Residency | Tom James: King's Cross Gas Workshop

Image courtesy Tom James

What will the people of King’s Cross do once the future starts to unravel? How will they live once the sea levels rise, the economy collapses and Russia turns off the gas? Where will they work? How will they heat their beans? 

For the month of November, artist Tom James will be in residence at Arts Catalyst, attempting to build an anaerobic digester in the gallery, and turning the centre into a temporary, low-tech, off-grid gas works. As part of this residency, Tom will be running a free, hands-on public workshop, on Saturday 10th November, to teach people how to build their own digester. 
Anaerobic digesters are simple machines designed to turn food waste into methane gas, which can then be used to cook or heat water. They can be made from everyday materials found in DIY shops, salvaged from skips outside houses, or reclaimed from landfill. Tom will be available every Thursday throughout the residency, to introduce people to the digester, talk through their fears for the future, and make them a cup of tea (dependent on methane levels).
King’s Cross Gas Workshop aims to explore narratives of a past, present and future King’s Cross, encompassing on one hand its industrial history as a site of gas production, marked by its iconic gas holders (now luxury flats), and on the other, a possible future for collective, bottom-up energy production, in the context of the environmental and economic collapse that seems to be just round the corner. 
The residency is part of Tom’s ongoing research project A Future Manual – a self-published, DIY guide to surviving and thriving in the uncertain world that awaits us. Informed by existing experimental bottom-up infrastructures at Camley Street Natural Park and Calthorpe Project, King’s Cross Gas Workshop aims to share real skills with real people, whilst at the same time creating space for a conversation about what climate change means, and what we can and should be doing about it.
6pm, Thursday 29 November
Free, drop-in
Over the month of November, artist Tom James has turned Arts Catalyst into King’s Cross Gas Workshop - a low-tech, off-grid gas works, with an anaerobic digester at its centerpiece, turning food waste into burnable methane gas.
You’re invited to join Tom on Thursday 29 November at 6pm, when he will attempt to make a celebratory cup of tea, using whatever gas has been generated. Cross your fingers/bring your own biscuits!
Tom James is a writer and artist who creates projects and publications that aim to change the way people think about the structures, places and ideas around them. Recent work includes The Clearing, a year-long collaboration with Alex Hartley to create a vision of the future in the grounds of Compton Verney, in Warwickshire; and New, New England House, an attempt to regenerate a publicly-owned factory in Brighton from the inside out, as part of the utopian regeneration agency Spacemakers. Tom’s projects have been featured across the British press, whilst his cult fanzine, Go, is part of the permanent collection of the V&A. 
Public opening hours:
3 – 30 November, Thursdays and Fridays, 12 – 6pm.
Free entry, everyone welcome!
The artist will be present to show visitors how to use the anaerobic digester on Thursdays. Please bring with you any food waste that you would like to feed the digester with!
Supported by The Santander Foundation Discovery Grants scheme and Arts Council England.