Fine Art Senior Lecturer Mercedes Kemp on 100:UnEarth by WildWorks

BA(Hons) Fine Art Senior Lecturer, Mercedes Kemp, is also Community and Research Director of international site-specific theatre company WildWorks. Here she talks about the company’s current production, at the Lost Gardens of Heligan – outdoor promenade performance 100:UnEarth – for which she is Lead Artist, Writer and Researcher…The acclaimed production is on until 22 July 2018, tickets from Hall For Cornwall

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‘100:UnEarth tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. A tragic love story. Orpheus returns to his beloved wife Eurydice. On the day they are reunited she is killed in a tragic accident. Orpheus cannot accept her death and embarks on an audacious quest to pluck her out of the Underworld. Our telling of the story is set in the vast grounds of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and is told in a grand scale.

In 100:UnEarth, WildWorks have set the myth against the background of the First World War and the catastrophic losses it produced. The war has ended. The men are coming home. Many are damaged, broken. They return to the families they left behind. Their women have learned to survive alone, to be self-reliant, work the land, feed themselves and their children. Nothing will ever be the same…

As we journey through the Underworld we encounter the souls of those who lost their lives in the Great War, but also of those who died in more recent conflicts. Hades, the great Lord of Death continues to reap his harvest.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan give us the perfect metaphor. A place where growth and decay co-exist. A place full of promise. A place that teaches us a valuable lesson. Death is inevitable. Gardens die out in the winter, but they return back to life in the spring. And love goes on, endlessly regenerating itself.

This multi-disciplinary promenade production uses every art form: stage design, installation, performance, music, soundscape, video projection. And its connections to Falmouth University are strong: students from AMATA have done an amazing job, alongside 200 community volunteers and a team of sixty professionals. Production Designer Myrddin Wannell and Community Projects and Underworld Designer Ellie Williams are both BA(Hons) Fine Art alumni and were my students twelve years ago. Undergraduates and graduates from the School of Film and Television have been capturing our every move. Associate Lecturer in Dance and Choreography, Emily Dobson, has given performers all their moves.

I am immensely proud to have led this project to completion. Catch it if you can. Until July 22nd at the Lost Gardens of Heligan‘.

100: UnEarth is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and The Lost Gardens of Heligan

“Last night, some magic in the mist. 100: UnEarth a beautiful immersive experience, A love story inspired by Orpheus and Eurydice. See this if you can.” Falmouth University Chancellor Dawn French on Twitter

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Keiken Collective – a productive finish to 2017…

Keiken at FOMO

Keiken, a collective of artists comprised of alumni from Falmouth School of Art, co-founded by Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, have enjoyed success since graduation and regularly provide opportunities for recent graduates and current students to collaborate with them. Autumn and winter 2017 saw Keiken engaged in projects around the UK…  

Keiken performance and installation at Clinic //2

Keiken performance and installation at Clinic //2

Keiken’s performance and installation piece, Silicone_Animism | The Birth of Mother Digital, was presented at Clinic //2 at the Oxo Tower, London, as part of a group show for the London Design Festival. The piece included the collective’s virtual reality film @MotherDigital (Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori, Jess Pemberton, Isabel Ramos, video design by Keiken’s George Stone and sound by Oak Matthias), alongside durational performance accompanied by live sound; a truly visceral atmosphere was created by 700ok (current Falmouth School of Art students Jasper Golding, Auguste Oldham and Zac Pomphrey) using generative code, in conjunction with sound artist Nati Cerutti.

Performers occupied the installation wearing costumes designed by recent graduate, Nine Derricott. Clad in silicone pregnancy bellies and PVC and reflective 3M garments, performers, in reference to the revolution of AI, explored innate feelings of connection usually associated with mother and child, in a world where the human is intertwined with the digital. Current BA(Hons) Fine Art student Alberta Shearing wrote the score and with another student Haruka Fukao performed extraordinarily alongside other performers, Nine Derricott, Kat Cashman, Sian Fan, Monty Fitzgerald, Si Garner, Sam Hall, Coral Knights, Beth Mellet and Julia Mallaby. In November, the film @MotherDigital was transmitted into space by Jon Pettigrew as part of Planet3artnews.

Keiken at Disturbed, Hacked, Reassembled

A group show curated by Drive-Thru at Lewisham Arthouse featured an adaptation of Silicone_Animism | The Birth of Mother Digital, as part of ‘Disturbed, Hacked, Reassembled’, an event which explored how artists are employing technology to stage, interrogate and celebrate the digital female body. Keiken’s interactive installation, again with sound designed by 700ok, used VR, video and sound to trace the birth of the digital; a giant networked space fused with human interaction and technology.

The installation, representative of an office environment, featured a pregnant woman working in Silicon Valley, who has

Agatha Gothe-Snape, Every Artist Remembered with Keiken, 7 October 2017, Frieze London, Regent’s Park, London. Photo: Sofia Freeman/The Commercial, Image courtesy The Commercial, Sydney

relationships with the office furniture in an allegory of Late Capitalism and animism (video design Keiken and George Stone, sound by Nati Cerutti). This adaptation was re-exhibited by Keiken as part of ‘Hervisions’ at Second Home, London.

In other recent projects, Keiken performed in Every Artist Remembered (2017) by Agatha Gothe-Snape at Frieze Art Fair, London; in November they led a performative workshop for Goldsmith University’s BSc Digital Arts Computing, and in a return to Falmouth, they performed at FOMO, the first Falmouth Art Publishing Fair.

In January 2018, Keiken will be hosting a workshop and event under keiken° mind u as part of Vorspiel transmediale, Berlin.

Highlights of a visit to the Venice Biennale

 

Venice Biennale, Hew Locke – photo: Richard Christensen

BA(Hons) Fine Art and BA(Hons) Drawing students recently returned from a study visit to the Venice Biennale.

The visit gave students from the two courses an opportunity to spend time with those on a different course at Falmouth, and the group fit much into their time. 2017 graduate Abbie Hunt, who was supported by Falmouth School of Art and the British Council to undertake a British Council Venice Fellowship, had been in touch with the students to make recommendations based on her experience of working at the Biennale for a month. And exhibiting in this year’s  Diaspora Pavilion were Falmouth Visiting Professor of Fine Art, Hew Locke and fellow Falmouth alumna Libita Clayton.

BA(Hons) Fine Art student Richard Christensen provided his response to some of the highlights, and some great images of the visit:

Venice Arsenale, photo: Richard Christensen

‘Our arrival in Venice was inauspicious, late on Monday evening with a biting wind which made for an uncomfortable ride in the vaporetto to San Marco.  The wind continued into Tuesday, together with plenty of rain, and found its way into the exhibition spaces of the Arsenale, where there were few warm spots for retreat.  But by Wednesday the wind had gone, and for the rest of our stay the city was pleasantly autumnal.

Much of the Arsenale site consists of a long series of halls which must once have been the dockyard workshops.  The exhibitions here were organised into loosely defined themes (‘the Common’, ‘the Earth’, etc)…the openness of the themed pavilions created both variety and dynamism, with a multitude of thought-provoking and visually arresting works in all media.

Venice, British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow – photo: Richard Christensen

The British pavilion had a painting-sculptural installation by Phyllida Barlow called ‘folly’.  Energetic, exuberant, more than filling its space and spilling outside the building, it was certainly not lacking in ambition.

An area of undoubted strength at the Biennale was the consistently high standard of video art.  Video is now clearly in an age of maturity, with professional production values and themes which speak to their audiences with clarity.  Several works at Venice are operating at the boundary with cinema in terms of the scope of their ambition and their technical standards.

Although there was little live performance art at the Biennale, the one piece which I saw was remarkable for its power and intensity.  The German pavilion was an almost empty space apart from a raised glass floor and glass panels separating some of the rooms.  The audience, on entering the building, hardly knew what to expect.  The four performers, initially positioned around the main exhibition hall, moved together and then separated in successive bursts of energy and slow deliberation, in a loosely structured narrative of encounters and separations.

Venice, German Pavilion, photo: Richard Christensen

At times there was intimacy, at others the threat of violence.  Even though much of the performance took place in and among the audience, at no time was there any interaction with it.  And despite the intensity of the piece the expressions of the performers were impassive throughout – indeed, this impassivity was what gave it much of its power.  And at the end, when the four performers disappeared, their wordless drama, maintained over an hour and a quarter, left the audience exhausted by what they had seen and experienced.

Two and a half days in Venice could never provide much more than a taster of what the Biennale had to offer.  I could easily have spent a whole week or more there taking in the art.  And as for the city… I’m sure I could devote a whole year there just to exploring its endless maze of alleyways and canals.’

 

The Venice study visit is one of a number of optional overseas trips offered to undergraduate students of Falmouth School of Art during their studies. BA(Hons) Drawing have also in recent years visited Amsterdam, and BA(Hons) Fine Art have previously visited Berlin.

FOMO – Introducing Falmouth’s first Art Publishing Fair

F O M O – the first ever Falmouth Art Publishing Fair – opens at 4pm on Friday 29 September for a weekend of talks, workshops, screenings, artists’ book works, performances, zines and comics and readings.   

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Organised by Falmouth School of Art’s Senior Lecturers Neil Chapman, Gillian Wylde and Carolyn Shapiro and Associate Lecturer Maria Christoforidou, F O M O will take place at Falmouth Art Gallery and the Library of the Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth, and brings together Falmouth School of Art staff and students with local participating institutions including: Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth Library, Tate St Ives, Stranger Collective, Urbanomic, Atlantic Press, Burning House Books, BLNT Collective, Keiken and Krowji. 

F O M O will include contributions from academic and research colleagues from: Royal  Holloway University, Cambridge University, West Dean College, Aarhus University, Plymouth University, Goldsmiths University of London, Research Center for Material Culture Netherlands and from across Departments at Falmouth University.

Generously supported by Falmouth Art Gallery, the event has grown out of discussion between colleagues across different departments at Falmouth University. From meetings as a Research Forum, finding common ground between their varied interests, the group started to consider joint research and how best to team up for that work. One of the organisers, Neil Chapman, reflects on the development of the event, and what we can look forward to over the weekend…

‘As a research group, we share a commitment to collective work. That’s both a pragmatic interest and a critical position too. Most often, when people work together it’s so that a workload can be shared. But collective work is unpredictable and inefficient too and these are values that might tend to be lost in the current climate. There is a lot of emphasis in the contemporary workplace on individuals’ success and the competition that results can be destructive. Our title for the event – Fear of Missing Out – is on some level an ironic allusion to these issues.

We are all of us, in different ways, committed to discursive work, to the climate of ideas that surrounds ‘making’ in our different disciplines. And that’s a foundation for the publication fair too, reflected in the many talks, screenings, readings and performances scheduled over the weekend. F O M O provides an opportunity for us to invite our colleagues and friends to Cornwall. It’s good for the cultures of creative practice here in Falmouth. F O M O will bring lots of people into contact who might not have met otherwise. We’re excited to imagine the new partnerships and the new work that might result.

The aim has been to inaugurate the kind of event that we would want to go to ourselves, also the kind of event that students would be excited about. Henrietta Boex, Director of Falmouth Art Gallery, has been extremely supportive. We’ve made all kinds of demands on her and she seems never to say no to anything; the Gallery’s Glyn Winchester has also been a great support. The independence of the project is a way of underscoring our own priorities, which are evident in all kinds of ways through the framing of the event: the name, the graphics, the publicity, the choice of which artists, writers and publishers to invite. There are many Art Publishing Fairs in the UK and abroad and we have had an eye on some of those. But in another sense this Fair has been invented from scratch. And for that reason it will work well as a foundation for bigger and more varied research initiatives to come. We’re talking about a future peer-reviewed journal, discursive gatherings – dream dinner date/fantasy football team type things with exciting living people—maybe some dead folk too, ghosts. No zombies. Digital Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida . . .

It’s particularly good to be working with current students and recent Falmouth University graduates. As part of FOMO, Graham Taylor who studied Fine Art and who graduated in 2015 is curating an exhibition entitled Practically Outside, involving a dozen or more Falmouth alumni. His contribution makes a direct engagement with the FOMO ethos, looking critically at what it means to be an ‘emerging artist’, engaging in the most thoughtful way with different platforms of exhibition and print publication.’

F O M O also includes contributions from writers, artists, poets, publishers, activists, hackers, Falmouth University alumni and musicians both national and international.

F O M O is an inaugural event, bringing a new art research collective into being, which, over forthcoming months will stage events in different forms and at different locations, connecting diverse networks.

https://falmouthartpublishingfair.wordpress.com/

Jessica Warboys, Falmouth alumna – talk at Falmouth and solo exhibition at Tate St. Ives

Hill of Dreams 2016, Performer Oliver Baggott, Video, High Definition, colour, sound; 11 minutes
© Jessica Warboys and 1857

Jessica Warboys,
Sea Painting, Dunwich, October, 2015
canvas, mineral pigments
Courtesy the artist & Gaudel de Stampa, Paris.

