Emergent – Open Studio

On 3 December 2019 MA Art and Science held their annual Open Studio event, invited the public into the studio to engage with their emerging interdisciplinary practice through exhibitions, experiments, interactions and performances.

Here are some of the highlights…

 

 

 

Di Wingate’s studio space and work.

Sculpture that suspense a log by a log clawMariana Heilmann’s studio space and network experiment.

Marks made on Oscar Towe’s back through his performance work.

 

Colin Clark’s studio space and work.

 

Foreground:Richard Paton’s work. Background: Debi-Sara’s work.

 

Chenglu (Clitie)Bao’s work.

 

Phil Barton in front of his work.

 

Debi-Sara Wilkinson’s work

 

Debi-Sara Wilkinson’s work

 

Louise Crawford’s studio space and work.

 

Claire Mc Dermott’s studio work

 

           

Claire Mc Dermott’s studio work

Joya: art & ecology field trip 2019

At the beginning of June a dozen of us arrived at Joya for a week of creative isolation at Cortijada Los Gázquez (3281 ft.1000m alt.) a 20 hectare ‘off-grid’ rural farm in the heart of the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park, Almería, Spain. A life-long project by Simon and Donna Beckman, Joya:Air is an international artists’ retreat.  Working together with an intensity not found in the Archway studios, we experimented, walked, made and shared – meals, studios, exploration and conversation. Here are some of the results…

 

Claires photograph of white stone in the Landscape

 

 

Claire McDermott

Joya:Air is set in the hill tops of an unspoilt landscape of Sierra Maria, Los Gázquez. It forms an ideal base for tranquillity and valuable reflections. I wanted to interact with this landscape to create artworks of white circles as a symbol of spent energy.

A drought that lasted three years meant the bugs, birds and animals had all disappeared. Luckily with recent rainfalls I woke at dawn to hear the most amazing bird song, amplified by their own excitement. The next morning, at 4am I watched the sun entice the birds and felt their invisible pure energy.


Di Wingate

….and breathe – take in the location, the sunlight, tranquility, 360 degrees view, aromas, sounds of nature, wind, birds, fauna…. sit, watch, think, walk- about, around, along, up and down, discuss, eat, consider, photograph, video, experiment, paint, draw, create, visit, history, experiment again, walk some more, relax, smile, forget time, forget politics, enjoy the now – enjoy La Joya.


Laura Madeley

a week of environmental immersion, experiments with light and shadow, sundials and sculpture-clocks, sketchbooks and solarisation. a chance to play with shape, form and distortion across 2D, 3D and digital media.  an opportunity to work within, and be inspired by the landscape, and to consider relationships between art and the environment.  a chance to work alongside peers and be inspired by the imaginations, talents and energy of other creative makers.  enough time to stop, step out of routines, and for ideas to go in a different direction altogether.


Phil Barton

What a privilege to experience a whole week immersed in nature, no social media, no deadlines and space to be. Inspiration came from the work and processes of my colleagues, the white/grey eroding soil, the light, wild flora…

5.30 in the evening: “Sitting. Listening. Watching. Vehicle far away, insects buzzing – one passes my ear, loudly. Heat shimmers as it begins to cool. Breeze washing over me, moves flowers and pine needles and this page and the windmill now also buzzing in the distance. A louder gust gently roars the treetops. Dog barking. Backlit wildflowers – yellow, ochre, white, pink, blue, purple… Pine cones amongst needle lacework against azure sky. Poppies along the tracks. Decrepit terraces tumble down the hillside; stony soil, white, like chalk, but isn’t. Ancient trees along the banks. Pruned. Orange lichen. Sun still warm through dappled shade…”


 

 

Qian Zhang (Tracey)

La Joya strikes me as a retreat away from the modern world such as the fictitious valley of Shangri-La. Geographically, it is isolated and perhaps there is a lack of modern conveniences we take for granted in the city. But for me, its relative isolation and partial inconvenience provide a wider space to perceive the relationship between myself and the others, nature, and even human evolution in history. By physically being there, I have acquired first hand something simple but profound through some basic activities such as cooking, tasting and sharing various terrific food in the interior atmosphere of calm and order, collecting stones and cypress cones, enjoying the delightful time with Joya’s mascots, Fufu and Frida.


Qinming Feng (Fung)

I have done the first experiment during the Joya trip, which used salt as the base medium to produce uric acid crystal. The process contained four steps, first, submerge the foams, which the poriferous structure can help it absorbing the liquid and fixing the crystallised salt, in saturated salt water. Then expose the salted foams on sunlight in order to evaporate the moisture. Thirdly, re-immerse the foam in urine liquid to use the crystallised salt as the medium and the base for uric acid crystallisation to do the ion exchange between urine and sodium, finally evaporate the residual liquid again.


