A child throwing dried leaves into the air

Day of Action to Remember Nature

Tranquil City Collaboration: 2019

Some of us teamed up with Tranquil City to create a workshop activity to be included in the Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival. Tranquil City is a charitable organisation running ‘tranquil’ walks which encourage contemplation, discovery and an engagement with the local history and urban environment in London.

Specifically aimed at the local community in Newham, we asked participants to use words to co-create a skyline of the River Lea. We hoped participants would be able to write their thoughts, feelings and hopes in spaces earmarked for immanent development. The event took place in July at Cody Dock and again in the Olympic Park.

a photo of the River Lea with the words 'wellbeing and the national park city, Tranquil City, UAL, Codydock. Mayor of London, London National park City'.

Codydock Flyer, July 2019

 

a hand drawing words onto the rRver Lea skyline

Word Drawing at Codydock, 2019

a group of people leaning over and adding to the word-drawing

Olympic Park

 

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

Shannon Bono in the studio

OPEN DIALOGUE / BLACK HISTORY MONTH

MA Art and Science student, Shannon Bono, discusses representation at Central Saint Martins and reflects on the accomplishments and steps to progress of the BAME (black Asian and minority ethnic) students of UAL during Black History Month.

(The first section of this piece was first published on the Post-grad community blog). 

 

My experience at UAL has been amazing so far, it’s an art school that provides plenty of opportunities and resources for their current students and alumni. However, when I started studying at Central Saint Martins, I noticed the lack of African/Caribbean representation amongst the students and I had no knowledge of black tutors or technicians. When speaking with current students concerning the low numbers of people of colour (POC), I was informed that the majority of black employees were only accounted for as cleaning, kitchen and beverage staff. Not to discredit the wonderful staff at the college who have helped me countlessly, but POC representation matters.

‘It makes a black girl like me wonder what lies in my future as an artist. Are the low numbers of black people at CSM due to cultural upbringing? A lack of awareness of the careers in the arts? Or is it financial concerns?’

According to the Universities equality, diversity and inclusion report for 2017 only 31% of BAME students applied for a first-year undergraduate course, 42% of students were from BAME back-rounds, 29% were UK/home students and 85% were international students. I applaud UAL for realising the gap and their action to pursue and bridge the gap yet still these numbers are not detailed enough or specific to black people. It also excludes the percentage of black teachers, so what is the percentage of African/Caribbean students across the schools?

Whilst walking through CSM one day I stumbled upon a poster advertising an open discussion based on the lack of diversity and people of colour at the college.  I am the only black person within both year 1 and year 2 of my course. I wanted to discuss and exchange stories and experiences whilst also connecting with other creatives of colour. Walking into the room was an obvious answer to the question of diversity at the college, there were 6 of us in total including Kelly Walters… (Project leader and visiting academic in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins)

Kelly Walters is a Designer, Educator and Curator whose work investigates the intersection of Black cultural vernacular in mainstream media. She feels her role as a Designer is to understand how socio-political frameworks and shifting technology influence the sounds, symbols and style of black people. Kelly lead the conversation by asking us to discuss our experiences within the university…then the spark was ignited.

During the meeting we discussed our personal stories, experiences and thoughts on what it meant to be an African-Caribbean artist; if we identify as artists of colour and finally does this fact affect our art practices. These conversations resulted in the planning and fruition of the ‘Open Dialogue’ exhibition.

The event/exhibition was packed full of emerging talented artists across the UAL colleges, both current and alumni as well as POC outside the university curious to see what UAL had to offer. An array of insightful and thought-provoking talks were presented, and the artists spoke about their own understandings of being artists of the African Diaspora. The exhibition highlighted the shared complexities of race, identity politics, gender stereotypes, sexuality and religious views present within the Afro-Caribbean community; alongside art-making practices. The stories of being either the only or one of two black people in their courses were very common, so knowing I wasn’t alone in this experience was interesting. 

