BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT
from Adele Gibson, Project Organiser and Curator.
Podcast interview with Edwin Gilson
The project was made possible by generous Arts Council England funding together with the University of Brighton who provided the space for the exhibition. This allowed me to invite eight artists, all of whom have something unique to communicate about the project theme, to come and spend 2 weeks on the project residency. Time was spent researching, engaging in critical dialogue and also making and installing new work. I was delighted too to receive almost 150 responses to the open call that I put out, asking artists nationwide to submit work on the theme. I have heard it said several times, that it’s difficult to make good artwork about such an important and political topic. So, I’m very happy to have shown some beautiful, thought-provoking and intriguing works selected from the many high-quality works submitted.
Alongside the exhibition, the resident artists shared their research, practice and thinking on the theme of the Anthropocene. I didn't have any fixed ideas of what might be achieved in this time, but hoped and trusted that new innovative art might be made and that discussion would give rise to new collaborative relationships.
The residency experience was fast-paced given that we had one week only to set up the exhibtion across the two gallery spaces at Grand Parade, University of Brighton. The help of Richard Easton and Ashley Sheekey in installing over 50 works including the building of a dark space to show film was invaluable. In the midst of this work, Chris Shaw Hughes drew a 16 foot glacier and Paul Tuppeny built and installed 3 large sculptures. Paul's landscape in DNA consisted of glass slides containing DNA material gathered from the site opposite the gallery and displayed between 2 sheets of glass. Outisde the temperature reached 37 degrees, and inside the glass fronted space with no air conditioning, it must have been several degrees higher. It seem strangely apposite that this residency took place during the week where the highest ever UK temperature was experienced. With help from all the artists on the Friday before opening, everything was finished and the photographs demonstrate how good the show looked. We had around 500 visitors in the week of opening and the engagement from those visitors was fantastic. Most visitors read all the accompanying label information and several stayed for two hours or more. Comments on the visitor's wall were that the standard of work was very high, suited the space and that the work was moving and thought-provoking.
At the Onca barge which I had hired to have a quieter and cooler space for presentations and conversations, Sarah, Caroline, Laurel, Caleb and Tina had time to engage in discussion and then devise work comprising projection, sound and a series of performative works which were shown to visitors on the last evening of the residency at the 'Rave against the end of the world' event.
At several points during the residency, we had visiting speakers to spark new discussions and present an insight into their own work and research. I am grateful to Zuky Serper, Artist in Residence at the Centre of World Environmental History, University of Sussex; Jenny Edwards an Al-Gore trained Climate Reality Speaker and Leslie Sklair, Emeritus Professor of Sociology from LSE.
I extend my thanks to everyone who participated or visited the exhibition and hope that this website provides a useful resource for similar future projects.