Rose Mengmei Zhou

 


Yang Li

The first thing I want to say is the trip is awesome: work together, live together and play together really let me learn a lot from my treasured classmates.

Living under the same roof with them let me deeply feel and observe the western life style, such as the morning coffee and dinner wine. I truly felt my language ability has significantly progressed.

Luckily I found my final direction during the time there, and I had a chance to try some new ways of making art works. I have to say JOYA is a great place to think ideas and do projects, although there is a weak wifi and 4G signal.


Mariana Heilmann

Going to La Joya was like stepping out of known dimensions of time….at Los Gasques  time doesn’t tick, it hummmmms and if you listen, you can hear.

If I were to go there all over again, I would stop.  And listen. 

Instead, I dove straight in to do the work that I had planned to do: extract pigments from surrounding plants. Of course my ambitions were far greater than the time I had to fulfil them, and I was on a constant race against time to do as much as I could. 

This was a fantastic opportunity that allowed me to do something that I would not normally have had the time to do. It was heaven to be fully engaged and immersed. It felt like a huge privilege and luxury.

The simplicity of living. The silence. The camaraderie. Ending the days around the table groaning with food and engaging in conversation….or silence…either way…there was a feeling of peace and openness.

What Donna and Simon have created is truly inspiring. It is a gift to all of us who have the good fortune to take part in their vision and benefit from their generosity.


And here is some of the work we left behind us, with thanks to Simon, Donna and Heather…

about time

 

it’s about time

marking time 

watching time pass

taking time to start

finding time to stop

time to end up somewhere else

time to start something new

 

it’s about time

marking time 

paying attention to time

to daytime and night time

to sleep time and wake time

it’s about losing track of time

not waiting for a time when

there’s enough time

when there’s never enough time

and that time never comes

 

it’s about time

marking time

taking the time to listen

taking all the time that’s needed

having time to process

having too much time to think

it’s about trying to make up for lost time

and accepting time just doesn’t work like that

 

it’s about time, marking time –

remembering a time when….

a wrong time

a time when

we caught it just in time

its about the times in life

when time speeds up

when time stands still

its about the dead time

killing time

wasting time

accepting when its time to concede

 

it’s about time, marking time – 

remembering time

another time

the first time

the last time

the only time

that time

this time

next time

the first time for a long time

 

it’s about time

marking time

a right time

choosing how we spend our time

making the most of the time we have left

taking time to finish

taking time to reflect

time to stop

time to leave

time to arrive

time to start

time to commit

 

it’s about time

marking time

making time

time to begin

time to begin again

 

Laura Madeley

Motion capture of the performance sequence at the XRLab at the University of Westminster. Here, Piotr wearing a motion capture suit. Photo by Danmei Luo

Studio-Lab of Art & Science 2019 // 3.14 Realities

Claire with some of the research material of the Akimbo project

Claire McDermott with some of the research material of the Akimbo project

SLoAS (Studio Lab of Art and Science) is a platform for diverse practitioners to traverse the boundaries of art and science, exploring the possibilities for purposeful change and enduring collaborations where these two fields meet.

The flagship of SLoAS project is a residency that brings together students from different disciplines in order to explore new ways of seeing and understanding our world. Hinging around a given theme, the semi-structured programme takes place in both ‘lab’ (technology/science) and ‘studio’ (art) environments comprising of thinking-strategy sessions, practical inductions, expert mentoring, critique of works, informative talks and experimental workshop time resulting in a final showcase. Unconventional collisions are encouraged where fine artists meet scientists and technologists meet designers.

 

First day collaboration enhancement exercise by Cai Zhang at Central Saint Martins, Archway

First day collaboration enhancement exercise by Cai Zhang at Central Saint Martins, Archway. Photo by Danmei Luo

Motion capture of the performance sequence at the XRLab at the University of Westminster. Here, Piotr wearing a motion capture suit. Photo by Danmei Luo

Motion capture of the performance sequence at the XRLab at the University of Westminster. Here, Piotr Cichocki wearing a motion capture suit. Photo by Danmei Luo

Claire and Feng doing some hands-on making at the Casting Workshop at Central Saint Martins, Kings Cross. Photos by Feng Quinming

Claire McDermott and Feng Quinming doing some hands-on making at the Casting Workshop at Central Saint Martins, Kings Cross. Photos by Feng Quinming

Testing the AR app at the XRLab at the University of Westminster. Here is Maritina's AR Self 'in' the XR Lab. Photo by Maritina Keleri

Testing the AR app at the XRLab at the University of Westminster. Here is Maritina’s AR Self ‘in’ the XR Lab. Photo by Maritina Keleri

 

MA Art & Science participants: Claire McDermott, Feng Quinming, Lois Bentley, Maritina Keleri 

 

From the 10th to the 14th of June 2019, SLoAS presented its first event, 3.14 Realities. It brought together students from the MA Art & Science and the BSc Digital Media Development at the University of Westminster Department of Computer Science & Engineering, for a creative week of work that included workshops, talks from guests from UAL, UCL and the Sainsbury-Wellcome Centre, mentoring session from tutors of both participating universities and finally a pop-up public exhibition on Friday the 14th of June at the Exposed Arts Projects.