The event was definitely a success and alive with the appropriate music from Afrobeats to Hip-Hop and snacks which included plantain chips and chin-chin. Everyone was connected and engaged which made all the work put into it very rewarding. I was able to speak with alumni from the university and see myself in their success. I was given a lot of advice, inspiration and made a few friends too. I appreciate Kelly Walters for coming all the way from America to London to bring together all these amazing creatives of colour.

‘…just to have a convening of black students, that’s something that seems rare and I’ve been looking for since I came here and it’s nice to hear from people that were older and more experienced. It was a good reference point if you wanted to know what steps to make in your career, what not to do, what attitudes to have. It was cool too see the different paths people took to either fashion or doing fine art. It was good to have the social aspect and connecting with other students that might be BA or MA and good that it was across UAL too’.  

– Madelynn Mae Green (MA Fine Art, CSM)

The event led by Kelly Walters (Project leader and visiting academic in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins)

Staff Support:  Rebecca Wright, (programme Director – Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins) Peter Hall (Course Leader – BA Graphic Design, Central Saint Martins) Kate Pelen (External Liaison Coordinator – Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins) Mike McShane (Tech Support – Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins)

Student Support: Anoushka Khandwala, Inês Costa, Terrayne Brown, Ella Okoromadu, Tyler Prior, Simba Ncube, Favour Jonathan, Rayvenn D’Clark and Shannon Bono

Participating Artists + Designers: Carianne Annan, Alicia-Pearl Cato (presenter), Indiana Lawrence, Moyosore Iyanalu Briggs, Fadzayi Sango, Madelynn Mae Green, Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh (presenter), Daniel Chapman, Favour Jonathan, Imann Gaye, Julie Wright, Glory Samjolly, Rayvenn Shaeligha D’Clark (presenter), Jawara Alleyne (presenter), Shannon Bono, Uzoma Orji, Victoria Ohuruogu, Nas Connie, Terrayne Brown, Rebecca Bellantoni, Tyler Prior (presenter), Dami Vaughan (presenter), Ella Okoromadu, Inês Barbosa da Costa, Andrew Hart (presenter), Ashton Attzs, Gabriel Choto, Roseanne Ofori-Darkwah, Sandra Poulson and Simba Ncube.

Photo credit: Anoushka Khandwala, Rayvenn Shaeligha D’Clark, Dami Vaughan

An extension of Open Dialogue led to the ‘Normal to Dissent’ (5th-26th April) exhibition in the Lethaby Gallery and Window Galleries at CSM. Window two included the artist statements of all contributing artists of the Open Dialogue exhibition courtesy of Kelly Walters.

Attainment conference 2018 (11th July) The UAL Attainment Conference provides a space for staff, from all colleges and services, to come together to understand the strategic and systematic approach the university is taking to achieve this goal. It will also allow staff to share practice and gain confidence in effecting the change that is needed to close the gaps, building on existing attainment work, platforms and initiatives from across UAL. Rayvenn D’Clark and I were asked to present on our existing practices and digress on the Open Dialogue experiences and outcomes.

Lucy Panesar Educational Developer (Diversity and Inclusion) Lead the Attainment Conference 2018

Open Dialogue goes global! Kelly Walters and Rayvenn D’Clark presented Open Dialogue at the Reconstructing practice conference (13th – 14th July) Art Center of Design Pasadena. This conference included the works of all the Open Dialogue artists. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion to all these projects branching off Open Dialogue, a publication is in the works with contributions from all the artists involved!

As well as this a few artists from UAL will come together to exhibit at the Copeland Gallery in October in celebration of Black History Month! (details below)

Photo credit: Rayvenn Shaeligha D’Clark, Gareth Johnson and Arts SU

 

 

CSM X CMS: Entangled

CSM X CMS: Entangled | 14 – 17 June | MA Art and Science 2017

 

CSM X CMS: Entangled 

DATES: Wed 14 – Sat 17 June 2017

LOCATION: Four Corners Gallery, London, 121 Roman Road, E2 0QN, Bethnal Green

OPENING TIMES: Wed to Sat | 10.00 – 18.00

PRIVATE VIEW: Thurs 15 June | 18.00 – 20.30

A3-high res-CRN

Placing themselves firmly at the centre of contemporary Art and Science discourse, nineteen artists from Central Saint Martins respond to their December 2016 visit to CERN and the CMS detector in their exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, London, June 14-17, 2017. The striking array of work confirms that when creative minds grasp universal concepts, at the core of our material understanding of the universe, you can expect the unexpected.