In association with Tate St. Ives, artist Jessica Warboys, who graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2001, joins us for a talk on 29 March, to mark her first solo show at a UK national gallery, at Tate St. Ives this Spring.

Warboys works across painting, performance, film and sculpture; her work is informed by personal or collective memories – historical, mythical or fictional. In her Sea Paintings, Warboys explores the connection between painting and performance, submerging damp, folded canvas scattered with coloured pigments into the sea, and allowing the movement of the waves to ‘paint’ the canvas.  The show at Tate St. Ives will feature films, sculptures and paintings, including two specially commissioned works:

Sea Painting, Zennor 2015, was made on the Zennor coast near St Ives.

Hill of Dreams 2016, is a new film that draws from Welsh fantasy writer Arthur Machen’s book of the same name, that relives his memories of rural Gwent, where Warboys was born a century later. Hill of Dreams has been commissioned by Tate St Ives, Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy and Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway and will tour to each of these venues throughout 2016−17.

Warboys currently lives and works in Suffolk and Berlin and has enjoyed wide international exhibition success, including solo exhibitions. After graduating from Falmouth she completed a Masters of Fine Art at Slade School of Art in 2004. Her work was recently included in British Art Show 8.

Register Here for Jessica Warboys’ talk on 29 March, 6pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Falmouth Campus. Please note the later than usual start time.

Jessica Warboys at Tate St. Ives runs from 31 March to 3 September 2017.

Fine Art Course Coordinator performs sell out live performance for Glasgow Film Festival

Gillian Wylde, Course Coordinator on BA(Hons) Fine Art presented a sell out live performance and lecture as part of the 13th annual Glasgow Film Festival.

The Festival featured a programme packed full of premieres, previews, unique pop-up cinema events, themed screenings, discussions, Q&As and live performance.

Taking place at the CCA: ‘Centre for Contemporary Arts venue’, Glasgow’s hub for the arts, Gillian presented ‘Will Internets Eat Brain?’ a live performance of fragments, texts, images and ideas trending in some of her recent work, followed by a discussion.

Gillian works mainly with video, performance, object and text. Central to her work is a critical engagement with new technologies, the mediated and the installed and simple interconnections of agency. Her works tend to get made in response to contexts of location and place, encounter and dialogue(s), ad-hocism, foraging and chance. Works comment on some of the social and political implications of new technology and practices, often challenging traditional ideas of the art object and means of production or productivity. ‘Material things or stuff’ in relation to the video camera, processes of appropriation and post-production are constants through most of the work – perhaps a savage smell or hairy logic.

Gillian’s work has been shown nationally and internationally including Transmodern Live Art Action Festival, Baltimore; Videotage, Hong Kong; Alytus Biennial, Lithuania; Tao Scene, Norway; Lounge Gallery, London.

Reflections on first year BA(Hons) Fine Art exhibition

img_0384At the start of this term, the end of their first study block, BA(Hons) Fine Art students worked together towards an exhibition in their studio buildings. The exhibited work demonstrated experimentation and showed the development of work throughout the first ten weeks of the course. The range of practices and approaches reflected the diversity and individuality of first year students.

Exhibiting student Charlie Ash, said, ‘The exhibition provided an opportunity for students to display work in an open and informal setting; with multiple first year spaces across the campus being organised and curated among studio groups. The exhibition confirmed how much I value being on a Fine Art course which supports a wide variety of art practices – there is something exciting about seeing painting, drawing, sculpture, performative and time-based work (and everything else) occupying the same space. I think a self-organised open studio exhibition is a good format for first year students as there is no pressure to include fully finished work, but it is an insight into the practices which everyone is engaged in – beneficial both as a participating artist and a viewer’.

 

 

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Fine Art students from other years, and staff from the course and across the university joined exhibitors for a well-attended opening event. The project was the first of many opportunities for students to share and exhibit their work for peers and more public audiences as they progress through the course.

Student Olivia Brelsford-Massey shared her experience of being involved in this exhibition: ‘The first year exhibition – although most of us felt like we didn’t know what to do – turned out to be a success! I found it helpful, as it’s easy to crawl into hole as an art student (that hole being the studio space), and bringing our work into the larger context of an exhibition made it easier see what everyone had been making this past term, and opened up conversations about our work and ideas. The opening night was a lot of fun, some of the students had put together food and drink and posters and invited their pals/significant others to have a look around – all of this was organised in a short space of time so kudos to everyone. All in all, putting together the exhibition as well as the work itself felt like a vital part of being an art student and I’m looking forward to the next one!’