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

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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)

 

‘Side Effects’ and ‘Why Make it Simple, When You Can Make It Complex?’

‘Side Effects’ and ‘Why Make it Simple, When You Can Make It Complex?’
a collaboration between Arts Catalyst, Robert Whitman, The Performance Studio and MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins
 
Text by Nicolas Strappini, Virginie Serneels and Monika Dorniak (MA Art and Science)
Phase 1:
Collaboration with Robert Whitman, ‘Side Effects’ 07/10/2016

Phase 2:
Arts Catalyst 29/10/2016
A show at the Performance Studio, Peckham, Why Make it Simple When You Can Make It Complex?’ 09/11/2016

‘Why Make it Simple, When You Can Make it Complex?’ came into being as a result of a two month collaboration between Central Saint Martins and Arts Catalyst. Our temporary artist group consisted of students Monika Dorniak, Virginie Serneels and Nicolas Strappini from MA Art & Science, and external alumni Verena Hermann and Mary Simmons, MA Fine Art at UCA Farnham. The initial reason for the project was as a development of Arts Catalyst’s exhibition about the revolutionary ‘9 Evenings’ project presented in New York (1966), involving artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer and John Cage. 

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Photographs by Christopher Fernandez of Side Effects performance at Central Saint Martins, 7 October 2016

In the first stage of our project we worked together with one of the original participants, Robert Whitman, helping to develop his performance presented on the 7th of October. The performance re-invented the rules of theatre and performance by including engineering elements, and integrating off-stage activities with live video footage. You can view the full performance here.

In the second stage of the project we were asked to develop new works that questioned the idea of performance in the 21st century. Marita Solberg, a visual artist and musician based in Tromsø and Manndalen, Northern-Norway, developed a workshop with us to help facilitate the generation of ideas. For our group show we worked with David Thorne, the founder of The Performance Studio in Peckham. In response to the performance we presented our artistic interpretations at Arts Catalyst (29th of October) and The Performance Studio (9th of November).

The title ‘Why Make It Simple When It Can Be Made Complex?’ was decided during our group conversations about life in the Anthropocene, considering the loss and gain of control through technological developments. With the diversity of our backgrounds the presentations developed individually and included elements of robotics, chemistry, neurology, theatre design, dance, engineering and fine art. While some of the works invited the audience to interact and participate in artistic debates, others were classically designed to be observed by the viewer.

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More Information on our individual projects:

Monika Dorniak ‘The Metacognitive Tool’
Performer: Alice Weber 

Virginie Serneels ‘9 Evenings & Side Effects reload’

Nicolas Strappini ‘Wimshurst, Powder’
 

Forced Connections and Rules of Random

How restrictions can make us more creative in art and teaching

Words by Stephen Bennett, with workshop observations from Lisa Pettibone and quotes from participants. Photos by Çağlar Tahiroğlu.

 

Rules of Random, demonstrating a lesson on 'Antarctic scuba diving to techno heads using a sleep mask'

Rules of Random, demonstrating a lesson on ‘Antarctic scuba diving to techno heads using a sleep mask’

 

It is October 2016. The leaves are falling, yet it is a time of fresh promise for first-year students on Central Saint Martins’ masters programme in Art and Science. The new students are naturally a bit anxious, keen to impress their course leaders and their fellow students. What will their first artwork be? How to ensure it really shines? Perhaps stick with tried and tested methods, the kind of thing which gained entry to the programme in the first place. That worked well after all. But what is the point of joining a MA just to do the same old thing?

Forced Connection artwork by MA Art and Science students, in Practices of Enquiry exhibition, Cookhouse Gallery, Chelsea College of Art, UAL

Forced Connection artwork by MA Art and Science students, in Practices of Enquiry exhibition, Cookhouse Gallery, Chelsea College of Art, UAL

 

Second week, and the course leaders, Nathan Cohen and Heather Barnett, lull the students into a entertaining exercise. Sitting in groups, the students are asked to brainstorm lists of subject matter for art – death, immigration, philosophy, alienation. ‘Black holes!’ someone shouts. This is getting quite fun. Next, different methods for producing art. Painting, sculpting, drawing. But what about data experiments or tasting – how can that be practical? Finally, a list of materials to use in the production of art. Students are warmed up now. Rubber, plastic, cement… bacteria! Sports equipment!!

