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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

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

 

If you are inspired by some of these art and science experiments, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram and share this blog.

Art & Science experiments at This is an Art School at Tate Exchange

How Central St Martins took over the Tate for a week to engage with the public on art, science, education and politics

Jewellery evoking the most isolated inhabited place on the planet. A collectively constructed oversize data visualisation of climate change affecting the Indus Valley. A giant pinhole camera capturing the Shard. A wall comprised solely of doodles. Therapy. Experiments measuring the heartbeats and brainwaves of individuals engaging in various activities. Collages created by solar light.

Where can you see all of this under one roof? A science lab? A toyshop? The library of a medical research institution? NASA?!

”Liberate yourself from your dearest objects” – Çağlar Tahiroğlu 

Actually the usual answer is the studio of Central Saint Martin’s MA Art and Science programme. Here, on a given day, you will find students using embroidery thread to measure perceptions of identity, making solar prints, carving marble (and measuring their heartbeat as they do so), using cola cans to produce long exposures of the sun’s trajectory through winter. However, except for one day a year, the studio is the preserve of the students and tutors involved in the course, and not ordinarily open to the public.

But for the week of 9th January this all changed. Central Saint Martins brought the studio out of the university and into the public in the week long event ‘THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL’. And what more public setting than the fifth floor of the Tate’s new Switch House building, overlooking the Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, a sizeable number of luxury new flats, and, well, half of London.

Gallery visitors collaborating to paint a projection of climate change

Gallery visitors collaborating to paint a projection of climate change

Indeed it seemed like half of London came out to join us. Perhaps persuaded by press coverage in the Guardian, Evening Standard and Channel 4 News, waves of visitors descended on the Tate Exchange, the Tate’s space ‘for everyone to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art’.

As a result, Olga Suchanova guided 448 people through her camera obscura, the same basic device used by Aristotle, da Vinci and Vermeer to observe the world (and nowadays used for such diverse purposes as astronomy, art, medicine and high-energy physics). Enthusiastic viewers included teachers who are inspired to build a camera obscura in their school playground, and visitors who now want to open their own version as an art gallery.

Light, through a pinhole, on black canvas; 5th floor of the Tate Exchange

Light, through a pinhole, on black canvas; 5th floor of the Tate Exchange

The camera obscura worked better on sunny days, and solar radiation also played a key role in Lisa Pettibone’s homemade photographic prints. ‘Students’ (curious members of the public) created collages on special photosensitive paper, using materials such as sand, glitter, foil, string and hair clips. Collages were then placed next to the Tate’s large windows to expose, and after 20 minutes would bear an elaborate series of negative shapes flattened onto a pictorial surface.

“It wasn’t the creativity or kind of zen order that surprised me most about the Tate art school. It was the crackling atmosphere that permeated the experimental thrust of it all” – Lisa Pettibone

Collages made by exposing light onto photosensitive paper

Collages made by exposing light onto photosensitive paper

Audience participation underpinned a number of the ‘lessons’ taking place in THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL. Tere Chadwick’s interactive events included a talk on books about Easter Island, an origami-packaging workshop, and a weeklong display of 21 goldsmith pieces based on Easter Island culture and archaeology. UNESCO has declared this Polynesian culture a World Heritage site for its uniqueness in being the most isolated inhabited place in the planet. Tere had political messages in her work. On the one hand, she considers whether globalisation is driving ethnic cultures to lose their identity. On the other, she uses her origami workshop to show how packaging could be made much more sustainable: a single sheet of recyclable paper is folded into a sturdy box.

Using a single sheet of recyclable paper to create sufficient packaging for an object

Using a single sheet of recyclable paper to create sufficient packaging for an object

Gary Scott’s interactive work also had an important political dimension. ‘Students’ were asked to produce a doodle without ‘thinking’. They were encouraged not to be considered in their approach but to ‘play’ to allow input direct from the unconscious and to express the creative impulse. The global concerns of our time (resolving conflict, climate change, immigration and a tough economic environment, etc) require creative solutions. Gary believes there is a danger that our education system is producing a generation who think within the ‘academic’ box. If creative subjects could be made compulsory at secondary school, he contends, we would be a richer, more contented and balanced society that would find better solutions to the big issues. Gary’s wall of doodles was designed to inspire and ignite creativity in individuals, but was also a call for change.

“This project might not seem like a big deal to the ‘art world’ but for people who feel marginalised or even afraid of art, the opportunity to contribute to an installation at the Tate presented a powerful message” – Gary Scott

Can you spot which was drawn by the two-year old, and which by the professional artist?

Can you spot which was drawn by the two-year old, and which by the professional artist?