Inspired by the fact that nowadays we expand our presence to the physical, psychological and virtual reality, the participants were invited to imagine what the tools of understanding their environment could be, should they lack the access to one of the three realities. Τhe students responded to the brief by creating the Akimbo project which consisted of three parts; the first was a statement about the fact that our Physical Self will carry on changing while our Data Self, will potentially remain unchanged – an idea that was expressed with a small installation of melting candles, copies of 3D prints of the 3D scans of the participants; the second was a question about how our Physical/Psychological Self can relate to our Virtual/Augmented Self – the guests at the pop-up exhibition were invited to interact with a sequence of repeating moves that the participants’ AR Selves were performing ‘in’ the room; the third and final part of the project was an experiment on the capability of an AR portable performance application to effect the mood of the user – the AR performance, of the second part, was loaded on smartphones where the guests were invited to interact with AR targets that were dispersed in several places in the room. This is an ongoing experiment.

Akimbo performance. Photo by Danmei Luo

Akimbo performance. Photo by Danmei Luo

Akimbo candles installation. Photo by Danmei Luo

Akimbo candles installation. Photo by Danmei Luo

Akimbo AR App. Photo by Rose Zhou

Akimbo AR App. Photo by Rose Zhou

The exchange of ideas from the very first day, with the collaboration enhancement exercises that formed the performance’s sequence and the project kick-starting workshop, the guest talks on Wednesday the 12th and the induction on AR and VR technologies at the XR Lab of the University of Westminster with the support that the technicians offered, led to a project that included performance, AR technology, and hands-on making. The participating students coming from both art and science/technology courses, collaborated and inspired each-other by giving an example of what the artistic or the technological method look like. On the last day of the SLoAS programme, the team had to curate a presentation of their projects and be critiqued; a final exercise, which while it was challenging, it did add to their experience as for how to present concepts and research to the public.

Critique after the presentation. Susan Aldworth giving her approach to the works. Photo by Danmei Luo

Critique after the presentation. Susan Aldworth giving her approach to the works. Photo by Danmei Luo

SLoAS 2019 pop-up exhibition, team, participants and tutors. Photo by Danmei Luo

SLoAS 2019 pop-up exhibition, team, participants and tutors. Photo by Danmei Luo

 

SLoAS started as a student initiative by a group of 2nd Year students at the MA Art & Science, in 2019. After its pilot event it aims to carry on, including more students of the course and rest of UAL, as well as, more collaborations with other institutions and organisations of art, science and technology.

 

The programme was funded by the Student Initiative Fund (Arts Student Union) and supported by UAL, University of Westminster, the XR Lab and the Exposed Arts Projects.

 

For more information on SLoAS initiative and updates please check here:

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For more information on SLoAS 2019-3.14 Realities please check here:

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A week of workshops

Tate Exchange: Come Together in a Time of Change 2019

COME TOGETHER: ART AND POLITICS IN A CLIMATE OF UNREST WITH CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS  15–20 JANUARY 2019 

Art is necessarily caught up in contemporary politics in many complex ways. Come Together invited the public to join forces, to ‘come together’ and consider how we might reflect on and tackle our current state of affairs.  Below are some of the workshops that the students and staff from the Art Programme at Central Saint Martins created for a series of events in three zones: talking together, making together and playing together. These will include practical workshops, lectures, reading groups, film screenings and performances among others. Join in a wide range of practical activities which explore the many ways in which making and politics might intertwine.

Fake News

lost of banners with the names of all the workshops for the week

 

everyone have a good time in this workshop

A performance work by Teresa Zerafa Byrne, Laura Madeley , Margaux Derhy, and Abigail Zerafa Byrne, that looked at the validity of news headlines and how history is written by those documenting it. Can we rely on what we read? We encouraged members of the public to take part in three activities based on game shows, and to generate their own randomised news headlines; each participant walked away with their own Fake News page.

News paper headline poster

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Artists have always responded to the political climate in which they exist. Art can critique, reflect, support or challenge the powers that be. The experimental approaches that many artists deploy are to challenging established systems of authority. But in today’s volatile political landscape, the role of the artist is an increasingly dangerous one. Across the world, artists have been arrested as a result of the political nature of their creative output – Pussy Riot, Ai Weiwei and Tania Bruguera to name a few. In the UK, visas for international artists are becoming more and more difficult to secure. In schools, politics is challenging our creative faculties from the inside out, favouring STEM subjects over art and design

 

Art Crit 2019

Our group was made up of alumni / current students to discussed how important it was to have critiques within the framework of an art education.  Please click on the link below for the film of January 2019 and the film was published in July 2020. 