 

Use the hammer to smash

the patriarchy walnut!

 

You may see what is about to happen – but the students didn’t. Heather delivers the coup de grace. Randomly assigning numbers, each student ends up with a unique combination of ‘matter-method-material’. This is the first project brief of the MA: to develop artwork based upon the ‘forced connections’ of a chance group of three words.

The initial result is… uproar amongst the students. But then, with a bit of coaching and support, the studio starts germinating some unusual pieces. Cola cans cling to the window. Folded paper sprouts from a wall. Knitted cushions appear and then start multiplying. A month later, and students are explaining works about immigration, developed through interviews, using bacteria as a material. A collaboration results in painted rocks, telling us about philosophy. Ink dripping down folded paper is a metaphor for alienation. Plastic, painted, reveals insights about communication networks. Just as the first crit is wrapping up, Heather delivers another bombshell. There is an opportunity to show these experimental pieces in a London gallery in a week’s time…

Forced Connection artwork by MA Art and Science student Stephen Bennett connecting 'Immigration | Interviews | Bacteria'

Forced Connection artwork by MA Art and Science student Stephen Bennett connecting ‘Immigration | Interviews | Bacteria’

 

The display is part of University of the Arts London’s recent Practices of Enquiry, an exhibition of experimental enquiry-based learning across UAL, featuring teaching methods from all colleges. Photos of the in-situ art are studded through this blog. The art is intended to inspire and provoke teaching staff across UAL. This is most evident in the Rules of Random workshop run by Heather. This event, for UAL teaching staff, uses the same techniques as the ‘forced connections’ project.

 

“How do you send an

orange into space?”

 

This time unsuspecting participants brainstorm a list of ‘unusual groups of students’, ‘difficult subject matter’, and select random objects. The MA students are interspersed in the groups, now playing the role of coach. They help groups design lesson plans to teach mathematical pattern recognition to traditional wine makers using a compass. Participants consider how to use dried orange slices to teach astrophysics to 16 year olds. Ever used a walnut to teach sex education to linguists? What about using a blindfold to teach technoheads about Antarctic scuba diving? You can see some of the results in this blog.

Rules of random, 'Devise a lesson on sex education to linguists using walnuts'

Rules of random, ‘Devise a lesson on sex education to linguists using walnuts’

 

The two sister exercises – Forced Connections in the studio, Rules of Random in the gallery – had a number of features in common. Perhaps most obviously they are conduits for unlocking creativity. Everyone can get stuck in a rut, whether producing art, teaching or working in an office. Restricting options can force lateral thinking and resourcefulness. Sometimes we are faced with two many choices or methods, and the possibilities can be paralysing. Sometimes – especially when doing something we are supposed to be good at – we live in fear of failure. But, when forced to use a sieve to teach tradesmen about crime, the failure becomes almost inevitable, and this permits a great willingness to take risk.

 

“What is the

essence of a feather?”

 

A number of the CSM students are now incorporating the initially ridiculed combinations of matter-method-material into their main practice. Bacteria and immigration becomes a starting point for examining the semiotics around human relations. Folding and alienation has resulted paper-based in sculptures which morph between two and three dimensions. Similarly, feedback from the Rules of Random workshop participants was that it has opened up new teaching approaches. Food can be an excellent way of teaching 16 year olds about abstract concepts. Participatory lessons, especially ones involving blindfolds or smashing nuts, become instantly memorable. Objects can help focus learning into specific issues in a much broader topic.