Building walls is topical at the moment, and it is interesting that another was created by Stephen Bennett, one also containing a political message. However, instead of a message of divide, this wall could only be built through collaboration. Working with whoever wanted to sit down and paint, Stephen relied on gallery visitors to produce 64 single 15x15cm sheets of different colours. When put together, they formed a giant, homemade data visualisation of the climate change affecting the Indus Valley on the Pakistan-India border. Stephen’s work was an experiment to consider whether people become more invested in evidence when they actively participate in its creation, especially when it takes the identity of a piece of art.

A homemade data visualisation of climate change in the Indus Valley

A homemade data visualisation of climate change in the Indus Valley

Ellie Sher also created a participant-built data visualisation, innovatively using embroidery thread to capture information. Ellie is interested in the psychological and philosophical questions surrounding identity; how we communicate our identity and what strands of identity are most pivotal to our sense of self. Her piece at the Tate explored the top 3 strands of identity selected by people, who chose different colours of thread and matched it to different notches on a constructed frame. Some examples of the strands include cultural, social, memories, genetics, aura, and work. There was a lot of interaction with the piece. It raised a lot of questions and provoked discussion, as the topic of identity often does, but also resulted in a beautiful and fragile piece of art.

Pick your colour thread… and identify yourself!

Pick your colour thread… and identify yourself!

Data collection also underpinned Juan Perez’s work, which is centred on real-time sculpting of marble. This marble piece is only worked upon whilst exhibited. Data is collected from the performer’s oxygen levels and heart rate, whilst performing. An invitation is made for the viewer to be part of the piece, by adding his/her own oxygen and heart rates to the database, and, if desired, for their information to be used and uploaded to the web, as this project grows. The piece, titled ‘Work in Progress’ is an on-going project that constantly develops ways to question the relationships that our bodies have with the realms of art, physical labour, desire and globalisation.

Juan Perez, collecting his own oxygen and heart rate data whist sculpting

Juan Perez, collecting his own oxygen and heart rate data whist sculpting

Monika Dorniak’s interactive event also explored how important body processes responded to artistic performances. Her workshop provided information about body rhythms including heartbeats, breathing and brain waves, and the effect of various stimuli (stress, relaxation) on them. Monika then worked with participants to create short performances in partnerships or groups using rhythms such as clapping, whistling, breathing and others. She supported individuals and groups to develop exercises, and perform to the public. The partner work, in particular, aimed to strengthen group bonds by acknowledging similarities, instead of differences: a collective synchronisation.

Body rhythms explored through specially designed exercises and performances

Body rhythms explored through specially designed exercises and performances

Çağlar Tahiroğlu further developed the art-as-therapy theme in her drop-in performance/workshop entitled Liberate Yourself from your Dearest Objects. Participants were invited to reflect on what they want to liberate themselves from, engage reflective discussion with each other and create representative clay figurines (or depose a real object!). Finally, they put their work into a collective square, which then forms a group sculpture-in-progress. There was an enthusiastic response from participants. Some revealed intimate subjects; discussion were rich and interesting. Different groups of people led to different results. An important finding was how flexible the art-therapy theoretical framework is, and how it can blend into a fine art context without losing its depth. The experiment has provided Çağlar with a quantity of ideas about how to interact with the public in different contexts and different ways to go further in this research.

Çağlar Tahiroğlu, liberating gallery-visitors from their dearest objects

Çağlar Tahiroğlu, liberating gallery-visitors from their dearest objects

Bekk Wells worked with workshop participants to build an enclosure out of sheets and blankets, similar to the forts and dens built by children. For most of the afternoon the structure was full to capacity with people getting to know one another and sharing stories. Bekk commented, “It was a successful exercise in modifying the built environment in order to change in the social environment. It’s surprising how relatively minor interventions can create a new kind of space.”

Tate Fort by Bekk Wells

Tate Fort by Bekk Wells

Neus Torres Tamarit devised and ran two related activities under the banner of ‘Metagenomics in Art’. The first was recombining and sequencing printed strips of three original artworks displayed at Tate Britain and Tate Modern using human metagenome sequences as reference. The artworks are; Los Moscos by Mark Bradford, The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, Ophelia Sequenced I by Neus Torres Tamarit from the original Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, and mirrored strips that reflect the environment. The second activity consisted of creating artificial DNA sequences using red, blue, green and yellow plasticine, colours that are normally used to represent the four nucleotides of DNA.

Metagenomics In Art by Neus Torres Tamarit (picture by Ben Smith)

Metagenomics In Art by Neus Torres Tamarit (picture by Ben Smith)

If you are inspired by some of these art and science experiments, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram and share this blog. And come see our work in exhibition at the MA Interim Show, Somehow You and I Collide (16-19 March, Mangle, 2-18 Warburton Rd, London E8 3FN), the degree show (24-28 May, Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA).