Body armour and designer trees!
Can you imagine how you might advise an artist about whether or not he should take his body-armour with him on a residency? That’s the everyday nature of daily conversations and logistical planning within the RSA Arts & Ecology team as its international programme begins to bear fruit! A range of artists are now completing commissions and placements somewhere in the real or virtual world – all addressing serious ecological issues.
London based artist, David Cotterrell, is back from a month’s residency in Kabul with the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. In April, he left for Afghanistan in a whirl-wind of last minute checks and hitches: who would pay for the UN flights into Kabul? Does the RSA insurance policy adequately cover an artist in a ‘passive war’ zone? Should he take body-armour with him? In the end, David arrived safely in Kabul and spent his time working alongside Afghan artists and craft makers as well as teaching students at Kabul University’s Centre for Traditional Afghan Art and Architecture. He also developed his own practice in the context of ecological and related social issues as a result of the conflict.
The head of the arts programme at TMF, Jemima Montague, said of David, ‘..you are now the most famous international artist in Kabul – everyone said how much they learned, how moved they were by your images and observations’.
Watch out for the next blog about his time in Kabul and outputs over coming months.
In other worlds, German artist Dirk Fleischmann is currently to be found either near a ‘forest farm’ in the Philippines or wandering around the strange, angular terrain of Second Life – on a virtual island run by ZKM! The artist is trying to buy a plot of land in the Philippines where he intends to ‘seed an art- forest’. He plans to mirror the growth of this real-life forest with designer-trees in Second Life! His research residency can be tracked in Second Life and the RSA Arts & Ecology website from the middle of June. Fleischmann will also be interrogating notions of carbon offsetting within cyber space!
Matt Collishaw resurfaced with an impressive new work at Spring Projects, a new London gallery space in Kentish Town. The gallery specialises in fusing fashion, design and fine art under the inventive eye of its director, Andree Cooke, an excellent curator with a track record in crossing these disciplines. His installation entitled ‘Deliverance’ left viewers with literal and emotional marks as momentary revelations of humanitarian and environmental disaster were exposed to the eye with a cacophony of flash-lit images. The snatched glimpses of human tragedy forced a phosperent after-image onto the back of the eye (if not the brain!) and it was quite a struggle to re-gain composure on re-entering the wine-sipping throng of the London art crowd.
The next show at Spring Projects commences on June 13.
Organised by Director of Exhibitions, Mark Sladen, the ICA is currently running a series of solo, one week shows by sixty artists from Ireland and the UK.’ Nought to Sixty ‘ is pitched as ‘a multifaceted portrait of the emerging art scene in the two countries’ and I think this snap shot is well worth a visit. Look out for Alexander Heim who addresses ‘intrusions into urban life where animals, processes and chance routines create self-sustaining pockets of otherness’ – 16-23 June