Archives for posts with tag: Elizabeth Murton

We decide to build a wall.

Add some signage designed by Daniel Clark and we are ready for our first Open Lab. at Guest Projects.

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The idea is that we work in the space and are open for visitors to drop in and see what we are up to and chat about the work and the ideas around dark matter research that we are investigating.

We set up a reading table and information hub with artist profiles, research material and info on Boulby Underground Laboratory   which we visited last spring to discover for ourselves this hidden world where dark matter research and experiments take place.

During the first two weeks at Guest Projects we ran workshops and tested ideas in the space.

Chroma-key body suits needed a test run from Amy Gear.

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Elizabeth Murton was considering dark matter as a connective material in the universe, setting up a tension of competing forces that may be as powerful as those of fission and fusion.

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I ran Cloud Chamber workshops.

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Thankfully everyone was able to ‘capture’ their own particle trails in the mini cloud chambers they made and were duly captivated by the tiny missiles they observed.

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The cloud chamber gives us a glimpse into the invisible world of particles produced in the radioactive decay of naturally occurring elements and those generated when cosmic rays strike the top of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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It is a sealed environment containing a supersaturated vapour of pure alcohol, warmed at the top and super cooled at the bottom with dry ice.

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Charged particles passing through the chamber cause the alcohol molecules to gain an electric polarisation and condense into liquid droplets which look like tiny airplane trails.

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To see the trails the particles leave as they tear through the cloud it must be very dark with a bright light shining across the floor of the chamber.

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The activity takes place very near to the base of the chamber just a centimetre or two deep.

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There is so much activity going on and these particles are whizzing through us all the time.

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It seems we shouldn’t actually see some of these visitors at all but due to the weird way special relativity works we do. Muons are typically produced around 15 km up in the atmosphere, a distance which takes around 50 microseconds to cross at the speed of light— this is over 20 muon lifetimes and so they shouldn’t be able to make it to the earth’s surface before they decay.

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However, since they are travelling quite near the speed of light, time in their frame of reference is significantly dilated as seen by an observer on Earth, meaning that a significant fraction can, in fact, make it to the surface. I have to be honest I can’t get my head round this but I love the idea of a particle having its own time frame of reference.

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As well as Muons we see particles from background radiation. Radioactivity is a random naturally occurring process.  Alpha particles are released by high mass, proton rich unstable nuclei. The alpha particle is a helium nucleus; it consists of two protons and two neutrons. It contains no electrons to balance the two positively charged protons. Alpha particles are positively charged particles moving at high speeds. Beta particles are emitted by neutron rich unstable nuclei. Beta particles are high energy electrons. These electrons are not electrons from the electron shells around the nucleus, but are generated when a neutron in the nucleus splits to form a proton and an accompanying electron. Beta particles are negatively charged. For the particle to cause a trail it must have a charge which will ionize the vapour as they pass through, we don’t see neutrinos as they do not have a charge.

1704 Cosmic Trail 2Once you have the right set up it’s surprisingly easy to witness this turbulent landscape with it’s own little microclimate.

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Melanie King ran a day of hypnotic workshops painting with phosphorescent powder and using lasers to activate the phosphorescence which absorbs light then slowly releases it, allowing patterns to build up, layer and fade away.

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The very knowledgeable Jennifer Crouch founder of Making in Transit and member of Art/Physics collective Jiggling Atoms ran a Super Symmetry workshop for us transforming the space with shimmering two way reflective veils

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explaining the different types of particle and how easy or not it is to detect them, the contested theories of supersymmetry and the use of a black mirror (Claude glass) for observing nature

new particles were ‘created’, observed and drawn

Amy Gear invited anyone who identified as female to join a green screen/self defence workshop under the guidance of martial arts expert Jiff Higman to explore the visibility of women in the universe. The points of body contact echoing the anticipated nudge of the target xenon nucleus when a dark matter particle hits it and causes a scintillation of energy that the scientists can record. In the final video work only 5% of the bodies will be visible.

There was a spellbinding Hour Of Listening curated by Jennifer Boyd and Amy Pettifer. As the light faded we listened to Dark Matter Gushes From The Mouth Into The Open Air – ‘Latent gurgles, murmurs rising… a tone begins in the depths of the belly and strives in the throat before escaping – a burst of vocal dark matter. ‘

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Jocelyn Monroe, Professor of Physics at the Royal Holloway University of London kindly shared some links to her research areas.

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She works in an underground laboratory SNOLAB where the DEAP dark matter search experiment takes place in Canada. She also works with the The Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber project and has written an article for symmetry magazine about the search for the dark matter wind which could give an idea of the direction dark matter comes from.

Lecturer in accelerator physics at Lancaster University and a member of the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology, Ian Bailey shared his fascinating research searching for new particles and forces at both high energies and low energies.

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He works with microwave cavities that are in some ways similar to household microwave ovens to look for the effects of hypothetical particles such as axions or hidden-sector photons. These particles are sometimes generically called weakly-interacting slim particles (WISPs). Just like their heavy cousins, the WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles), WISPs may also be a major constituent of dark matter.

1704 Ian Bailey Cascade cooling

If they exist, hidden-sector photons (dark photons) would allow normal light to penetrate through walls in a way that it cannot normally do. The experiments that look for this effect are called light-shining-through-a-wall experiments and one such experiment has taken place at the Cockcroft Institute recently. It may be possible that dark matter could have subtle effects on the motion of light.

So from looking into this a bit it seems regular photons are changed to dark photons (axions)  by applying an intense magnetic field or maybe some other force – a barrier is set up that regular photons cannot pass through but dark photons can – the dark photons pass through the barrier and then turn back into visible photons which can be detected.

He is also involved in the design of the International Linear Collider, a potential new 31 km long particle accelerator which will try to produce WIMPS by colliding intense beams of electrons and positrons (anti-electrons) at high energies.

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I was invited to write a lead article for Run Riot listing site of cultural happenings in and around London explaining how the project had come about. Great dealing with the lovely Ava Szajna-Hopgood.

Elizabeth Murton curated and expertly chaired our Lab. Talks+ sessions. We opened with a live link to Boulby Underground Laboratory for a remote tour with lab. director Prof Sean Paling who made our visit to the lab. last year possible.

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Chair of UK Dark Matter, LUX collaborator, UCL lecturer and enormously generous supporter of our project Dr Cham Ghag gave us an in depth talk on the latest dark matter detection experiments and theories

1704 Guest Projects symposium Cham Ghag

Extraordinarily super clever Libby Heaney had us entangled with quantum theory, weaving and whispering and negotiating being in two states at the same time.

UCL History and Philosophy of Science lecturer Dr Chiara Ambrosio gave us her insights on visualising the invisible, and what can happen when art and science collide

1704 Guest Projects symposium Chiara Ambrosio

ending with a panel discussion joined by Kate Fahey on ideas from the day

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and lots of conversations over supper…

I had finished etching the pentagon plates and I had made the dodecahedron frame – it was time to put it all together.

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I did a test fit. Then spent 5 hours back at home heat pressing the plates with sublimation images; hints of dream worlds.

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I was quite pleased with the results and went to bed

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In the morning the colours had undergone some reaction to the metal and had either vanished or changed to a sort of purple hue (funnily enough often used to colour dark matter visualisations). I was also feeling I might just be making a large Moroccan lamp.

Time to embrace unexpected outcomes….

 

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We have our second venue confirmed and the first of our funding applications submitted for Laboratory of Dark Matters.

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I have been to see the lovely people at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum who will be hosting our exhibition from July to September 2017.

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We are very pleased to be able to install Laboratory of Dark Matters so close to Boulby Mine, in the North East of England. This is a working mine that is also home to the underground laboratory we visited in spring to see for ourselves where scientists conduct research into dark matter and other projects that benefit from this extreme environment.

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum has secured funding for major expansion over the next year with the whole site being redeveloped. This period of change gives us the opportunity to be inventive with the spaces that are available.

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Chatting with our dark matter consultant astro-physicist Dr. Cham Ghag about the different work the artists will be making for Laboratory of Dark Matters I was explaining my own interest in the symbolism Plato assigned to the dodecahedron as the shape that holds the constellations in the heavens and how I might use this as a metaphor for dark matter as the substance holding the universe together;

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Cham recommended I read some essays by Erwin Schrödinger that explore the thoughts of ancients and how they have gone on to impact our understanding of the universe. As Roger Penrose says in his forward to Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism ‘Schrödinger clearly believes that there is more to the study of ancient history than mere factual curiosity and a concern with the origins of present-day thinking.’  He is looking back to a time before science and the metaphysical parted company and set out on different paths to answer the same questions about matter and consciousness. Schrödinger explains the history of this rift and the consequences of separating reason from the senses; the paradox of an objective perspective and the limitations of science that excludes the imagination. I read What is Life? followed by Nature and the Greeks, while in Greece which seemed appropriate.

I also read Plato A Very Short Introduction by Julia Annas and have learnt more about his ideas and what was really meant by platonic relationships.

Plato was very concerned about what it meant to have knowledge and how people can be misled or manipulated by others.  From this standpoint he was not keen on the theatre or the popular epic poetry of the time that used seductive methods to persuade an audience of things that were not true. 1610-amphitheatre

He believed philosophy was a search for truth and his academy was a place to learn how to think for oneself through debate and come to your own conclusions. Not great as an artist to find Plato had no time to indulge the imagination but going back over what he was saying I think he had a valid concern over the sort of entertainment that is spoon fed to society and becomes part of a culture that then has influence on the way people live. It is the pap of the media that does not challenge but anaesthetises society. I am hoping he would approve of our endeavours to question the origins of faith and our relationship to matter.

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Visiting Athens I had the opportunity to experience the majesty of the Parthenon and Temple of Zeus while trying to imagine the people I was reading about spending their days here debating the most fundamental and difficult questions about existence.

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An interest in history and archaeology led the progressive and pioneering Gertrude Bell, born 1868 in County Durham in the North East, to visit and fall in love with the lands and people of the middle east. She led an extraordinary life at the centre of middle eastern politics at a time when women were rarely conceded any powers at all. Letters From Baghdad, premiering at the London Film Festival, was a moving portrayal of her life told in her own words and those of her contemporaries recorded in evocative letters and archive film footage. This wonderful tribute to a woman previously written out of history was researched and directed by Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl, founders of  Between the Rivers Productions, a name derived from the ancient word “Mesopotamia.”

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Another brilliant film documentary was Dawson City: Frozen Time; the bizarre true history of a collection of around 500 silver nitrate movie films from the 1910s – 1920s, which were lost for over 50 years until being discovered buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon Territory.

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Meticulously brought to us by Bill Morrison, clips from the reclaimed  films form the backdrop to the history of Dawson City, a once important hunting and fishing camp for a nomadic First Nation tribe known as Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in that became the centre of the Klondike gold rush displacing the native people as the area was swamped with 100,000 prospectors hoping to make their fortune.

The talk Going Round in Circles – from the roundabout to the quark delivered at Manchester University and the RCA as part of the final year of my MA programme was a reflection on the development of my practice and brought home the themes that repeat themselves within my work.

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The circle appears in the  banality of a grey suburban roundabout that seemed a metaphor for a routine existence, becoming a catalyst in the search for paradise and its origins of Pairi Daêza and going on to question the matter that these dreams are made of.

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William Blake The Ancient of Days frontispiece to Europe a Prophecy depicting Urizen separating light and darkness

I was therefore interested to visit Seeing Round Corners at Turner Contemporary Margate. They had thrown the net wide in drawing together artists that have used the circle in their work or responded to its significance as  symbol.  I am often disappointed by this scale of exhibition that packs so much in. Too much information at once. Annoyingly there was no catalogue and no photography allowed. I have to rely on remembering what I saw.

More circles to be seen in the beautiful collection of works in  Romanticism and the Sublime curated by Jonty Levin at Lubmirov/Angus-Hughes.

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Mohammed Ashfaq Black Hole III

The most mysterious circle of them all, the black hole was the subject of Professor Joseph Silk’s Gresham College lecture. We learnt there are two types of black hole – stellar black holes formed when massive stars die and supermassive black holes which sit at the centre of galaxies and probably formed along with the galaxies. The existence of black holes was first proposed by clergyman and philosopher John Mitchell in 1783. Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 and in 2016 this phenomena was finally observed providing direct evidence for the existence of black holes.

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The spiritual vs physical human needs- Mike Kelley showing at Hauser and Wirth, recreates a piece of social architecture from the Chinese-America community of LA, reflecting a unique cultural collision in Framed and Frame.

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Also at Turner Contemproary Margate was Yinka Shonibare’s The British Library, a seductively beautiful celebration of all that we have gained from first and second generation immigrants who have enriched British society with brilliant literature.

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‘Is this that pinpoint which is divided by sword and fire among so many nations?  How ridiculous are the boundaries of mortals.’ Seneca AD 65

Haunting work by Lygia Pape at Hauser and Wirth exploring the relationship between reason and nature through geometric shapes.

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I was interested to read how she followed intuition when creating her woodcuts; to let relationships between shapes be guided by an underlying sense of ‘magnetisation’. The artworks created then embody and emanate energy which creates ‘magnetised space’ into which the viewer is drawn adding another dimension to the field.