Rose taking to a group of peopleAbove image: Rose Leventon talking in the crit

Above image: Ana Catarina Pereira talking in the crit

Above image: Alexandra Harley talking in the crit

Above image: Claire Mc Dermott talking in the crit

Above image: Ana Catarina Pereira and a member of the public talking in the crit about his work

member of public talking in the crit

Above image: Member of the public talking with Rose Leventon on the right and Declan Slattery on the far left.

Big thanks from Claire to all the above artist who made this Art Crit 2019 happen.  Special thanks to Rose Leventon who started the ball rolling by agreeing to take part in this event.  Warm thanks to Ana Catarina Pereira and Wini Pritchett for the planing of the event and for the photographs taken by Alexandra Harley and Ana’s friend.  Graphic design, coordinator of the event and the fundraising was made by Claire Mc Dermott.   A great film that topped off the event with co edits by Wini Pritchett and produced by Declan Slattery.   

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Macaws  08/06/2019

Offered the opportunity in January to run an activity at Tate Exchange under the theme of “Come Together” Phil Barton and Catherine Herbert worked together to raise awareness of habitat loss and the impact of humans on the natural world. The project explored the Sixth Great Extinction of species currently underway, the first to be caused by an Earth based species.

The new work nearing completion, beneath the original template

After discussion over the Christmas holidays, we settled on an approach which would invite participants to co-create a work with us by creating an artwork after Andy Warhol – bold colours & repetition.  Research brought us to Macaws, which I had seen in the Peruvian jungle when I visited to study fresh-water river dolphins in 2000 and to Brazil, where the recent swearing in of new President Jair Bolsonaro – who is committed to cutting down rainforest for agriculture – is causing huge concern.

Participants working on their tiles

So we worked on a macaw-based work which was displayed A0 size at the workshop and which we had cut up into 90 pieces.  We asked participants to vote on the relative importance of the democratic process which had led to Bolsonaro’s election and the inherent rights of Nature and indigenous peoples.  And we offered them the opportunity to interpret their piece of the work on a paper-covered tile four times its size.

Originally scheduled for three hours on Saturday 19th January, popular demand ensured a five hour stint.  95 people contributed to the re-made work which was finally finished!  The enthusiasm, concentration and talent of participants ranging in age from one to seventy was tremendous and we plan to extend the work at other venues, hoping to display the finished artwork in a public venue later this year.

Painting macaws at Tate Exchange. So popular we had to spread out onto the floor.

A totally engaging experience from start to finish, we were delighted with the result.  Oh, and the final vote? 42 for the democratic process and 91 for the rights on nature and indigenous people!

Phil Barton

CERN : Highlights and Reflections

In mid January of 2019 a group of over 20 MA Art and Science students made their way to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Famous for its discovery of the Higgs Boson to the World Wide Web, and home to the Large Hadron Collider. From learning about these discoveries, to seeing where they were created, and for a number of days being a part of the daily life of the CERN community… here tells a number of personal highlights and reflections from the journey. 

Charlotte Bolster

From the Large Hadron Collider to Hadron therapy.

CERN doesn’t just do ‘science for science sake’. As the senior Advisor for Medical Applications, Manjit Dosanjh works to translate the developments taking place into improvements in cancer care.

In a fortuitous change to our schedule we were privileged to join a lecture she was hosting, in which she communicated the historical advancements in radiotherapy, and the promise of hadron therapy, i.e. using hadrons accelerated through the same principles as used in the LHC.

Most poignantly, she spoke of global disparity in access to radiotherapy, and her ambition to lead the way in developing radiation therapy solutions ‘in situations where the power supply is unreliable, the climate is harsh or communications are poor’.  Inspired by her words, several of us are intending to meet with her again and explore how we might contribute to her dream by using our art practice to direct attention to this need. 

Mariana Heilmann

One of the aspects of CERN that struck me the most was the power of collective human ambition. In my pursuit to explore scale, interconnectivity and humanity’s place in that spectrum, visiting CERN was a valuable opportunity to see humankind at its most inventive, curious and expansive.  Learning about CERN’s colossal experiments and their invention of the World Wide Web was a great contribution to my research.

I am hugely grateful to Andy for having organised this trip as well as to Michael & team for the incredibly warm welcome and thorough insight into CERN. I’m also really grateful to Helen who was not only very inspiring, but very generous with her advice and time. It was a fantastic privilege to be there and to be invited to get involved in art@CMS. 

Last but not least, I loved every moment of spending time with our wonderful group as well as getting to know our Vienna fellows.

Hannah Pratt

CERN is an incredible place, not just in location but the also the whole spirit of collaboration to make the world better though science. As an artist I am excited to be able to access and interact with the scientists and engage with the wide range of research happening at CERN. 

