A Public Hearing

Arts Catalyst announces Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, a research and public programme launching in May 2016 with A Public Hearing.

As the first phase of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London will be in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June. During this time, they will use the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary conditions.

Public hearings originated from the process of the enclosure of public lands in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were held in order to create a petition to parliament to enclose the land, and then later to hear objections to the act created by Parliament. Today, public hearings are still used when dealing with both public lands and private properties. Adopting the device of the public hearing, the Goldsmiths group will consider how diverse experiences and events are communicated through speech, vocalising, hearing and listening. Whose stories are heard and whose not? What other forms of nonhuman expression - animals, plants, industrial, atmospheric - are heard, and what new modes of sensing are needed? In short, who speaks and who listens, and with what technologies?

Through a series of hearings in June (some public, others with invited groups) and an exhibition, the students will bring together diverse participants, ideas and concerns. They will explore how the conditions of the hearing – vocalisation strategies, performance, technologies, architecture - affect how information travels from one body to an other and from one entity to many. Hearings will address local social issues, as well as more abstract themes.

Starting from Arts Catalyst’s new neighbourhood of Cromer Street in London’s Kings Cross and expanding out across the city, Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process will create a platform for international artists, urbanist collectives and research architects to link with a diverse range of local communities. Together these groups will explore and document the social, political and environmental issues affecting those who inhabit the city. Everyday Urbanism will evolve over the course of three years creating new relationships, networks, events, exhibitions and commissions.
 

Everyday Urbanism will be developed in collaboration with a curatorial advisory group including Arts Catalyst, Territorial Agency / John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, curator Claire Louise Staunton (Flat Time House/MK Gallery) and Susan Schuppli, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Cromer Street based Barrister Ousman Noor.

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Material Nuclear Culture

Material Nuclear Culture is an exhibition exploring the material traces and cultural legacy of nuclear powered submarines in the UK, within the international discourse of deep time aesthetics and memory.

A partnership between KARST and Arts Catalyst, curated by Ele Carpenter.

The exhibition highlights the complexity of archiving the cultural legacy of submarine heritage within a wider discussion of how to comprehend the deep time challenges of radioactive waste storage.

Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson’s new film, Courageous, follows the material surfaces of a nuclear submarine. Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead’s, temporary index, is a digital artwork that counts down decay rates of entombed radioactive waste sites around the world. David Mabb’s new sculptural series, A Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament, draws on the Royal Navy’s love of William Morris fabric and Morris’s revolutionary politics. Susan Schuppli’s audio work Sound of Sand, investigates the poetics of sonar surveillance.

The exhibition will situate these new works alongside works by Japanese artists investigating the deep time memory over generations. Erika Kobayashi’s ‘Half Life’ calendar maps the intergenerational timescales of radiation between Europe and Japan, through the decay rate of Raduim. Artist Kota Takeuchi will present his work Take Stone Monuments Twice revisiting monuments along the Tohoku coast of Japan. The artwork reflects on the tensions between monuments of the past and markers for the future.

This year will mark the end of the Royal Navy fifteen-year public consultation on how to dismantle British nuclear submarines, and where to store the reactor vessels. The Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group is the first MOD public consultation with expert advisors, NGO’s and statutory agencies that represent a range of experience and political concerns. The exhibition takes place in the spirit of the advisory group and their commitment to an open and frank discussion about the issues of nuclear dismantling and radioactive waste management.
 

Partners

The Material Nuclear Culture exhibition is produced by KARST and Arts Catalyst, curated by Ele Carpenter with support from: Arts Council England, Goldsmiths College University of London, University of Westminster, Sasakawa Foundation, and Bildmuseet Sweden. The research and development of the exhibition was also supported by AHRC, npo S-Air and the Daiwa Foundation.

The Nuclear Culture website has more information about Ele Carpenter's research.

 
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Kota Takeuchi: Residency and Exhibition at Arts Catalyst

Kota Takeuchi will be artist in residency at Arts Catalyst's Centre during July 2016. His residency has been organised by S-AIR in Japan in partnership with Arts Catalyst, supported by the Sasakawa Foundation and Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Government of Japan.

During his time in the UK, Takeuchi will be researching the deep time concerns of monuments, site markers and memory around the UK and Belgium. He will undertake field research at the Belgian underground research laboratory for the geologic storage of radioactive waste in partnership with Z33 and the Belgian nuclear waste agency NIRAS / NIROND.

On Saturday 16 July curator and writer Eiko Honda will be in discussion with Kota Takeuchi, chaired by artist Kaori Homma from Art Action UK.
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Walking and Sensing in the City – a citizen science workshop

Artist and technologist Andy Freeman has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. In this event Andy takes participants on a part walking tour – part citizen science workshop in Camden. Freeman considers that citizen science practice is a form of ‘tactical living’ drawing together different knowledge sources (scientific, governmental and localised knowledge) meaning that we can monitor the environment we live in and become informed of changes that affect our health and other forms of life in the city.

You will learn how to monitor air quality, test soil and water for toxicity and discover historical, biological, industrial, technological and hidden and situated knowledge in the borough.

Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science is multi-faceted project that investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.

Please note this workshop involves a 1.6 mile round walk.

Participants meeting place: Arts Catalyst Centre for Art, Science and Technology at 12noon

 

Advance tickets are £5. Booking is essential as space is limited.

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Inter-species technologies for peripheral contexts (the Bionic Sheep project)

Artist, Fernando García-Dory, has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science to present his Bionic Sheep project, part of the Arte Util Archive with a workshop and talk.  Join Fernando and guests for a discussion and workshop on his concept how art can connect with territories, native cultures and other species, and about the specific system shepherd-sheep-wolf today . In this workshop there will be the chance to draft models for a 21st century shepherds hut and learn the inner workings of the ultrasonic Flock Protection System for sheep, as well as gain insight into the behaviour of wolves.
 
Fernando will be joined by specialists Sue Hull (Co-Director of the UK Wolf Conservation Trust) an expert in animal behaviour and Paolo Cavagnolo, a hacker and electronic engineer who will dissect the technical details of the Bionic Sheep prototype.
 
The wolf has captured imaginations for as long as humans have been living in settled communities, appearing in different guises in folk tales and peasant songs as a wily predator and a fiendish seducer. Today they are seen by urban societies as a paradigm of wholeness and freedom. In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on protecting wolves and other predator species and even re-introducing them into certain rural areas. This is creating an increased conflict between what is left of the pastoralist cultures and domesticated animals and this wild species.
 
Since 2006, artist Fernando Garcia Dory has produced various prototypes of 'Bionic Sheep', In collaboration with shepherds and engineers. The 'Bionic Sheep' project is a portable, solar-powered, ultrasonic flock protection system for sheep. The system provides a technological and creative solution to the age-old pastoral rivalry of the shepherd and the wolf so that wildlife and farmers can co-exist in harmony.
 
Fernando’s work engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature now, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations concerned with identity, through to (global) crisis, utopia and the potential for social change.
 
As the artist states; "From the frozen tundra where Sami reindeers graze, to German prairies to Portuguese remote mountains, the war between wolf and shepherd is increasing, with it, worldviews and ecosophies's clash. There is a gulf between the re-wilding ideology and deep ecology, on the one hand, and social ecology and agroecology ideas on how to solve culture-nature frictions, on the other."
 
Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science is multi-faceted project that investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.
 
Advance tickets are £5. Booking is essential as space is limited.
 
Biographies:
Paolo Cavagnolo is a maker, freelance, based in Torino. He studied nuclear engineer and after the bachelor's degree he opened a social company with some friends. The company last three years and helped the making of TechLab, the makerspace of Chieri that he currently manages and helps developing.  Inside TechLab Paolo helps the local community understand the evolution of technology: organizing workshop, lectures, and enabling accessibility to tools, desk and machines, both analog and digitals. He also takes part of the Chieri Innovation Board, an open consultant team for the develop of the municipality.
He is current working on hacking the educational Italian system, designing a laboratory to prototype new form of teaching and learning method, with a team of educators and psychologist, in order to helps the comprehensive school renew itself. 
 
Sue Hull originally did a degree in Geology before finally succumbing to her passion for animals. In 1985 she set up the Wolf Society of Great Britain, only the third such organisation in Europe, dedicated to wolf conservation. Eventually this inspired a number of offshoots amongst which was the UK Wolf Conservation Trust of which she is now a Director. In addition to her interest in wolves, Sue has owned and raced Sled Dogs for over thirty years and also gained an MSc in Animal Behaviour from the University of Southampton which led to her running a Companion Animal Behaviour practice for a number of years. She currently lives with her husband, 3 Siberian Huskies and 2 Wolfdogs.
 
The Bionic Sheep 2nd prototype is funded by the National Park of Picos de Europa.  

 

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Sketch a Bioluddite - a science and activism workshop with Lisa Ma

For every technological era, there are sub-cultures that resist the flow and whose critical perspective inspires the rest of society. This workshop invites the general public and scientists to a comic forensic sketch to identify an emerging subculture called Bioluddites.

What does society look like when you put historic activists with future science? Lisa Ma invites scientists, biohackers and the general public to an open forensic sketch session.

Lisa believes that designing a cultural memory of activism in technology is an essential part of public engagements with science. She provokes the scientific community by asking everyone to imagine how Luddism would affect society in the Biotechnological era. Rather than portraying these historical activists as criminals of the past, Lisa Ma argues that they are in fact the engaged citizens of the future.

This workshop will ask:
Why should scientists anticipate activism with their technology?
What might the general public celebrate in Luddism?
How could biohackers socialise activism for a result that is more productive than political engagement?

Lisa Ma has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. Notes from the Field is multi-faceted project that investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.

Advance tickets are £5. Booking is essential as space is limited.

This workshop was funded by the European Commission as part of Trust Me I'm an Artist. 

Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Artists, Cultural Institutions and Audiences Engaged in the Challenges of Creating and Experiencing New Art Forms in Biotechnology and Biomedicine in Europe is supported by funding from Creative Europe and is a collaboration between Waag Society, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, The Arts Catalyst, Ciant, Kapelica Gallery, Medical Museion, Capsula and Leonardo/Olats. The lead artist on the project is Anna Dumitriu and the lead ethicist is Professor Bobbie Farsides.


 

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Socialising Activism: A talk with Lisa Ma

“The future of activism isn’t loud. There’s a world of innovation in the field of activism that we are wasting away.”

Lisa Ma has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, as a resident researcher, speaker and workshop leader. In this talk Lisa will introduce her practice as a design activist, using innovative solutions to think through local social problems across the globe. 

Lisa socialises activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa Ma creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community.

Placing herself as a critical explorer, Lisa Ma has built, for the city of Ghent - a political culture of consuming the invasive species that the vegetarian town would otherwise pay to poison; for a joystick factory in Shenzhen - coined the scheme of Farmification to save the worker community through technology innovation; for London Heathrow Airport - gather opposing communities between planning historians, activists to construct heritage tours of the surrounding villages under threat from the airport expansion. Through sweet storytelling of unlikely events, Lisa Ma bridges organisations with communities and through everyday clashes of values between what we do and what we believe in to make us think deeper about the future.

Lisa Ma holds a MA in Design Interactions at Royal College of Art in London and BA from Central Saint Martins. She worked as a designer/strategist with Pentagram and Deutsche Telekom's Creation Centre before making collaboration projects with Ted Global in Edinburgh, Kanvas TV in Belgium and Broadway with Arts Council.

Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science is multi-faceted project that investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.

Advance tickets are £5. Booking is essential as space is limited.

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Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology

As part of Notes from the Field, Arts Catalyst will present an 'Assembly on Useful Art, Science and Technology’. The assembly will host six speakers and two respondents, split across two consecutive sessions. Speakers will be made up of a trans-disciplinary group of artists, scientists, technologists, designers, curators and researchers who use science and technologies to activate social change. Together they will reflect on the possibilities of art as a tool or devise to effect radical change.
 

Panel 1


Veronica Ranner, Kit Jones (CAT), Dimitri Launder - Chaired by Alec Steadman, Arts Catalyst's Curator

Veronica Ranner is an artist and designer, researching the burgeoning domain of the bio­–digital — a converging knowledge space where digitality and computational thinking meets biological matter. She dissects and creates tangible and immaterial manifestations of such collisions, examining hereby the polyphonic potential of alternative technological futures as part of her practice-led PhD at the Royal College of Art

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), situated in Wales, is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability. CAT have developed and produced of a wide range of renewable energy systems.

Dimitri Launder is the founder of Artist Gardeners. With 12 years of experience designing, and building gardens, his concerns are often based on a playful humour and apocalyptic view of the sustainability of localised food production in an urban context. He believes the cultural and ecological legacy that we leave as a society is our collective responsibility.
 

Panel 2


Graham Harwood, Sylvia Nagl, Jonathan Rosenhead (BSSRS) - Chaired by Nicola Triscott, Arts Catalyst's CEO

Graham Harwood is one half of artistic collaboration YoHa, along with Matsuko Yokokoji. YoHa’s projects combine groups and individuals with the technologies that surround them, through a socially engaged and research based practice. YoHa produce powerful allegorical contraptions to form an understanding of complex social/technical systems.

Dr Sylvia Nagl is a trans-disciplinary complexity scientist who works on the interdependence of human and natural systems. She is interested in how the dynamic interactions of people with each other, with wider social, economic, political, and technological systems.

The British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) was the centre of a 'radical science' movement in the 1970s. The society was formed out of a campaign in 1968 against university research on chemical and biological weapons. Professor Jonathan Rosenhead has worked at London School of Economics since 1967 and been Professor of Operational Research since 1987. He was active in the BSSRS for 20 years, including a period as Chair.


Respondent: Gemma Medina Estupiñan (Arte Util, Archive Researcher).

Gemma Medina Estupiñan is an independent research curator and Art Historian (PhD in Contemporary Art History) based in Eindhoven. She was part of the curatorial team of The Museum of Arte Útil (Van Abbemuseum), leading the research to build the Arte Útil Archive and co-curating the public program. She conceived the project ‘Broadcasting the archive’ along with Alessandra Saviotti to emancipate the usership around the Arte Útil archive. ‘Broadcasting the archive’ is supported by  Mondriaan Fund.

Time break down
Panel 1: 17.00 - 18.30, Panel 2: 18.45 - 20.15, Respondents: 20.30 - 21.00
 

Advance tickets are £5, with refreshments provided. Booking details to follow.

 

 

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Yoshinori Niwa Artist Talk

Yoshinori Niwa’s artistic interventions into public space are experimental actions and propositions involving impossibility and exchange. Seemingly unproductive physical acts such as ‘Transferring a Puddle from A to B’ carried out between Tokyo and Fukushima Prefecture (2012), and between East and West Berlin (2004), perform the impossibility of social and physical boundaries.

Yoshinori puts himself in unusual situations to undermine the reality of what we see and to expose the emptiness of systems that give the illusion of public-ness. For example when he walked in the opposite direction to the people demonstrating against nuclear power generation after the Great East Japan Earthquake ‘Walk in the Opposite Direction of a Demonstration Parade’ (2011). And ‘Demonstration Proceeds from the Prime Ministers Residence to the Summit of Mount Fuji’ (2012) in which he extended a political act to a site more commonly associated with tourism.

In 2014 his project ‘Selling the right name to a pile of garbage’ (2014) aimed to name a garbage landfill in the suburbs of Manila, Philippines. The work uses documentary images of Yoshinori negotiating with workers and managers whose entrepreneurial principles inspire them to try and turn piles of rubbish into gold. Reflecting on the clashes of rights and the contradiction between the value of money and land ownership, the work addresses the Philippine law preventing garbage incineration.

In recent years Niwa Yoshinori has taken an interest in the history of communism and has developed a new series of works which will be shown at Edel Assanti Gallery, London, in a solo exhibition ‘Historically Historic Historical History of Communism’.

This public talk has been organised by the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London in association with the Arts Catalyst, to take place on the occasion of Yoshinori Niwa's exhibition at Edel Assanti, London. 

This talk is part of the Nuclear Culture Project

Exhibition details
Edel Assanti, London
Fri 9 October - Sat 21 November 2015

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Graveyard of Lost Species

An ambitious collaborative project and public monument by artists YoHa and Critical Art Ensemble in partnership with Arts Catalyst

The Graveyard of Lost Species is a temporary public monument, created from a local wreck, the Souvenir - a 40ft 12 ton Thames Bawley fishing boat, which was reclaimed from the estuary mud. With the names of varied "lost species" (flora, fauna, occupations, words) from the estuary laser carved onto the boat’s surface and interior, she was sailed back and installed on the Leigh marshes as a part of the local landscape.

 

During 2015 and 2016, the artists led a set of enquiries with people in Leigh-on-Sea and Southend to gather local knowledge of and expertise about "lost species" - wildlife, marine creatures, livelihoods, fishing methods, landmarks and local dialects that once flourished in the Estuary and are now disappearing. Working with local craftsmen, the artists then laser cut the lost species into the vessel’s surface.

The project is intended to act as a monument to Leigh’s past and future, as well as uncovering and highlighting local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary.

The artwork is dedicated to the people of Leigh and Southend.

Graveyard of Lost Species is part of 'Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone', an art and citizen science project that uncovers and highlights local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. Artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo, with The Arts Catalyst, are collaborating with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.

See the Wrecked website for videos and artists updates:

 

The Artists

 
Graveyard of Lost Species is led by artist group YoHa, Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, who have worked together since 1994 and are local Leigh-on-Sea residents. YoHa's polemical vision and technical tinkering has powered several celebrated collaborations, establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical art and socially engaged projects. Harwood and Yokokoji co-founded the pioneering artists’ group Mongrel (1996-2007) and established the MediaShed, a free-media lab (2005-2008), which reached international fame through its film ‘Duallists’ shown at over 30 film festivals around the world.
 

Critical Art Ensemble undertook a residency in Leigh-on-Sea, building on research from two previous visits, working alongside Yoha on Lost Species. Since 1987, Critical Art Ensemble has explored the intersections between art, critical theory and political activism. Projects have included recreating historical bio-warfare experiments off the coast of Scotland; setting up a lab in a gallery to reverse engineer genetically modified seeds; and planting endangered flowers on public lands and urban social space threatened by property developers.

Funders and Supporters

This project is supported by The Arts Council England and Arts Catalyst. Many thanks to Leigh Town Council, Southend Borough Council, Metal (Southend) and Belton Way Small Craft Club with advice from Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust.
 
 
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