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Forces are at play but gently held, as in the fragile balance of pigment particles, cascading and spreading in Ttéia n.7

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and the silver threads of Ttéia 1C that appear and disappear as ephemerally as a shaft of sunlight.

Between Materials and Mechanisms from Elizabeth Murton; an exhibition with associated events and symposium was hosted by UH Galleries at The University of Hertfordshire. This work looked at connectivity and the structures that physically bind us together, spanning our body, architecture and space to explore how interactions of ourselves with matter reflect in our consciousness and effect our emotions.

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Bringing together ideas and experts from fields including anatomy, philosophy, dance, visual arts and Zen Buddhism we enjoyed a day of theory and physical engagement which really brought home these relationships through dynamic experience.

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Prof. Diana Cooles’  keynote speech Dirt- A New Materialist Approach helped set the background to the history of materialism from the old materialism of the first thinkers like Plato where consciousness and matter are separate to Freud and Marx where theory and matter are integrated. New materialism rejects the duality of mind and matter and believes that agency is not just a human capacity. Bruno Latour is a prime exponent of flat ontology where everything is equal in its capacity to be an actant. Prof. Coole went on to give examples of the agency of matter, looking at dirt and our relationship to it. She drew on the writing of social anthropologist Mary Douglas who classified dirt as matter out of place. Dirt is associated with pollution and waste but also soil and nutrients.

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It changes agency depending on its location; inside/outside. She also looked at artists who use dirt in their work not as a material to comment on society or value but as a co-collaborator, allowing the dirt its transgressive qualities to create a visceral experience for the viewer.

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Interestingly I have found Mary Douglas has also written an essay that examines circular thought patterns from ancient texts, Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition. The abstract is as follows – ‘Many famous antique texts are misunderstood and many others have been completely dismissed, all because the literary style in which they were written is unfamiliar today. So argues Mary Douglas in this controversial study of ring composition, a technique which places the meaning of a text in the middle, framed by a beginning and ending in parallel. To read a ring composition in the modern linear fashion is to misinterpret it, Douglas contends, and today’s scholars must re-evaluate important antique texts from around the world.’

 

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Mona Hatoum +and-

 

Another experience of dirt was the excellent broadcasts from DIRT collective including  Peter Glasgow It’s not the Digging it’s the Dirt as part of ArtLicks Weekend which can be listened to via above links.

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 All of which reminded me of this work “THREE STONES” (2004) Antti Laitinen dug a hole and collected the stones he found after seven minutes of digging, seven hours and seven days.

 

Dr. Chamkaur Ghag’s talk Dark Matter presented by super/collider at Second Home was inspirational in many ways. It was fascinating to hear a first hand account of how the search for dark matter is conducted and the challenges that face scientists looking for something so elusive. We learnt that there are underground laboratories around the world where research takes place away from background radiation which makes it harder to isolate any particles that might be dark matter.

The occurrence of dark matter was first theorized through the pioneering research of Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky who in 1933 looked at galaxy rotation curves and decided there was more going on than could be accounted for by the mass of the matter we could see. Something mysterious was holding the galaxies together. It is dark matter that allows structures in the universe to form by pulling matter into the gravitational field of pools of dark matter.

It could be that Plato accounted for dark matter when he assigned this role to the fifth platonic solid – the dodecahedron as ‘a fifth construction which God used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven’ – a concept that I used as a framework for Pairi Daêza

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Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Using the net pattern that is used to construct a dodecahedron to mesh together images of constellations, an abandoned walled garden and a roundabout.  Recent imaging of dark matter derived from the way it distorts light shows it as a web like structure.

It is still not known what dark matter is, it does not reflect or emit light and doesn’t interact with the fundamental forces except gravity. At present there is speculation that it might be a WIMP – a weakly interacting massive particle and the difficulty in confirming this theory is in witnessing a particle collision with the nucleus of an atom. The majority of these particles pass through the earth without even hitting an atom.

It was exciting to find out we have one of these underground laboratories in the UK set in a working salt mine north of Whitby. The Boulby Underground Laboratory is a special place for science – ‘a quiet place in the Universe’. The ZEPLIN dark matter experiment ran here until 2011 using a liquid Xenon target. Xenon is a liquid gas that glows with a very pure light. Should a dark matter particle hit the atom nucleus there is a scintillation in the crystals and light is given off, also a little heat and ionisation. Only the dark matter particle will hit the nucleus of the atom, other particles, gamma rays etc will hit the electrons first giving a faint flash that can identify them. The detector must be very sensitive which is why they need to go deep underground away from background radiation. The program moved to LUX at a disused gold mine in the USA but is due to return to Boulby for work on a much larger scale.

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Studies at Boulby range from the search for Dark Matter in the Universe, to studies of cosmic rays and climate, astrobiology and life in extreme environments, development of techniques for deep 3D geological monitoring and studies of radioactivity in the environment.

The most exciting part is that a group of RCA graduates, myself included, will be able to visit the facilities early next year with a view to making work in response to the research taking place there. I am really hoping that we can organise a touring exhibition of work made in relation to this and engage people in these fascinating concepts, to think about our place in the universe and the extraordinary nature of everyday matter.

Elizabeth Murton who runs the peer crit group Engine ChatChat organised an artists sharing dinner at Bow Arts and invited along artists who use textiles in their work so we could chat and exchange ideas about our work. The guests included Kirsty Lowry, Lizzie Cannon, Katherine May, Jessica Hemmings, Jessica Smulder-Cohen, Ruby Hoette, Angela Maddock, Malina Busch, Jodie Carey, Lauren Jetty Howells-Green. We all gave a little presentation and chatted over dinner about our interests and the different reasons why we might use textiles in our work.

Lizzie Cannon meticulously repairs the cracks and decay of the material world.

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Angela Maddock investigates how we might use craft practice, especially knitting, to question ideas about our relationships with people and objects.

Diana Springall has a passion for embroidery and hopes to instigate a major retrospective of embroidered works.

Diana Springall

Diana Springall

Jessica Hemmings is a writer who has researched textiles as a distinctive area of cultural practice and a developing field of scholarly research.

Ruby Hoette proposes alternate modes of accessing and engaging with fashion. She frames the garment as a unique artefact carrying traces of social and cultural interactions and transactions.

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Lost and Collected is an ongoing project that documents and maps lost and discarde clothing and proposes an alternate understanding of the value of a garment.

Jessica Smulders Cohen’s passion is creating a sustainable textile and fashion industry her film is watchable via  the password is “fibreshed” https://vimeo.com/136830440

Kirsty Lowry is interested in psychological space and also makes work with light and I particularly like her electric prints using the conductive qualities of graphite.

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Hannah Collins showing at Camden Arts Centre also investigates the emotional and psychological aspects of space. Her exhibition presented the open spaces of the dessert and the dense closure of the rain forest.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The poetry of the wall plaques was at odds with the clinical display of the photographs of medicinal plants of the rainforest. Two perspectives brought crashing together.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The Fertile Forest shared a resonance with the Taryn Simon exhibit at the Venice Bienalle. In Hannah Collins work it was power of knowledge that is being lost whereas Taryn Simon looked at displays of power in the corporate and political world, documenting the flowers used in the bouquets and arrangements that were the backdrop to moments in history.  Coming from very different places both artists show the diverse ways we use plants in our culture.

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Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Formal formality

Taryn Simon at Venice Biennale

Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Katherine May is interested in plants as a resource for dyes and perfumes

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Jodie Carey painstakingly extracts dyes from flowers to colour the yarn for her crochet. Flowers here are a metaphor for the fragility of life.

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

The bouquet of cut flowers prepared as a gift of love is already a symbol of death.

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

We are all flowers growing on this earth, picked by God at some point, a little earlier for some, a little later for others. One is crimson rose, another the virginal lily, another the humble violet. Let us all try to please the Lord and Master, with the perfume or radiance we were given.    from a letter written to his father by the soon to be executed J.Theophane Venard 1861.

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Danh vo

Danh Vo invokes demons in the Danish Pavilion. Fragments of belief. A whiff of the Catholic Church, cherubs, polished wood. A mostly empty space, calm yet from these symbols we do not receive comfort but a jolt as we read lines spoken by the demon in The Exorcist (1973)

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

Do you know what she did, your cunting daughter?

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

I was lucky to meet Imogen Stidworthy as a visiting tutor at the RCA. I had a very inspiring tutorial with her which really helped me make decisions about my final show. She was showing some very moving work at the Imperial War Museum – a sculptural sound installation developed through interviewing two former British soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the wife of one of the soldiers, who lives with the effects of war at home.

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

She uses the voice as a sculptural material, engrained with traces of experience and transmits these voices through objects associated with conflict, exploring memory and the difficulty of communicating traumatic experience. We feel we are eavesdropping on a private perhaps internal conversation; echoing through the layered voices is each persons isolating pain.

It seemed appropriate for me to go and see Finding Paradise at Lacey Contemporary as this was the title of my dissertation.

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The gallery was vibrant with paintings of lush landscapes, forgotten pasts, and the ever-changing patterns of nature by Gemma Billington, Orlanda Broom and Ylva Kunze.

We can never inhabit paradise for more than a fleeting moment. It can be glimpsed on the edges of our vision and drive our passions but to find paradise is to experience ecstasy and a perpetuity of heightened bliss would actually be torturous to endure. Its power and attraction lies in its being momentary.

These fleeting moments and sensations which are not fully understood because they are only briefly glimpsed or experienced are what inspires the work of Malina Busch who explores material possibilities looking for traces of memory.

Malina Busch Curl Up

Malina Busch Curl Up

There was a political edge to this years Venice Biennale with the theme All The World’s Futures.

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It added a serious undercurrent to a lot of work which drew on documentary and news footage. Apart from Sean Lynch representing Ireland I didn’t have a list of must sees this year. At the last Biennale so many of my favourite people were showing, this was a chance to come across new names.

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I was keen to see what Sean Lynch would present as I had enjoyed meeting him during his workshop at Flat Time House and really like the way he works.

Sean Lynch

Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

His installation Adventure:Capital encompasses his interests in stone carving and storytelling. He manages to pull mythology into London’s contemporary financial district. A narrated video sweeps through history from the pits and quarries to the monuments and symbols of power that are made from the stones pulled from the earth.

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Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

This inversion of material is dusted with magic as the narrator traces the polished stone of the corporate world back to the rocks of prehistory.

The gods, swollen with symbolism are everywhere, causing havoc with their greed, gluttony, fertility and abundance.

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Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

There was striking work in the Nordic Pavillion by Camille Norment.

In Rapture eerie sounds emanate from a thrusting bank of speakers on the ceiling.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The large empty space is skewed with shattered billboard sized glass windows. It looks like the aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster and holds you in the moment when the ringing in your ears could be shockwaves of an explosion that segue into the voices of angels heralding the appearance of the saviour.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The sounds could be coming from the fragmented glass as they have that quality of a finger across a wet goblet rim. It is at the pitch of angels and voices do join the chorus. In fact Norment has used a glass armonica to compose this soundscape, an 18th century instrument that creates ethereal music from glass and water and was invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The glass armonica was used to cure many ailments with its entrancing sounds but was later banned for fear it aroused sexual excitement in women bringing them to a state of rapture that might overstimulate and ultimately kill them.

 

 

 

It has been an RCA MA printmaking department tradition for each graduating year to produce a box set. In our year we questioned the purpose of a set which was inevitably split. The cost of the whole set being prohibitive to most people. We wondered how we could reinvent this idea to make it exciting and relevant. It was an exercise sometimes lacking in diplomacy but eventually it was decided that collaboration and a theme would help to create a more cohesive edition.

The result was Lean to, an interpretation of the traditional printmaking box set, it acts as a site of investigation that questions what a box set can be.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean to

We chose to respond to a ‘house’ of print matter. Interested in the house as a fluid concept, we expanded it to mean anything alluding to a habitat: a home, shelter, bunker, shed, commune, boundary…

This structure allowed us to make collaboration a defining feature – people worked together on areas or ‘rooms’, responding thematically, materially and conceptually. One group worked with text to create a written 3D structure, another explored the construction of space through sound. The defining of outside space was considered through a collaboration that explored the garden, and another investigated the overlooked details via the life of dust. There were also individual responses: a digital scanning room where walls threaten to melt into the night sky, contorted vessels that appear at once frozen and shifting, a sweeping gesture of an arch promising (or threatening) an arrival.

I worked with Amanda Wieczorek, Jilly Roberts and Gloria Ceballos.

1508 Battersea Park 3

We looked at structures found on the allotment or in a garden.

1508 Battersea Park 2

We went to Battersea Park for inspiration.

1508 Battersea Park

The symbiosis of the synthetic and the organic became key to our thinking and resulted in transfer printed handmade paper embedded with seeds contained in a protective screenprinted plastic sleeve.

1508 shed

For a box set that responds to the notion of being housed, it is necessary that the skin, the home stake its place.

design by Meg Ferguson

design by Meg Ferguson

 

It does this by being both a folder of precious deeds, and a site of shelter and display.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking 2015 collaboration lean-to

The cover, complete with guy ropes and support poles, unfurls into a simple structure that acts as both site to view and shelter for its contents.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking 2015 collaboration lean- to

The team that installed the work for the launch night did an excellent job and we all ended up very proud.

lean to 11

The volume was launched at Tenderbooks with an evening of performance and readings.

Launch of Lean-To at Tender Books

Launch of lean-to at Tender Books

While learning about geometry and the platonic solids at The Princes School of Traditional Arts I was intrigued by Plato’s description of the fifth platonic solid – the dodecahedron – as ‘a fifth construction which God used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven’.

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

In this work I have taken the net which is used as the pattern to make a 3D dodecahedron when cut and folded into shape and used this as a structure meshing together images of constellations, an abandoned walled garden and a roundabout. I wanted to make connections between origins, structure, and belief systems. My original plan for this idea was to screenprint the images on individual segments of laser cut mdf – each piece would then be pulled slightly apart – the expanding universe. In the end it was a combination of time and feasibility that meant this idea was realised as a c-type print on metallic paper mounted on aluminium.

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

It became an integral part and focal point of my MA degree show installation.

I was invited to The Collective at The House of St. Barnabas in Soho. Dark Matter Studio were hosting Matt Collishaw’s Last Supper prints in the Bazalgette Room. These images transferred onto goatskin parchment recreate the final meals requested by men condemned on death row in the style of 17th century vanitas paintings.

Matt Collishaw Last Meal on Death Row, Velma Barfield, 2012

Matt Collishaw Last Meal on Death Row, Velma Barfield, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Güler Ates had work appropriately showing in the Silk Room. Taken just before the club at  opened in 2013, her photographs confront the intense dialogue between the past and present that is unescapable in such a space. Güler comments on the presence of the past; ‘They were absent; however, through the objects in the rooms, the interiors and the exterior of the building, I wanted to trace the “present” of some of the previous occupiers.’

Guler Ates Departure into darkness

Guler Ates Departure into darkness

I had a tutorial with her while at the RCA  when she had suggested I should scale up my fabric pieces and take then to the sea – I think this is something I could try  when I visit a clear  sea but also I would like to try under a waterfall or in a brook.  She also talked about the importance of the structure for the display of the circles which I was still struggling with.

The House of St Barnabas is an impressive building it even has its own chapel where ARTinTRA  presented PARAMENTRONOMICON  a site-specific, computer animated video and sound installation by the Finnish duo Pink Twins (Juha and Vesa Vehvilainen) , curated by Vassiliki Tzanakou.

1508 Pink Twins

Pink Twins PARAMENTRONOMICON

Within the dark space of the chapel lit by a faint glow from narrow stained glass windows a large screen takes the place of the altar. The sci-fi imagery in high saturation colour is dazzling in a perpetual cycle of abstracted motion, forming and reforming. There is a nice play between the deconstructed images of the stained glass – once this technology was awe inspiring in itself – and the similar breakdown of form in the swirling images on the screen. We are similarly held enthralled by this mesmerizing experience as were the first visitors to encounter the delights of light through coloured glass.

In retrospect I can see that Pairi Daêza has a structure similar to that of a stained glass window.

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Susan Eyre everydaymatters / Pairi Daêza

Looking for structures and patterns in the matter of landscape and breaking those down is something I am interested in. When installing the circle sculptures I learnt how hard it is to be consciously random. I wanted to place the pieces randomly with the idea that these were slices of space that could appear anywhere but my instincts kept drawing me to balance and pattern.

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

After the show when trying to clear space in my studio at home I came across some very old samples I had forgotten about. It’s fascinating the way ideas form over time with threads emerging and submerging.  When I made these I was thinking about geology  and the human effect on the formation of rock strata, how all our rubbish in landfill would create the gemstones of the future.

1508 earth crystal

Here on these layered plastic carrier bags was the universe with digitally embroidered geometrical patterns of crystal structures.

1508 earth structure

Another sample of layered plastic with machine free stitched geometrical patterns, melted to reveal images of human life. These pieces were a bit clunky but it feels there is a connection in my thinking here that has carried through. I have been thinking about black holes and disruptions in space and this old work has given me some new ideas to carry forward.

I went to see Dark Universe at Greenwich Planetarium. As I had previously learnt on the CERN website the planets, stars and everything you can see make up less than 5% of the Universe. Dark Universe is a new planetarium show exploring what we know – and what we don’t know – about the structure and history of the Universe.

1508 dark universe

I don’t think I learnt anything new from this show but the visual experience of being blasted through space was worth the trip.

The space theme continued with a trip to Breese Little Gallery  to see the exhibition dark frame / deep field  and a collection of Vintage NASA Photographs.