Catherine Herbert

What I loved about CERN – and what represents how I now understand particle physics (and science in general), was the cloud chamber workshop because it made otherwise invisible particles – visible. Something else that’s emblematic – for me – of science, is that the existence of dark matter is only apparent because of how other matter behaves. Likewise, the Higgs Boson is proven indirectly because two photons are predicted to be what it decays into. Overall, CERN seems to be about being both thorough and uncertain at the same time. as the undetectable appears to appear in highly contrived experiments.

Diane Wingate

My recent trip to CERN has taught me a lot about the fundamental ideals behind scientific experimentation. The concept that it is acceptable not to know why we do something and the significance of it, combined with the belief that to move forward in technology and life it is not enough to simply perfect the things we know, we need to explore what we don’t know.

Lois Bentley

Here you have my highlights, plus some words about TATE. The latter is in response to Michael asking for “Ideas generated by the visit and artworks/exhibitions that happen as a result”

My highlights are:

  • The proportional scale: For example 3 mg of Hydrogen gas provide the raw material for, (was it) a year of experimentation. Tiny particles blasted around within giant machines(accelerators). A tiny amount of matter, yet a massive amount of electricity to power the 72MW “Total Energy CERN” was showing on a control monitor
  • The scale and construction of the detectors -vibrant colours and tessellated pattern of symmetry in construction
  • The way the words sound – Cyclo Synchrotron, Scintillator ALICE A Large Ion Collider Experiment, Compact Muon Solenoid. Immediately playful onomatopoeia.

Within one day of returning – we collaborated to create an exhibition at one of Europe’s most prestigious art galleries, Tate Modern. The exhibition was in the Tate Exchange space, where artists show their work in order to exchange ideas with the public. 

We used schoolroom technical aesthetic of blackboard – filled it with photographs, formuli, diagrams and a large question mark. We wrote an open letter to the public “To Whom It May Con-CERN” and invited their response. We generated public engagement works including a radiation wall made of lead, 3D printed plastic and constructed in wood. We created a large scale floor map of CERN’s experiments and major accelerators and detectors.

Where will this lead? … All the students are invited back to CERN for more in depth research or to explore newly inspired creative ideas. MAAS graduate Helen Cawley met up with the students at CERN. She made the same journey two years previous and has now been working along side scientists and researchers on the CLOUD project for approximately the last 3 months. 

EmbryonicA Open Studio 4th December 2019

image of people in studio

Above image: Archway Studios – sorted and ready

 

Above image:  My Face

 

Close up of image reflection

Above image: Close up of distorted reflection

 

Close up of Claire's sculpture

Close up of Claire Mc Dermott’s sculpture 

 

Member of the public turning the page of an artist note boot

Above image: Osca Towe’s artist note book

 

Di's swirls of white lines on black background

Above image: Di Wingate’s installation

 

Image of water stains

Above Image:Image of water colour stains and line work 

 

Above image: Studio photograph of Richard Paton, Phil Barton, and Raji Jagadeesan artwork

 

photograph of hand sculpture

Above image: Sculpture of sign language

 

 

Moss growing on artwork

Above Image: Moss growing on artwork

 

Above image: Archway Studio

 

Above image: Colin Clark’s live matter

 

close up of textiles

Above image: Close up of textile sculpture

 

plaster sculpture

Above image: Plaster sculpture

 

close up of metal curved triangle sculpture

Above image: Close up of triangle sculpture

 

Image oc speaker and orange metals coils

Above image: A Speaker and orange coils of metal

 

Above image: Image of textiles, plaster and wood by Rose

 

Above image: Curves by Raji Jugadeesan

 

Graphic image with a portrait in a black, white and grey chess background

Above Image Perspective’s by Maria Ribeiro 

 

Image of illusion

Above image: Image of illusion

 

Above Image: from left to right, Di Wingate, Phil Burton and Richard Paton

 

light falling on hanging artwor

Above image: Print on mirror

EmbryonicA

Tuesday 4 December 2018
4.30 – 8.00pm

MA Art and Science (Central Saint Martins) invite you to our Open Studio event, EmbryonicA, presenting intriguing artworks and experiments from 40+ interdisciplinary practitioners.

2nd Floor, Elthorne Studios
9 -15 Elthorne Road
London N19 4AJ

Nearest Tube – Archway : Rail – Upper Holloway

Please register your interest on our Facebook event.

We hope to see you there.

Changing expectations of art and science with the Royal Society

The Museum of Extraordinary Objects

How artists from MA Art and Science created a museum from the future to help the Royal Society shape the UK’s research culture.

