The Metabolic Landscape

Jessica Rayner and Gina Glover

An exhibition of photography and visual art investigating the impact of energy on the landscape
5 July – 28 September 2018
Exhibition Preview, Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6 -8 pm

The exhibition extends over all four floors of the Alison Richard Building.

The exhibition shares its title with an accompanying book. Metabolism refers to the physiochemical process that underpins all life. Just as a metabolic disease refers to an energy-sourced disorder of the body, so too the planet is revealing signs of metabolic distress. The cause is the massive change in energy use by society. What is called the Energy Transition – the shift from a low to high-energy use society – has been seen as enormously beneficial (food production, transport, heating, etc.) but our increasing use of energy, particularly fossil energy, is now identified as a cause of climate change and ecosystem harm.

This exhibition attempts to engage with the dynamics of the world about us by addressing energy in the landscape, energy extraction, energy transmission, energy ‘substances’ – coal, oil, minerals, gas, and the sun, the source of most of our energy.

Gina Glover’s photographs exploit atmospheric and ambient light conditions to construct images, which draw attention to the place of energy and changes in the landscape. Her project builds upon visits to coal mines in the Arctic and geothermal energy plants in Iceland, where the heat from volcanoes is used to generate electricity. Realising how both nature and human history had irrevocably changed by energy her recent work includes nuclear reactors in France, hydroelectric power stations in Wales, opencast coal mines in Germany, oil wells and hydraulic fracturing sites in the USA and glacier loss in Greenland.

In contrast, Jessica Rayner examines the energy of ‘things’ within the landscape. She uses a range of media, including photography, video, printmaking and three-dimensional sculpture to explore the idea of energy through objects, materials, substances and processes. She describes objects and processes as ‘affordances’, because they offer value to us. Delving into the histories of these objects, she offers up their stories of origination, discovery and scientific analysis. In constructing these artworks she provides a further ‘story’, the question of whether an artwork can express within it the artist’s own sense of knowledge and perception of an object.

Read our Q&A blog with the artists about the exhibition here: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/blog/post/qa-the-metabolic-landscape

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Adam King & Renee Spierdijk Exhibitions

5 April – 29 June 2018

Exhibition Opening, Thursday 5 April 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm

Adam King: New Suburbia Flowers

In the spring of 2016, Adam King returned to the area south of Norwich, Norfolk, where he grew up. The semi-rural landscape is currently undergoing considerable road and housing development. Over a period of 14 months, King produced a series of constructions, along with related regular format drawings, to explore and make sense of the changes in the identity of a once-familiar landscape.
Adam King was born in 1971 in Norwich, Norfolk. He received a BA (Hons) Painting from Brighton University (1994) and an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon School of Art, London (2003).

@Adam King
Adam King

Renee Spierdijk: Imposed Transitions

Renee Spierdijk’s work responds to images of young women in formal settings, mainly from found photographs. Spierdijk’s current work is largely set in 19th century America during the civil war and its immediate aftermath; a time of upheaval when many were forced to search for a new identity or had a new identity imposed on them. This is an experience which is both timeless and in an era of continued forced migration as contemporary as ever.
Renee Spierdijk is a Dutch artist, born in Amsterdam, who came to England in 1977. She studied Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmith’s College, and now lives and works in Cambridge.

© Renee Spierdijk
Renee Spierdijk

Reality Machines: an art exhibition on Post-Truth

 9 – 29 MARCH 2018

Exhibition Preview, Friday 9 March from 7-9pm
Performance by Sophie Seita ‘Making Light: In the Temple of Formidable Hypotheses’, at 7:30pm (duration 15mins)

“Truth” is of no small importance to human affairs, yet it has been and remains a contested category. Its status shifts radically through time, place, religion, discipline— and today, social platform. Truth can be definite and mercurial, divine and political. As secularism, cosmopolitanism and positivism enter a moment of crisis, and as information seems to be ever more available – while also subject to algorithmic modification – anxieties about the status of truth and the transparency of information are on the rise.

“Post-truth” was the 2016 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year, denoting “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The crisis in objectivity that this new word unveils has been accompanied by an unprecedented proliferation of homemade images that excel the art of “remixology”, the “practice of recombining preexistent content”. These images result in often-fake contents that circulate both virally and ephemerally online. The “post-truth phenomenon”, however, is not only fuelled by low-tech and intimate creativity, but also by technologically sophisticated and politically driven techniques of image creation, alteration and destruction. These sustain electoral agendas, responses to catastrophe and affective relationships to powerholders.

While fake news has a long history, its contemporary currency has been enhanced by the ways in which new biopolitical regimes, from genetic testing to big data, confront more entrenched epistemes. These regimes are potentially capable of bypassing old forms of expertise and knowledge production. The ethical and aesthetic significance of this shift in the status of “truth” is pending critical debate, as is art’s response to the current wave of iconographic politicization, conspiratorial fears, and data skepticism. Reality Machines addresses this “knowledge controversy” while intersecting it with the work of artists from a multiplicity of countries working as activists, social critics, and human rights advocates. Curated by Mara Polgovsky Ezcurrain.