Rules of Random, handling given objects to generate ideas

Rules of Random, handling given objects to generate ideas

These techniques can be adapted into practically any environment, with any task in mind. Please try them out, see if it can unlock a problem or open up a new line of enquiry. And remember: you must use whichever random combination you get!

The Rules of Random workshop was developed as part of Practices of Enquiry, a two-year enhancement project at UAL exploring how we create the conditions for enquiry to flourish within our ‘creative, curious, critical curricula’.

The workshop was devised and delivered by MA Art and Science lecturer, Heather Barnett, working with students: Olivia Bargman, Stephen Bennett, Joshua Bourke, Lisa Pettibone, Çağlar Tahiroğlu, and Bekk Wells.

 

 

Space ship hosts planning meeting for MA Art and Science Degree Show

 

For 4 days in early February MA Art and Science set up house in an a 1960s space ship to collectively explore the curation and design of the up coming degree show (25-29 May 2016). Key questions centred around how to build a coherent show that celebrates the diversity of individual approach while also revealing the shared creative and intellectual threads that are emerging within the group. Stephanie Wong records the events that took place between 8 – 11 February in the Futuro House.

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Last week the second years of MA Art and Science spent four days in Futuro House, a retro space ship located on the terrace of the CSM King’s Cross building. Having just finished the intense experience of dissertation writing this was the first opportunity for everyone to come together and plan for the degree show. On the agenda was curation, design, research and the sharing of ideas.

Like the previous two years the degree show will be taking place in the Crossing at King’s Cross. This is the entrance to the main Central Saint Martins building and is technically a public walkway. With a height of four floors and an imposing breadth this huge space poses unique opportunities, as well as serious challenges, one of the biggest being we are not allowed to hang anything from the walls and the ceilings. What does this mean? In order to display any work we have to build a structure to do so.

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Fortunately for us, due to the eclectic nature of the course there are two students with architectural backgrounds, both of whom had been working hard to come up with a design for a structure that would display our work. Facilitated by course leader Nathan Cohen and artist Susan Aldworth the first day was spent discussing the design and sharing concepts for each of our work and how this would best be displayed.

The second day kicked off with a lego building workshop run by Graham Barton. This is not normal lego but architectural lego and the completely white building blocks are used conceptually, constructing whilst holding questions in mind. Tailor made for us these were: What is my practice? What do I aspire to present as part of the degree show? What are my aspirations for the curation of the degree show? The appeal of lego seems to transcend age with the hands on building being quite meditative. Lead tutor Heather Barnett led us through the day which allowed each individual to really question what we want and think much more freely and thoughtfully about our work.

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The final day involved another visit from Susan Aldworth and tutor Adrian Holme. This was spent discussing how to incorporate research and process into the curation of the show. What became apparent in the conversations was that the cross-disciplinary collaborations that make this course unusual need to be presented. Furthermore, art and science as a notion requires more than exhibiting finished pieces, in which the methodologies have equal if not crucial importance to the final meaning.

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Being locked in a spaceship for a week turned out to be an incredibly fruitful experience. Some of the developments included: final design for the structure, a film that will be made documenting the degree show process, symposium plans, ‘brain dump’ for the title and fundraising ideas. The most exciting outcome was the enthusiasm and motivation of the group as a whole.

So watch this space…

(no pun intended)

 

 

Jared Vaughan Davis 2015

MA Art and Science graduate activity

Since completing their studies in June our recent graduates have been busy. Here is just a flavour of some of the things they’ve been up to…

 

Jared Vaughan Davis has been published in 3 international magazines:

INTERALIA MAGAZINE: On the Greek Gematria series and Metamodern experiments

SCIART IN AMERICA: Thoughts on the limitations of art and science – pg 8

ABOON MAGAZINE: Interview with Jared Vaughan Davis

 

Daniel Simon Ayat is guest critic on the AAVS Lyngør Workshop taking place in August on Lyngør Island in the North Sea. The workshop will explore the fundamental properties of Nordic architecture and formulate site-specific speculations in the context of a small island community. Daniel will contextualise the 1812 Battle of Lyngør with reference to naval technology, navigation, and astronomical instrumentation.

