Fine Art students reflect on the Future Now Symposium

Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art students, Isaac Aldridge and Unn Devik joined their Senior Lecturers Mercedes Kemp and Lucy Willow at a two-day conference – Future Now – at York St John University. Isaac and Unn, whose attendance was partially funded by Falmouth School of Art, share their experience of the symposium:

‘Cherie Federico, the Co- Publisher, Editor and Director of Aesthetica opened the symposium with a soft, reinforcing message, reminding us of uncertain times with the unprecedented rate of technological intervention with the effects and questions that it brings to us in the present time. Federico mentioned the way technology can sway culture and enforce propaganda; we can see this through the brain washing of young people through the manipulation of religious intentions to commit acts of terror and political gain, but ultimately through art we are able to consider the events of the world; even though it’s shifting at a cataclysmic speed, we have some power of influence. It is a self-reflection on the 21st Century life and what it means.’ Isaac Aldridge

‘Future Now Symposium invited us to celebrate the shortlisted artists for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2017, and for the occasion arranged a vast series of lectures by professionals from the art world. Speakers came from Glasgow School of Art, Welcome Trust, ArtAngel, Arts Council, Visual Art South West, Icon Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and many more. Themes of the Symposium included; the arrival of the digital age and how it affects the art world as we know it and, diversity in the art world and how to make it a more inclusive and culturally diverse scene on all levels.  There were also sessions about funding and art prizes, relevant platforms when launching a career as a practicing artist.’

I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity by the university to attend the Future Now Symposium. All in all I feel more informed about the current situation of the Art World. Although it is a highly competitive and commercially driven world, it is full of opportunities.  Hopefully, too, it is on its way to becoming a truly diverse place.  An Art World utopia is a place where the Art World is not commercially driven and takes pride in nurturing and sustaining talent from across the globe – regardless of background.  I think only then we can talk about making art for art´s sake – that is to imitate different realities of existence.  We are far from this utopia– but I believe going to symposiums and other events like Future Now is a great way of getting to know yourself and what you find to be valuable and worthwhile – thus creating your own idea of a utopia.’ Unn Devik

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BA(Hons) Fine Art in Berlin

berlin3At the end of January, students from all three years of BA(Hons) Fine Art enjoyed a study visit to Berlin, arriving in sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow which resulted in their diversion to land at a different airport than planned.

Highlights of the trip included gallery visits to KW Institute for Contemporary Art, The Hamburger Bahnhof and visits to The Jewish Museum Berlin. Students also enjoyed a night at the legendary Berghain nightclub, described as quite possibly the current world capital of techno, named after its location near the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Visit organiser and first year Course Coordinator Gillian Wylde said, ‘Lots of inspiration is developing out of this exciting study visit, into future art projects’.

Second year students Ella Squirrell and Isaac Aldridge shared their experiences of the trip…

Ella:The first day we spent exploring the city on foot, coming across photographic exhibitions in museum island, and popping into family run cafes to rest our snowy feet. I was very satisfied with the amount of inspiring contemporary painting exhibitions in the city, particularly Tatjana Doll at the Berliniche Gallerie, ‘My Abstract World’ at the ME Collectors Room and Lawrence Carroll: ‘Under The Blue’ at the Buchmann Galerie. These three exhibitions were the most relevant to my current work; however, in a city as artistically enriched as Berlin, I sought out other exhibitions that weren’t as pertinent in their art form. There were many in in Kreuzberg, along Lindenstrasse: commercial galleries with contemporary art, a lot of sculpture, installations and video work.

On the last day, we went to Transmediale, a festival with workshops and seminars, about modern day alienation and technology taking over. These ideas relate to my interest in society coming away from nature, and about being absorbed into a modern society. We also visited culturally historic places, such as war memorials, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Berlin Wall.

I loved the freedom of the trip. Tutors would recommend places, and there were meet up points every day, but everyone very much could build their own timetable, and we shared our experiences over breakfast or as we bumped into each other in the city. The trip was very socially engaging, it allowed the three year groups to integrate naturally, and I got to know people within my course better through shared experience and conversations about the art we had seen’.

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Isaac: In my opinion, our study trips are a gateway into exploring your own practise further than the walls of the studio. I have visited Venice and Berlin in the two years I have been studying at Falmouth. This Berlin trip offered an open-ended itinerary, which was perfect for exploring the city’s heritage and culture as well as the art. I managed to visit all areas of Berlin, seeing the Reichstag Building, the Holocaust Museum, Brandenburg Gate and many more historical points of interest. Additionally, in the evenings I was able to explore Berlin’s famous night culture, catching the U-Bahn all over to interesting and edgy bars (and even a Techno super club!).

The art in Berlin was unquestionably admirable in all senses. From the East Side Gallery where artists had painted the remains of the dividing wall, the Hamburger Bahnhof which holds an amazing collection of masterful works including a personal favourite of mine – Cy Twombly, to the Berlinische Gallery of Modern Art with an array of works in all disciplines from painting to sculpture and massive installations, and the Bauhaus Archive which houses all variations of the art types style of work including the building itself (a long with many, many more smaller galleries and exhibitons)!

I found the most enjoyable part of the trip was the freedom to pick and choose where to visit, buddying up and exploring the city ourselves with a meet up point later in the day at an exhibition to discuss with everyone else where they had been and where they were planning to go. Having the opportunity to see these places has fed my own work in terms of seeing more than just the conventional painters I would generally seek to inform my work, and having a wider breadth of information to work from and to reference in my day to day studio life’.

Images courtesy of Jade Bowmer.