Imagine a Museum from 2035 in which all the exhibits reflect key moments in the history of UK science culture over the previous 20 years.  That’s exactly what artists from the MA Art and Science did when the Royal Society invited them to design an approach to help the Royal Society bring alive their consultation with scientists across the country.  Research culture is an umbrella term which includes everything a researcher does that isn’t research, including issues around collaboration, research integrity, career paths and publishing. The Society aims to embed a culture of research that will support the science community and the scientific endeavour looking forward to 2035.  The challenge was to help scientists quickly understand the key themes of the consultation as well as to help transport them away from their immediate concerns about their everyday experiences towards thinking creatively about alternative future scenarios.

And so the Museum of Extraordinary Objects was born.  Curated by Julie Light, and involving eleven artists from the MA Art and Science in creating artwork. seven objects from the future were designed and made, each of which focused on a specific element of future research culture and was designed to be used at workshops to stimulate conversation and ideas about the relevant themes.  A museum catalogue completed the picture, outlining the provenance of each object.

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The Museum first went on show at the launch of the Royal Society’s Changing Expectations project in June 2017, and then spent the next 4 months touring the country, visiting 20 events in 15 locations and leading to interactions with over 1000 individuals from academia, government, industry and professional research services.  The Royal Society have since created an Open Access Workshop that can be used by any organisation or scientist wanting to be part of the shaping of science research culture, anywhere in the world.

You can read the Museum Catalogue here:  

The Museum has its own page on the Royal Society website here:

More details of the making of the Museum can be found at the Royal Society’s In Verba blog here:

Details of the Royal Society’s Visions of 2035 Open Access Workshops using the Museum pieces are here:

The Royal Society report on the Changing Expectations consultations and featuring the artwork from the Museum can be downloaded here:

 

Changing Expectations of Art and Science

Building on the success of the Museum, the Royal Society invited artists from the MA Art and Science to create a show to complement the TEDx Whitehall 2018 held at the Royal Society in January 2017.  Stephen Bennett and Julie Light curated work from seven artists, with each piece reflecting a different perspective on the changing relationship between art and science.   

Artworks included Hannah Pratt’s Chaos Dice, which could create a potential framework to design the parameters for scientists to conduct their research, Bekk Wells’ Elements, representing the type of hapticity and spatial reasoning introduced through the use of molecular models and Where Are You From? by Stephen Bennett, comprising data collected  in response to that question, and reflecting a fluid sense of roots as well as addressing the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science.  

Other pieces were Becky Lyons’ New Earth Object Research, Helen Cawley’s The Missing Chapter, which was displayed alongside a first edition of Charles Darwin’s related original text,  Julie Light’s Breathless and Jill Mueller’s We Are All Made of Stars: Matters of Scale (Box Set).

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The Biodesign Challenge

The task… BioDesign Challenge.

The brief… Biodesign in the Anthropocene.

The timeframe… 8 weeks to come up with a project that interrogates the value and pertinence of biodesign in the context of the Anthropocene. Seven MA Art & Science students joined the MA Material Futures studio. They paired up and got to work. This project was the first collaboration between MA Material Futures and MA Art and Science.

Liv Bargman (MA Art & Science) paired up with Nina Cutler (MA Material Futures) and together they developed The Quantworm Mine. 

Here Liv reports on their process and the unexpected outcomes.

We had an intense 8 weeks of collaborating, experimenting, testing. After some initial conversations, Nina and I discovered we had common interests and common ground – specifically soil and its polluted state. Professor Carole Collet facilitated the project, and the crits were really helpful and rigourous. It was great to be working in such a stimulating and busy environment in the MA Material Futures studio, amongst some really great designers, thinkers and makers. 

Our project, The Quantworm Mine, explores interspecies collaboration and the biodiversity of soil. Researching the power of earthworms to bioremediate contaminated soil in post-industrial sites, the two devised potential systems to harness this particular process. 

In our first weeks of the project, we were introduced to the fast emerging and alternative fields of Biodesign and synthetic biology. With visits from Bento Lab at Central Saint Martins – we also visited Imperial college’s synthetic biology lab, run by Dr Tom Ellis.

Our MA Art and Science course leader, Heather Barnett, ran a workshop with slime mould encouraging us to collaborate and work with living systems.

 

Visit from Bento lab to the Material Futures Studio.

 

Workshop: extracting DNA from a banana. 

 

In February, we visited a disused mine in South Wales and began to piece together Quantworm Industries System, where mining communities could be recast as quantum dot farms in which worms convert toxic ground into useful material. Current quantum dot production uses raw toxic materials and is not particularly sustainable; our project proposed a more natural production line, which also reverses damage done to the ground through decades of heavy industry.

 

Stevie the coal miner, explained to us the community spirit and comradery still felt from the mining industry.

The big pit coal mine, Blaenavon.

Within our proposition, eating the heavy metals on the ground the worms become biological producers of quantum dots, a material used in nano-technology for photo-voltaic cells. We discovered this research from a paper in Nature, by professor Mark Green at Kings College London. (Article by Wellcome Trust).