The most arresting piece was Dan Holdworth’s giant c-type of a mountain range inverted into an ethereal alien scape.

Dan Holdsworth, Blackout 13

Dan Holdsworth, Blackout 13

The NASA photos were also fascinating. The strange light, the staged self-consciousness.  These images share the style of the cinema flyer from the same era and so the amazing achievement and experience of these men standing on alien soil seems to get diluted by the association with fantasy making it even harder to comprehend what we are looking at.

Alan Shepard and the U.S. flag, Apollo 14, February 1971

Alan Shepard and the U.S. flag,  Apollo 14                February 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy visiting artists studios, seeing the debris from the workings of the mind. I am envious of these spaces. I went to see what Elizabeth Murton and Lizzie Cannon have been working on at Bow Arts Open Studios Event. Elizabeth is also interested in structures and was showing her experiments with nets and the malleable nature of space.

Elizabeth Murton worked net

Elizabeth Murton worked net

Lizzie has hauled a giant portion of rusting pipe from a Suffolk beach into her studio. She had already started to discreetly embellish the rust encrusted surface with tiny stitches and glass beads. She is interested in accretion of matter and repair. Repair can also contribute to the deterioration as the tiny perforations from the stitching break down the surface. In the case of her mended leaves the repairs appear as scars.  Both artists had work in the Structure, Texture, Future exhibition, an investigation into ruin and repair the substance of matter and our relationship to it,  curated by Shahida Bari and Rosamond Murdoch.

Lizzie Cannon Mended Leaf (Hosta)

Lizzie Cannon Mended Leaf (Hosta)

 

 

I have been getting up close to mud and matter and thinking about the makeup of the environment around us.

It’s hard to look at a cup say and imagine the structure of its atoms. To think about the solid and then the squishy and how it all works.

From thinking about the origins of things, like the first plants and forests. Evolution and yet how all matter existed from the beginning and it’s just a huge process of recycling.

Deptford creek

Deptford creek

A great place for a new perspective on your surroundings is the Deptford Creekside Centre where you can join a low tide walk.

Low Tide Walk

Low Tide Walk

Equipped with thigh length waders and a long stick you are led down to the creek and given lots of insight into the history and wildlife of the creek.

Deptford Creek Crab

Deptford Creek Crab

It is stunningly beautiful and feels a real privilege to enter this world below the horizon.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The river has carved intricate sculptures into the wooden posts along the banks.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The look posts look totemic and hung with vibrant algae quite primordial.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The creek bed is thick with mud and slime creating wonderful patterns as the water recedes.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

There is the possibility of finding treasure swept along and revealed after each tide but you must ask if you want to take anything away. They have quite a collection of finds they like to add to at the discovery centre.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

On a previous trip artist Lizzie Cannon had been lucky to find a wonderful rusty object which she has since embroidered with threads and beads to continue the growth of the rust giving the object a new organic dimension

Lizzie Cannon - Corrosion

Lizzie Cannon – Corrosion

A Matter of Substance exhibition and salon curated by Caroline Lambard and Elizabeth Murton at APT Gallery encouraged their audience to look beyond the surface of the material to the very structure of the crystals, atoms and particles that form them.

1307 A Matter of Substance

Catherine Jacobs beautiful photographs show tensions of surface sometimes broken by an indeterminate object that works as a disruption to the surface and our perceptions of what we are looking at.

Catherine Jacobs Uncertainties

Catherine Jacobs Uncertainties

Elizabeth Murton’s scroll flows out across the floor in symbiosis with the marks upon it like a cascade of data presenting itself as a record of the inks journey.

Elizabeth Murton

Elizabeth Murton

Cool work for a hot day.

Phillip Hall-Patch

Phillip Hall-Patch / Caroline Lambard

There were salt crystals that sparkled like snow in magnified form like Icelandic landscapes and in salt block form eroded by a constant drip of water.

Phillip Hall-Patch Salt LIcks

Phillip Hall-Patch Salt LIcks

Caroline Lambard’s ethereal sculptures help to imagine 3D form from all perspectives through their delicate drawing in thread to delineate a space.

Caroline Lambard

Caroline Lambard

I have started on a new piece of work, the idea of an oasis, an escape, a view through to another place so it has been interesting to think about form and space.

A solid outer that hides a world inside.

1307 Oasis collagraph 1

It starts with the construction of a collagraph which I am slowly building up from cut card and carborundum.

1307 Oasis collagraph 2

Once made the idea will be to rip a section out to reveal an internal space.