 

Vivienne Wen Du has been Artist in Residence at The Lab Project – an experimental month long residency exploring interactions between art and science, along with another graduate from 2013, Rose Pickles.

 

Sivan Lavie curated an exhibition, Human Nature, in London featuring many fellow artists from MA Art and Science.

 

Alice Cazenave, Jing Hu and Crow Dillon-Parkin exhibited in Fluorescent Open House Festival in Soho in July.

 

Several students have moved into new studios to be able to continue their practice post-graduation, including Libby Heaney, Morfydd Ransom Hall and Crow Dillon-Parkin

 

No doubt much to follow in future…

MellissaFisher_MicrobialMe

MA Art & Science student, Mellissa Fisher, shows new bacterial portrait at Eden Project’s ‘Invisible You’ exhibition

MA Art & Science student, Mellissa Fisher, has undertaken a commission for Eden Project’s exciting new microbiome exhibition, which opens today.

The Eden Project are well known for nurturing and displaying ecosystems, but now they’re taking a closer look at the invisible ecosystem within the human body; the ‘microbiome’.

Whether it’s bacteria in your gut to help you digest food, or microbes on your skin to keep it soft and fill the cracks to prevent disease, microscopic life is found everywhere in and on our bodies. In fact, human cells are outnumbered 10:1 by bacteria inside our body. But scientists are only just beginning to understand how these organisms – which have evolved with us over time – can affect all sorts of things, from our weight to our mood to our susceptibility to autism.

Supported by the Wellcome Trust, Eden invited a handful of talented artists to help bring this invisible world to life. Many of them collaborating with scientists, the artists created an amazing collection of artwork, installations and interactive pieces – ranging from a sound piece based on DNA, to sculptures and textiles exploring the patterns of bacteria, to a series of portraits depicting the bacteria within our belly buttons.

The exhibition puts everything from pregnancy and faeces to guts and antibiotics under the microscope. You’ll never look at your body in quite the same way again…

Mellissa created ‘Microbial Me’, a microbiological portrait, developed in collaboration with Dr Richard Harvey and Dr Mark Clements.

For more info about the project visit the Eden Project Invisible You website.

Watch Mellissa talking about the project.

Visit Mellissa’s website.

ART & SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM

To accompany Degree Show One, MA Art & Science are hosting a Symposium, MULTI-INFRA-SUB-META- on 29 May, 4-8pm.

This event is free but please book: http://multi-infra-sub-meta.eventbrite.co.uk.

Symposium programme includes:

Part 1: Art and Environment

David Cross is an Artist, Reader and Pathway Leader for MA Visual Arts (Graphic Design) at Camberwell. His research, practice and teaching have long been informed by a critical engagement with the relationship between visual culture and the contested ideal of ‘sustainable’ development, more recently focused on fossil energy dependency and climate breakdown. He is now shifting towards promoting the transition to a post-carbon society. As an artist, Cross began collaborating with Matthew Cornford while studying at St Martin’s School of Art in 1987, and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1991. Since then, the work of Cornford & Cross has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and projects include an Arts Council residency at the London School of Economics, and a British Council residency at Vitamin in Guangzhou, China. www.arts.ac.uk/david-cross

Holly Owen and Kristina Pulejkova are multi-media artists working in the UK.  They will be talking about their project Switching Heads: sound mapping the arctic. This series brings together their skills as artists with their concerns about how climate change is affecting communities and environments around the globe.  Both artists graduated from the MA Art and Science in 2014. www.switching-heads.com

A panel discussion on relationships and responsibilities between the arts and the environment.

Part 2: Art and Science

A series of presentations by graduating students from the MA Art and Science, sharing their interdisciplinary practice and research. Topics include embodiment, hygiene, quantum physics, belief, postmodernism, and the humble pebble.

Book now to ensure you don’t miss out on an event full of eclectic interdsiciplinary discussion…

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