We had a final presentation of our projects. The work from the other teams were incredible. But only one team could go and we were chosen to represent Central Saint Martins. 

 

In June 2017, we presented BioDesign Challenge Summit, at MoMA, amongst over 20 other international teams and about 27 judges. The projects were wide ranging in their approach: some were more solution/ product based; a handful were in the critical design camp. 

 

Liv Bargman and Nina Cutler presenting their project at BioDesign Challenge Summit at MOMA, New York

We were announced as the winners and took home a trophy by artist, Luke Jerram.  See the list of all the winning projects here.

 

Towards the end of the year, another opportunity arose for us to go to NY again. We were invited to speak at Biofabricate in December 2017 at New Lab, Brooklyn – an annual summit for the emerging world of grown materials.

 

Last week at CSM was Green Week, hosted by Plural Futures. Our project is displayed in the big windows until the end of February. We even have some quantum dots on display, kindly donated from Professor Mark Green’s lab at Kings College London.  

And finally, our project will be in a new edition of Bio Design: Nature, Science, Creativity by William Myers, published by Thames & Hudson, out later in 2018.

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In my final thoughts on the project; I think the collaboration was fruitful. I hope that more of these collaborations happen with Material Futures. MA Art and Science attracts students with skills not just in the fine arts, and I think the course lends itself to projects like these.
 
The Biodesign project was a fast paced one, and I will be able to apply the rapid prototyping and storytelling to workplaces after I graduate in industry. Illustration is a good core skillset for visualising speculative and critical design, I’m sure to do a PhD in further exploring these connections. 
 
Nina and I are already working together again as part of UAL Futures Studio. In March, we’ll present a project on conscious networks, at an alternative UN summit on alternative narratives to emerging technologies; the environment and building local communities being in sharp focus. 

 

More about Plural Futures UAL Green Week 

More info on our project can be found via these links:

Article – written by Teleri Lloyd Jones

Nina Cutler’s work 

Liv Bargman’s work

 

 

Studio Complex at Tate Exchange

How Central Saint Martins took over Tate Exchange for a week to engage with the public in questioning the studio of the future…

London, once a city with overlooked spaces open to occupation and experimentation, has become an increasingly difficult environment for emerging artists. Those graduating from art school now find fewer spaces in which to work, with affordable studios a thing of the past. In the five-year period between 2014 and 2019, it is predicted that 30 per cent of artists’ studios in London will be lost (see GLA’s Artists’ Workshop Study). In response, artists challenged and re-invented the studio.

Here’s how students from MA Art and Science reimagined the studio of the future…

 

Maritina Keleri’s studio was the CVR Device experiment, where CVR stands for Cubist Visual Reality. Participants would have to wear the CVR goggles and try to draw what they would see through them; the goggles had mirrors at angles that would give a distorted view of the world, similar to a Cubist painting. The task was a challenge but all participants carried it out with humour! Children were curious to try the weird goggles and the grown-ups, shy at first, but nonetheless very willing to explore a ‘more interesting’ view, as many of them commented.  It was a pleasure to see what would each one create and what would catch their eye! 

 

CVR stands for cubist visual Reality  

 

Riko Yasumiya thinks about whether artists need to present work with technically high skill? The line is the simplest and easiest figure. Participants experienced how this simple figure makes complex images through this embroidery workshop” 

Lines(left), The experiment’s outcome (right)

 

Shannon Bono‘s studio is her bedroom… “As an emerging artist and student living in London, I rely on a positive space and attitude to keep me motivated and creative. My space consists of art, music and culture which I represented with the African aesthetics, classic records and my favourite sayings on the walls of the room. I encouraged people to participate in the space and write down important lessons learnt, words of advice and personal aspirations. I am a firm believer in the power of writing things down and watching them manifest, so to encourage artists and everyone else to keep motivated in the midst of the barriers we face.”

Shannon’s studio – my bedroom

 

For Tate Exchange Olga Suchanova presented a two day ‘Photogrammetry Yourself’ event. This event was a demonstration of how we are able to create a three-dimensional computer generated portrait from two-dimensional images. Afterwards, participants could find their three-dimensional portrait on the sketchfab.com website.

‘Photogrammetry Yourself’

 

An artist studio created by Ding Tianer and Lin Jie – a black triangular cloth prism, an inner space separated from the outside world for the artist to work. It is 1.6 meters for each side of the triangle and 2.2 meters tall. Follow the arrow and step inside. How do you feel? And discover the plastic mirrors behind the black cloth. Stay in the prism to feel the atmosphere inside it and go out again. How do you feel now? “The eastern people feel so depressed with the narrow space, dim light and hard to breathe. However, the western people feels quite comfortable inside and want to stay in it for a long time.”

a black triangular cloth prism

 

Lois Bentley created a post-disciplinary playground studio. She transformed the wiring loom of a Ford Ka by bringing it out and onto the operating table. Industrial gloves exchanged for medical ones. “What is this everyday object of tangled bright and black wires? People came and imagined with me. Two people went into an impromptu riff, which they were happy for me to record. People saw afresh and labelled and talked and learned and completed a forensically accurate map of the loom.” Lois collected treasure for the loom’s next outing.

