repairing some of the damage that we've already created. Collaborative work with architect Philip Beesley has been nominated for a Katerva Award in the field of Urban Design. Rachel is Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction at the University of Greenwich, London. Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Centre for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark.
 
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell is an independent artist, commercial diver, explorer and researcher. She aspires to be amongst the first generation of artists to work in outer space. Her pioneering practice seeks to embody, and critique, the culture of exploration and redefine our visions of future worlds from sea, to summit, to space. She performs expressively and builds novel prototype apparatus to test and communicate from the field. Artifacts include sculptural, technical, poetic and media events. Her work promotes physical conditioning, creative visualisation and communication. Dr. Pell is the first artist to graduate from the International Space University and Singularity University, she was awarded Best PhD Art & Science by Leonardo AS, MIT 2007. She is an experienced occupational diver, aquatic performer and art-science collaborator. She is currently Co-Chair of the European Space Agency (ESA) Topical Team Arts & Science, Senior Space Art Consultant to Icarus Interstellar, RMIT Visiting Fellow and TED Fellow. She is working on Bending Horizons 2015-2017: documenting her own expression during extreme art adventures in space analogue environments undersea, at altitude and in microgravity. She aims to contribute new knowledge on human behaviours, biosensory media and communication design for extreme performance.
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Dark Places

Dark Places uncovers sites of secrecy and technology across the UK

New works by Neal White of the Office of Experiments, Steve Rowell, Victoria Halford & Steve Beard, and Beatriz da Costa explore spaces and institutions below the radar of common knowledge. Dark Places examines how artists are evolving strategies for art as a form of knowledge production, challenging accepted patterns in contemporary culture and society.

The Office of Experiments’ (OOE) Overt Research Project sets a background for Dark Places as it maps and records advanced labs and facilities that are unwittingly – or purposefully – concealed from public view. Developed by a team of independent researchers, 'Dark Places - South Edition', will feature an interpretive slideshow as well as field guide to local sites through an information kiosk. Elsewhere in the gallery, OOE celebrates the openness of knowledge through The Mike Kenner Archive. Revealing years of campaigning by one man into the public biochemical warfare experiments conducted by Porton Down (Salisbury), the work explores how 'Dark Places' throw their shadows onto those that question them.

Victoria Halford and Steve Beard's film Voodoo Science Park traces a secret geography of the Health and Safety Laboratory in Derbyshire, where train crashes and industrial accidents are re-created to examine their destructive pathways. Mixing fact and fiction, the film imagines a delayed encounter between poet William Blake and political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. The result is an uncanny meditation on science and popular memory.

Exploring the ‘dark places’ of zoological science, Beatriz da Costa’s A Memorial for the Still Living is a sombre reflection on endangered species of the British Isles. Presenting a selection of rare animal, insect and reptile specimens, including loans from the Natural History and Horniman Museums, da Costa identifies these collections – and the bleak future they imply - as sites of hidden knowledge.

Steve Rowell from the US group the Centre for Land-Use Interpretation (CLUI), in his project Ultimate High Ground, uncovers shared US-UK spaces of military power. Realised as a multi-screen film installation, the work focuses upon RAF Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, a communications intercept and missile warning site, known for its distinctive raydome structures. Steve has also worked as a key researcher on the OOE Overt Research Project.

Dark Places also featured a filmed interview between Stephen Foster, Director, John Hansard Gallery and the exhibiting artists. A new publication, featuring a project introduction, artist contributions and an essay by Sally O’Reilly, will be available throughout the exhibition.

Events

The Culture of Enthusiasm - Passion & Technology.  Monday 23 November 2009 4-6pm.  A discussion around the love, fascination and nostalgia for technology with Bee Thakore, Professor David Perrett and Neal White chaired by curator Rob la Frenais.

Secret Spies - children's workshop.  Saturday 12 December 2009 11.30am-3.30pm. A free workshop for children to create and document their own endg=angered species  using mixed media and sculpture.

The Cold War Legacy in the South - Secrecy and Technology bus tour. Saturday 23 January 2010 10am-6pm.

Artists

Beatriz da Costa was an interdisciplinary artist, based in Los Angeles, who worked at the intersection of art, politics, engineering and the life sciences. Da Costa’s work usually took the form of public participatory interventions, locative media, conceptual tool building and critical writing. In 2010, Beatriz presented “A Memorial for the Still Living” at the Horniman Museum in London, a project commissioned by The Arts Catalyst as part of the Dark Places project. The exhibition showcased British animal and plant species on the edge of extinction, focusing on “still living” species. The ‘dark place’ refers to the storage rooms of the museum and consequential oblivion, sparingly illuminated by memories of the dwindling few who have encountered the specimens over the years. To realize this exhibition, da Costa worked in collaboration with collection curators at the Horniman Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. In the exhibition, taxidermied specimens of endangered animals lay alongside botanical samples of plants under threat. Each specimen was given a “birth date” (the date of classification and inclusion into the corpus of western science) as well as a “death date” (the date of projected extinction).
 
For over 20 years, Neal White has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of numerous 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 Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme.

 

Media Coverage

The Guardian, ArtDaily

Exhibition Supported

Arts Council England

The Office of Experiments’ Overt Research Project is supported by UCL Department of Geography and The Media School, Bournemouth University. Led by Neal White with Steve Rowell and Lisa Haskell.

Dark Places is commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and co-curated with the Office of Experiments, John Hansard Gallery and SCAN.

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Project
Exhibition

Experimental Ruins Workshop

Workshop continuting the Neal White/The Office of Experiments' ongoing 'Overt Research Project' (invitation only)

The Experimental Ruins Workshop continues Neal White/The Office of Experiments' ongoing 'Overt Research Project', an ongoing series of enquiries into the experimental spaces of science and technology, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst.

In this workshop, Gail Davies (UCL, Department of Geography) and artists Neal White and Steve Rowell (The Office of Experiments) invited participants to explore what constitutes an 'experimental ruin' within the fabric of our urban centres. The workshop was a collaborative engagement between geographers, artists and others interested in the experimental geographies of science and technology.

In their initial field research project for The Arts Catalyst's exhibition Dark Places, Neal White and Steve Rowell focused attention on the rural landscapes of Southern England, documenting spaces in which large-scale scientific and intelligence facilities are sited, ranging from research centres to military proving grounds. In the second part of the project, London becomes the setting, a space that requires a different method of enquiry.

The workshop encompassed discussion of the ways we might identify: the material traces of biological, technological, informational and radical experiments in London; the temporal and spatial imaginaries embodied in such experimental sites, whether open, closed, subterranean or aerial; the methods for encountering and expanding engagements around these spaces, and the stakes involved in doing so.

With talks, discussion and exploration between geographers, artists, historians of science and technology, and the archivists and archaeologists of contemporary history, the event was part of ongoing discussions around the 'geographies of experimentation' and the nature of experimental aesthetics; shaping future forms of enquiry around these experimental remainders that are both collective and contested.

Artists

For over 20 years, Neal White has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of numerous 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 Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme.
 

Supported by

The Arts Catalyst, UCL Department of Geography and the ESRC fellowship (Grant no RES-063-27-0093)

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