Tracing Wastelands Exhibition

The exhibition ‘Tracing Wastelands’ at The Depot in Clapton celebrated the work that students on MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins produced in collaboration with the Government Office of Science. 

Text by Ellie Armstrong

Not one to turn down a novel set of collaborators, students on the MA Art and Science course enthusiastically greeted the chance to work with the Government Office of Science on their Annual Report. Every year the Government Office of Science call on experts to work on an overarching, scientific issue that will impact on cross-party policy. Previously the reports have addressed Forensics and Risks in Innovation.

For 2016 the report focused on Waste and Resource Productivity. A small group of students on the course embarked on the collaborative enterprise. The groups’ individual practices already touched on waste and it’s impacts, so from the first strong harmonies were found between our work and the research areas that the Government Office of Science were planning on researching for their report. After initial introductory meetings with Fay Kenworthy and Mike Edbury to cover the scope of their project we were invited to a kick off meeting at the Government Office of Science, where we were introduced to a long list of researchers who might be involved in the report. The conference covered a diversity of themes, which we each took notes on at our tables, which fed into Julius’ later work. Over the course of the year, we met up with Fay and Ian, discussed our individual projects and progress and worked to understand what was being researched for the report. Initially the report was scheduled to be released in November, and as we worked towards this date, we found a venue to host an exhibition of works produced in the Wastelands collaboration.

We were fortunate to be able to use The Depot Clapton for the exhibition, which was an intimate setting for the six artists exhibiting. As co-curator, I was excited that the works were able to feed into a narrative that looped around the gallery space. The cross-referencing between the works was incredibly interesting as a spectator and brought the idea of the Waste Cycle that the report had been discussing into heightened relief. The report’s release was unfortunately delayed, but it has given us all time to reflect on the works produced and on the direction of the collaboration as a whole. It’s hoped that we’ll be able to host another exhibition of the works in London detailing the progress and continued critique of ideas around waste, and that eventually we’ll be able to take the works around the country to the institutions that contributed to the Government Office of Science report to highlight the research work publically in their own community.

Exhibiting artists were Julius Colwyn | Silvia Krupinska | Beckie Leach | Hannah Scott | Stephanie Wong | Jennifer Crouch

Tracing Wastelands was curated by Ellie Armstrong and Julius Colwyn and was shown at The Depot, London, 18-20 November 2016.

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