About the Exhibition

Sculpture, film, printmaking, sound and art installations are just some of the outcomes from reflections on their surprising discoveries from the trip, including a rare look at the inside of the CMS detector experiment, particles in cloud chambers that may help us understand climate change, and the baffling quantity and randomness of data produced to confirm minute particle reactions.

Additionally, there is the memorable impression of the deeper social context of the institution itself. Often in parallel with what drives artists, scientists are striving to grasp the unknown and offer their discoveries to humanity in an ethos of sharing and openness. Artists recognise the exhilaration of new perspectives relating to what we are made of and, also seek to make fresh connections and intuitive leaps in understanding.

In preparation for the exhibition, between 8-11 May a number of the artists returned to CERN for further research and collaboration with the physicists. During the exhibition workshops, artist talks and other activities will take place in the gallery space. We are grateful to CMS and art@cms for making our visits possible.

 

Participating Artists

Allison Barclay-Michaels, Stephen Bennett, Joshua Bourke, Amy Knight, Reggy Liu, Maria Macc, Fiona Morf, Jill Mueller, Priya Odedra, Helen O’Donoghue, Yun Peng, Lisa Pettibone, Heather Scott, Hannah Scott, Nicolas Strappini, Olga Suchanova, Bekk Wells, Victoria Westerman and guest artist Andy Charalambous (CSM lecturer and CERN consultant in association with Imperial College, London)

 

MA Art and Science at Imperial College

Words and images by Neus Torres Tamarit, Nicolas Strappini, Stephen Bennett, Heather Scott, Hazel Chiang; edited by Stephen Bennett

April 2017 saw a collaboration between MA Art and Science and Imperial College, at the Centre for Doctoral Training Festival of Science and Art. Several artists from the course exhibited their works at the college, an interactive data visualisation was conducted, and other students engaged in the lively debate and discussion during the event’s seminars and lectures.

The Centres emphasise cross-disciplinary collaboration at their heart. Specific Centres focus on issues which do not have an obvious home in existing academic institutions or infrastructures, and include ‘Advanced Characterisation of Materials’, ‘Mathematics of Planet Earth’ and ‘Controlled Quantum Dynamics’.

The Centres are natural partners for Central Saint Martin’s MA Art and Science. The MA course also has cross-disciplinary collaboration at its core. For example, Neus Torres Tamarit is an artist with 10 years of experience exhibiting work at the national and international level. Ben Murray has 20 years’ experience including working in bioinformatics and genomics. The two collaborated to produce work which explores the idea that an organism is limited by the success of the mutations of its ancestors. Confined Mutations, on display at the Festival, shows three abstract entities that progress through a sequence of changes, eventually looping around to beginning. The forms are trapped in an endless cycle, representing evolved features that constrain future structural mutations and cannot be undone.

The project has resulted from a creative process involving risk taking, failure and uncertainty, with both the creators’ disciplinary backgrounds shaping the work at key points. Neus developed certain aesthetic forms through object oriented programing in Java code. Ben modified the code to create different shapes using random seeds. Neus then saw a strong connection between the shape and the diagram about the recurring laryngeal nerve in mammals that has evolved from fish, which, because of adaptation, has become entangled with the system of arteries.

Confined Mutations, Neus Torres Tamarit and Ben Murray

Confined Mutations, Neus Torres Tamarit and Ben Murray

Nicolas Strappini produced work for the festival which explores the importance of creative processes in both art and science. He has investigated the use of electricity as an artistic tool, using a Wimshurst machine to charge up plastic surfaces with electricity then dusting toner powders on the surface. Through this, Nicolas has visualised the invisible Lichtenberg figures left in the plastics: the works are direct visual representations of electricity. Nicolas used the festival to engage with scientists about the processes at play in his work. For example, MRes student Jeevan Soor helped Nicolas discover how James Maxwell’s equations describe Lichtenberg figures. Nicolas also learnt more about how the toner dusting method he has used to make artworks is also used in forensic science. Not dissimilar to Nicolas’ process for the Festival, forensic scientists use a device that generates static charge, and the charge draws the dust from the print on to the black plastic.

Static, Nicolas Strappini

Static, Nicolas Strappini

Stephen Bennett took the concept of engagement and collaboration a step further. He presented an empty grid, showing only 10 degree intervals of longitude and latitude. He then asked Festival attendees at the Imperial Science Festival “Where are you from?” Upon deciding their answer, participants took a transparent red square and affixed it to a grid map of the world. Thus, the scientists at the festival were the people who created the artwork.

“But I don’t know where I am from!” – attendee at the Festival

As well as exploring questions of authorship and collaboration, the exercise probed at questions relating to identity, maps and statistics. One student mused “I was born in Mumbai, but feel British” – where do I stick the square?  A Chinese student assumed that the large cluster of dots in the middle of the map represented China, on the basis that “whenever I see a map of the world China is in the middle of it”. Her partner, from South Carolina, argued that the centre of the map was more likely to represent Britain. Another lady, from Cyprus, put her sticker in the far bottom right (near the coordinates for Australia), initially thinking the map showed Europe. Some individuals deliberately disrupted the data. One placed about seven of the transparent squares on China “to make it redder”. Another placed three stickers, representing three parts of the world he had spent time in during his early years (Chile, UK and the Middle East).

Interactive Data Visualisation of student identity: Imperial Science Festival 2017, Stephen Bennett

Interactive Data Visualisation of student identity: Imperial Science Festival 2017, Stephen Bennett

Interaction was also at the heart of Heather Scott’s installation for the Festival. The piece explored what is happening inside and beyond a Kerr-Newman solution to a black hole. Using spheres to house these manifestations, like the energy built up inside a black hole and dimensions cracking into ours, it creates an interactive piece where the viewer can walk around, see into and watch these different aspects. As with Stephen and Nicolas, Heather also used the opportunity to meet with scientists, some of whom worked on issues related to black holes. Heather asked audience about their own views on what is inside or beyond a black hole. She knew from previous experience that everyone appears to have very differing opinions. The Festival provided an opportunity to find out what scientists thought, why they have that idea, and exchanging what Heather has learnt about the different possibilities through her artistic practice.

Installation, Heather Scott

Installation, Heather Scott

Hazel Chiang uses art to push at the boundaries of what science can really tell us, and when science may break down. She based her work on the “liar paradox” (“this sentence is false”) which indicates the formal logic system may break down work when things are self-referential. The arrow in Hazel’s piece, shown below, can never reach its target since the target and bowstring are the same thing. As science is based on logic, limitations will show when trying to examine the system itself. However, we can spot this error because our mind is more than this tool. Hazel’s postulation is that the reality and the language of science might not fit as we always assume.

Liar Paradox, Hazel Chiang

Liar Paradox, Hazel Chiang

MA Art and Science Pathway Leader, Heather Barnett, also exhibited work from The Physarum Experiments, an ongoing ‘collaboration’ with an intelligent slime mould.

The Physarum Experiments Study No: 019 The Maze, by Heather Barnett

The Physarum Experiments Study No: 019 The Maze, by Heather Barnett

If you are inspired by these art and science collaborations, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram, share this blog and come and see our work! There are some good opportunities to see our work in forthcoming exhibitions:

  • The MA Art and Science 2017 degree show, Third Matter, takes place between Wed 24 – Sun 28 May at 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA (third floor). The opening times are Wed to Fri 12.00 – 20.00 | Sat to Sun 12.00 – 18.00.
  • CSM × CMS: Entangled, a show about MA Art and Science’s collaboration with CERN particle physics laboratory, takes place from June 14-17, 2017 at the Four Corners Gallery in London. Opening times are 10:00-6:00pm.
  • MA Art and Students are in the middle of a residency at THECUBE London, focused on Embodiment and Emotion. Attend one of the Em-Em events, visible here, to meet some interesting speakers and see their art.

Work from MA Art and Science recently published in Interalia Magazine

Interalia Magazine is an online platform dedicated to the interactions between the arts, sciences and consciousness. Several staff, students and graduates from MA Art and Science have published work in the interdisciplinary magazine in the three years since it began. 

Recent publications include two contributions for Emerging Ideas from current students, Stephen Bennett and Tere Chad

Stephen’s article, available here, considers the role that art can play in the gap between science and public decision-making. Data visualisation and maps are central to his analysis, as evidenced by recent works such as Data stained glass showing projected impact of climate change on Middle East, and Transparent data maps, Bristol Channel (both pictured). Stephen’s work is particularly relevant to this month’s edition of Interalia magazine which is entitled Earth, and explores the Arts and Sciences relating to Climate Change, Ecology and Ecosystems, Geology, Soil Culture, and the Anthropocene Era.

Data stained glass showing projected impact of climate change on Middle East (stained glass, chalk, light). Data originally sourced from http://www.climatewizard.org

Stephen Bennett (2017) Data stained glass showing projected impact of climate change on Middle East (stained glass, chalk, light). Data originally sourced from http://www.climatewizard.org

Transparent data maps, Bristol Channel (glass paint on glass, wooden stand)

Stephen Bennett (2016) Transparent data maps, Bristol Channel (glass paint on glass, wooden stand)

In the February 2017 issue, Tere Chad was the subject of an article relating to Fusion – Haka Piri. The article, available here, describes Tere Chad’s goldsmith collection which has been inspired by Easter Island archaeology and culture. Examples of Tere Chad’s jewellery are pictured below.

Fusion - Haka Piri

Tere Chad (2016) Fusion – Haka Piri

Fusion- Haka Piri

Tere Chad (2016) Fusion- Haka Piri

Future editions of Interalia magazine involving MA Art and Science include the September 2017 issue which will be co-edited by Heather Barnett (Pathway Leader for MA Art and Science). The issue, The Subjective Lives of Others, will bring together essays and art works exploring nonhuman subjectivity and collective behaviour.

Gallery from our Art and Science fundraising workshops

MA Art and Science fundraising workshops, March 2016

 

In March 2016, MA Art and Science staff and students ran a range of creative workshops exploring observations and experimentations in art and science at Central Saint Martins.

With many sessions selling out, participants gained some knowledge and hands-on experience with a range of techniques, including slime mould problem solving, microbial image making, nebula bottling, water mapping, microscopy inspired glass sculpting and chemigram making. The creative art and science workshops were designed for adults and young people.

All proceeds went towards the MA Art and Science Degree Show, Unfolding Realities which opens to the public 25-29 May 2016.

 

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To see details of each individual workshop see them listed here.

 

Graduate Profile: Melanie King (2013)

Name: Melanie King

Year of graduation: 2013

Lumen Studios, Crypt Space

Lumen Studios, Crypt Space

What are you doing now?

I am doing a lot of things! I have begun an MPhil at the Royal College of Art, where I’m focusing on what I call “celestography”, which means “to draw from the heavens”. In my practice, I am working on many different ways of interacting with celestial objects through the use of film, photography and sound. 

After graduating myself, fellow MA Art and Science graduate Louise Beer, and Raymond Hemson set up a collective called Lumen. In 2013, Lumen began holding exhibitions about astronomy in churches to raise a dialogue about how humanity understands existence. Since then we have begun a Lumen residency in Atina, Italy, which has been an amazing experience. We provide artists with accommodation and a studio, organise trips to observatoriesand arrange exhibitions in Italian churches. Last year was absolutely fantastic, and we’re really looking forward to the next residency in September. 

Coming up in May, we are also organising an open call for projections and light installations themed on the subject of “astronomical light” at Stour Space in Hackney. 

We are also holding regular exhibitions and events at our studio, which is based in The Crypt of St John on Bethnal Green. Our next event is 5 May, and involves a number of performances and sound installations around the theme of delay.

Myself and Louise Beer run a curatorial project Aether, which began at the University of the Arts London Showroom Gallery. Since then we have organised an exhibition with the Jarvis Dooney Galerie in Berlin and on 29th April, we’ll be opening another Aether exhibition at Imperial College London.

Aether UAL Install Shot

Aether UAL Install Shot

What have you done since graduation?

In 2015, myself and fellow MA Art and Science graduate Jaden Hastings collaborated on a world record sized cyanotype in Goa, India at The Story of Light festival. This was a fantastic experience, as we got to live and work in India for three weeks, meet lots of people from around the world and had some opportunities to hang out on beautiful Goa beaches! 

Following this, myself, Constanza Isaza Martinez and Andres Pantoja collaborated on another world record cyanotype which was 15 metres by 7 metres across. This was part of the On Light series of events organised by The Wellcome Trust and University College London.

In 2015, I was also lucky enough to undertake a residency at Four Corners Film in Bethnal Green, who helped me to create a new body of work on the subject of astronomy. This residency led to the development of my research towards the MPhil I am now studying. 

World record cyanotype

World record cyanotype

What did you work on whilst undertaking the MA Art and Science?

My research on the MA Art and Science was focused on the subject of the bubble as a metaphor for the brevity of life, in both the history of art and science. I compared 17th Century Dutch Vanitas paintings to inflation theory and multiverse theory. This is a body of research I am still developing, as I’m now interested in how scientists explain theories which are unrepresentable.

The MA also gave me an opportunity to develop my darkroom skills. On the MA, I made a cyanotype a day for 250 days as I wanted to capture light from the Sun on to photosensitive material, as the Earth spun on its axis. I also did the Alternative Photography short course with Guy Paterson at CSM, which taught me how to use liquid light, gum bichromate and Van Dyck Brown in a very short amount of time.

For the CSM degree show piece, I created daguerreotypes of soap bubbles and worked with the Aaronson Noon glass-blowing studios to capture the shape of my breath in 3 dimensions.

Bubble aether

Bubble aether

What did you gain from doing the MA Art and Science?

The MA in Art and Science is completely unique, as we were given regular lectures and workshops with artists and scientists. We had the opportunity to participate in a project with the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit at Oxford University, which then gave me the confidence to approach other scientific institutions to work with.

The location of the MA in London is crucial, as London benefits from a wealth of scientific institutions, lectures, workshops and events that aren’t really found elsewhere. The optional MRes Theory and Philosophy lectures by Chris Kul Want were offered to us, and these lectures were fundamental for the development of my research to MPhil. Overall, the MA Art and Science helped me to understand the value of practice based research, and is something that will be of value for the rest of my life. During the course, I worked as a (paid!) intern for The Arts Catalyst which gave me an insight into working in the field of art and science.

Practically, I also found a great part-time job in 2013 with the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) based at London College of Communication with the UAL agency ArtsTemps. This job supported me through the difficult post-graduation period but I have also learned a lot about contemporary photography during my time there. 

In May 2015, I organised the Shadows symposium on traditional photography processes at Camberwell College of Art alongside PARC, and they have been very supportive about my creative endeavours outside of working for them as an administrator. 

Planet Mercury Daguerreotype

Planet Mercury Daguerreotype

What did you do before joining the course?

I moved out of my home at 17, so my journey to the MA course wasn’t completely smooth. I worked full time in depressing office jobs in my home city of Manchester until I was about 20, and completed an Access Course to HE in Art and Design at Stockport College during this time. In retrospect this time was great, as it taught me that a full time soulless job in an office is my idea of hell and that I should do everything in my power to avoid it! Instead, I try to spend as much time as I can on my passions.

After my Access Course, I then went to study a BA in Fine Art at Leeds College of ArtDuring my BA, I experimented with lots of processes such as printmaking, casting, darkroom photography, drawing, painting, collage and sculpture. As a result of this BA, the multi-disciplinary approach to art is now quite natural to me. 

I’m glad that I did not focus on one specific practice, as I now feel that I have freedom to approach artistic concepts in a number of different ways!

www.melaniek.co.uk