Verena Hermann and Nicolas Strappini in Robert Whitman's 'Side Effects' (2016)

‘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’