My Ka wiring loom, forensically examined.

 

 

A vision of Julie Light and Jill Mueller‘s studio was the invisible interior of the human body. Each visitor to their studio space created a ‘cell’ depicting a microscopic view of the body’s insides. Some visitors took their inspiration from invented ‘specimen tubes’ and books where they could view images of tissue, cells, galaxies, seas and other natural forms, while others preferred to work entirely from their imagination. The result was an amazing array of different designs. As each ‘cell’ was completed, it was hung onto a body outline to create a composite vision of the microscopic human body, part of a participative artwork that Jill and Julie intend to add to over a series of events.

 

‘Our Studio Is Inside Your Body’

 

A second collaborative vision looked to the gallery and the Tate Modern as their studio space. Inspired by Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan’s Evidence (1977), Jill and Julie curated their own collection of photographs and then asked Tate visitors to give the work a title and theme. What story were these images telling? What did individual viewers see in them? As with Evidence, each viewer becomes an active participant in (re)creating the artwork, giving it new context and allowing meaning to emerge that draws on their unique experience and imagination.

‘Our Studio Is the Art Gallery’

 

Becky Lyon hosted Fragrant/ Futures at Tate Exchange as part of a wider body of research where she collected signals, thoughts and reactions from the public on how the future will ’sense’. “In particular I am interested in the sense of smell. This modality is highly personal to each individual and evokes a unique set of associations, emotions and memories. The data collected will feed into a resource that will be used to develop richer artistic responses around the future of the post-natural environment.  For the event, I prepared three different scents designed to evoke different types of future environment. Participants were invited to smell and write down what associations came to mind – is this a post-apocalyptic earth or a breath of fresh air? A restorative forest or slow-degrading plastic? I had brilliant, insightful conversations with the participants. Scent it seems is a gateway to disarming the audience, a subject that everyone can relate to and contribute to.”

Fragrant/ Futures

 

Jylle Navarro created aNeon Naked life drawing class in ultra violet light, where the participants can draw in neon pastels. The model wears fluorescent accessories and body paints. She engaged the audience by giving creative instruction such as draw in the style of pointillism or follow a continuous line and as well as many others. Jylle especially enjoyed teaching in the same building that is the home of some of the great iconic images that help influence the art world. She found the bold architecture of the Tate really complemented the class and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. More information is here – https://www.facebook.com/neonlifedrawingclass/

Neon Naked Life Drawing Class at the Tate Exchange

 

The Physical Digital Flow studio was a collaborative effort to question how contemporary artistic practices have to play with the interface between the physical and digital world. It consisted of three stations: Tactile Modelling with Tere Chad, Kinetic Audio with Pandora Peng, and Digital Tracing with Rose Mengmei Zhou. A video taster of how it went can be found here: https://vimeo.com/254149321

Pandora created Kinetic Audio station by using a conductive board. When people touched the patterns of the crystal, sounds were triggered. An interesting thing was the board sometimes does not work. This was a good experience for her to consider how to change the mindset to cope with this problem. She ended up as a performer using her own adapted behaviour to change the viewer’s feeling.  

Talking to the viewer

 

Walking, waving, scratching head, rolling some tape on the floor, or bouncing some balloons in the air. Rose’s digital tracing station became a playful experiment of generating patterns using movement of bodies, human and objects alike. By passing a camera live video feed of the space through a custom program, the traces of movement or stillness that usually go unnoticed were harvested digitally and projected. The traces accumulated until a “screengram” was taken, providing an alternative view of presence and brief history of the space, allowing the participants to react spontaneously with unexpected marks that was generated by their own bodies and surroundings. An archive of these screengrams can be found at the trail catcher account on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Imger3

Rose’s digital tracing station

 

For Sabrina Hasan the Tate Exchange studio participation was purely parasitic. “During the four hour set, I had an example of a parasite-host interaction presented as: two hung flame retardant coated sewn sculptures – stretched apart using a bright yellow spring, with the coils ranging from large to small. The spring exercised a potential volume that can be understood as a connector between the parasite and the new host environment. The spring acted as a physical manifestation for an interruption. This interaction was maintained within a framed structure. Accompanied with the area for potential learning and observing parasite-host interactions; was a computer dictated voice, articulating my Socio-Parasitology Manifesto. You need to interrupt in order to be parasitic. I collected data from the public’s responses to the work and the manifesto – they vocalised one interruption they have experienced.”

Socio Parasitology by Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan

 

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