Artists: Alejandra España (Mexico) | Alejandro Luperca (Mexico) | Angelo Ferreira (Portugal)| Camila Moreiras (US & Spain) | Charles Ogilvie (UK) | Forensic Architecture | Joana Moll (Spain) | Máximo Corvalán (Chile) | Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico & Canada) | Virginia Colwell (USA)

Related Event:
Artist talk by Joanna Moll, Thursday 8 March 2018 at 5pm, Room DD48, Cripps Court, Queens’ College, Cambridge

Visions of Plague: Photographs of the Third Plague Pandemic

15 February – 2 March 2018

The exhibition extends over all floors of the building.

The third pandemic of plague (in its bubonic and pneumonic clinical forms) struck the globe with devastating results between 1894 and 1959. It was the first time that plague would reach and establish itself in all inhabited continents. It was also the first time that any epidemic would be photographed. As plague spread from harbour to harbour, and amongst cities, towns and villages, so did photographs of the pandemic through reproductions in the daily and illustrated press. The exhibition Visions of Plague showcases for the first time this founding moment in epidemic photography. Showing photographs collected and digitized from across the world by the ERC-funded project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic, the exhibition takes us from the frozen steppes of Manchuria to San Francisco, Brazil, India and Madagascar, where epidemics of plague challenged colonial and national forms of government, reshaped the urban environment and generated new ways of understanding infectious diseases.

Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic is an ERC project held at the University of St Andrews’ Social Anthropology Department and the University of Cambridge’s CRASSH, and led by medical anthropologist Dr Christos Lynteris. The project and the exhibition is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564).

The exhibition Visions of Plague: Photographs of the Third Plague Pandemic was realised with the cooperation of the Wellcome Library, the San Francisco Public Library, the Institute of Experimental Medicine, the Hong Kong University Library Special Collections, the Centre for South Asian Studies (Cambridge), the Joseph Needham Research Institute, the New York Academy of Medicine Library, and the Institut Pasteur Archives.

You can follow the project on Twitter @visualplague

PLEASE NOTE: THIS EXHIBITION CONTAINS IMAGES OF A MEDICAL NATURE

ARTIFICIAL THINGS

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

3 NOVEMBER 2017 – 19 JANUARY 2018

EXHIBITION RECEPTION & ARTIST TALKS, 30 NOVEMBER 2017, 5.30-8PM

There will always be a question over the photographic image as to whether it can ever truly capture reality. ‘Artificial Things’ explores this idea further, bringing together photographic artists who use the medium to explore and merge the boundaries of the fake, the real, and the in-between.

Artist talks start at 6PM
The More That is Taken Away – Ben Altman
Liquid Images – Clara Turchi

This exhibition has been organised and curated in collaboration with Shutter Hub.

Clara Turchi, Persistency of Death
Clara Turchi, Persistency of Death

Becky Probert
Ben Altman
Charlotte Morrison
Christopher Sims
Clara Turchi
Ethan Lo
Gavin Smart
Georgina Howard
Jacqueline Thow
Jo Stapleton
Joanne Coates
Luke Harby
Lynn Fotheringham
Olli Hellmann
Paul Hart
Rachel Wright
Theo Ellison
Victoria Ahrens
Will Webster

 

What is Art? The Search is Over

Panel Discussion & Book Launch

Thursday 19 October 2017, 5 – 8PM
Rooms SG1&2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Help artist Robert Good celebrate the launch of A New Dictionary of Art – a new approach to an old problem.

Robert will be joined by philosopher Professor Derek Matravers, artist John Clark and designer Jane Glennie for a lively and informative discussion about his project to collate over 3000 definitions of Art from the Internet. Includes a short reading, book signing, and refreshments.

Please book a place for this event via Eventbrite

A New Dictionary of Art – One word: 3,000 definitions.

“Both splendid and splendidly bonkers” – Professor Derek Matravers, philosopher

Robert Good, A New Dictionary of ArtThe definition of ‘Art’ has exercised philosophers, artists, and art-lovers for centuries, yet we are no nearer a consensus of what in fact it is. The one term not found in most dictionaries of art is the term ‘Art’ itself.

A New Dictionary of Art takes a refreshingly alternative approach, allowing you to take your pick from over 3,000 definitions compiled from the internet via chat-rooms and discussion forums as well as from more established authorities, artists and institutions. Passions run high as formal sits alongside informal, jocular alongside vulgar: all are left to fight it out on the page.

Each entry is carefully alphabetised and has been valiantly edited and annotated for accuracy and completeness to the point of absurdity. By retaining the format and formality of a dictionary in this way, A New Dictionary of Art acknowledges with humour our continuing desire for absolute knowledge and certainty.

 “Weirdly but powerfully provocative… one of the most useful things I’ve read in a while” – John Clark, painter

Panelists:

  • Robert Good is an artist based in Cambridge UK and Masters graduate from Cambridge School of Art, ARU
  • Derek Matravers is a philosopher of aesthetics at the Open University and a former Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge.
  • John Clark is a painter and maker based in Cambridge UK.
  • Jane Glennie is an artist and typographer and founder of Peculiarity Press.

Radical/Basic/Actual

1970s Experiments in Print Media

Felipe Ehrenberg, Latin American Artists and the Beau Geste Press

10 October – 14 November 2016

In Association with Cambridge University Library and Trinity College

Curator: Erica Segre

The Mexican mixed media, conceptual and performance artist Felipe Ehrenberg and Martha Hellion co-founded the Beau Geste Press collective in Devon (1970-1976) with English artist and art historian David Mayor. It became one of the most influential avant-garde independent presses of the post-war period and is regarded by art historians and contemporary artists as one of the most significant transnational collaborative projects of the 1970s.

This exhibition showcases a collection of these provocative and original limited editions often made using unconventional materials and ‘arte povera’ techniques of production and distribution in an unusual variety of small-scale formats. It explores the legacy of indiscipline of the BGP’s uniquely communal and discrepant artefacts.

Flowers of Earth and Blood

Lala Meredith-Vula

3 October – 23 December 2016

Lala Meredith-Vula is showing a series of photographs that mark her personal journey of rediscovering her roots and her own identity during the past 25years, including the aftermath of war in Bosnia and Kosovo. Lala will also feature works from the blood feud reconciliation movement in Kosova from 1990 – 1991 and the incredible time in the Kosovar history when people decided to bring an end to blood feuds and to stop the killing which lasted for over a hundred years and sometimes until all men of the two involved families were killed. The blood feuds were often influenced by the fifteenth-century canon of Lek Dukagjini, a set of traditional Albanian laws.

Lala Meredith-Vula was born in Sarajevo in 1966, to an Albanian father and English mother, and came to Britain in the 1970s. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, London University (1985/88) and was awarded a Yugoslav scholarship at Pristina University, Kosova (1988/90). Her first show was in Damien Hirst’s landmark exhibition “Freeze”, London (1988) that is famous for launching the YBA Young British Artists. She has exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1999 and 2007) representing Albania, as well as nationally and internationally with many solo shows including at the Photographers’ Gallery London, in Germany, Italy, Albania, and in numerous group shows in the UK, USA, and China.

Bond steel NATO BASE 2006
Bond steel NATO BASE 2006

This exhibition is accompanied by the Festival of Ideas symposium Politics through the Archives of Photography, Film and Art which takes place on 22 October 2016 from 2-3pm in the Alison Richard Building.

 

 

 

New exhibitions – Beata Zygarlowska & Sandra Scott

SANDRA SCOTT – UNMASKING IDENTITY

11 APRIL – 1 JULY 2016
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016, 6.00 – 8.00PM

Sandra Scott is a Barbadian-born professional artist and teacher who has lived and worked in Cambridge for the past 24 years. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Barbadian National Cultural Foundation NIFCA award. In 1984 she won the prestigious Organisation of America States fellowship to study Art Education at the Edna Manley School of Art, then known as the Jamaica School of Art. Her early work used mixed media and sculpture and was strongly influenced by African art. Her recent works are further inspired by contemporary artists such as Klimt and Hundertwasser.

Scott’s current work combines her own hand dyed fabrics, batiks and prints, which form the basis for her machined stitched pieces. Keen to experiment with new ideas and materials, she has included her own printed papers and embossed foils with some of her fabric pieces. Drawn to the aged face and body, Scott is fascinated by what constitutes ideal beauty in different societies. This theme has been a prominent feature in her work, resulting in highly personal and symbolic expressions, and designed to reveal and bring these issues to the viewers’ attention.


BEATA ZYGARLOWSKA – BODY & SPACE

11 APRIL – 1 JULY 2016
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016, 6.00 – 8.00PM

Beata Zygarlowska’s photographic works explore senses of space created by, and around the human body. Utilising her background in architecture, Beata approaches the scale of the built environment in a free and abstract way. In combining it with the photographic technique of double exposure, she creates images which construct new relationships between an object and its surroundings. Poetic ideas are framed in space and time; the sensuous skin of a woman set against the cold skin of a modernist building, a male figure as the bedrock of a skyscraper or a spinning female dancer in a void. Unfamiliar representations of bodies in space transform our reality into abstract impressions, questioning our experience of what we know, or what we think we know.

Born in Warsaw, Beata studied in Copenhagen at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and at The University of Cambridge. She lives and works in Cambridge and London. For her photographic work, combining architecture and light, she has received several grants and scholarships, among others from the Danish Agency for Culture, the Anglo-Danish Society, the Sophus Fonden by Louis Poulsen Lighting (for her studies on V. Hammershøi), and the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation.