Author Archives : xapwpadmin

Radical Activist Despard Commemorated at Wandsworth Arts Fringe

Liz Sergeant, Speaking of CharlotteXAP will be performing at Wandsworth Arts Fringe in May 2019, to commemorate the radical feminist, activist and social reformer, Charlotte Despard (1844-1939).  After becoming widowed, Despard moved from her comfortable Surrey home to Nine Elms, then one of the poorest districts of London, now the site of the new US Embassy.  There she set up her front room as a clinic for local mothers and babies, and campaigned for better conditions in workhouses and factories.  She joined the Women’s Suffrage movement, founded the Women’s Freedom League and campaigned throughout Europe against fascism. Declared “a dangerous subversive”, she was sent to Holloway prison twice. Even into her 90s she continued travelling and campaigning for social justice.

Liz Sergeant initiated this project in 2012, and will lead XAP’s performances in Nine Elms, where Despard lived and worked.  Performances: 3rd, 11th and 19th May, see Wandsworth Arts Fringe programme for more details.


Goldsmiths / V&A Residency for XAP Artist

XAP artist Laura Dekker has been awarded the Goldsmiths / V&A Digital Arts Programme Residency for 2019.  She will be working between Goldsmiths University of London’s ‘Hatchlab’ digital fabrication and physical computing facilities, and at the V&A’s collections.  The residency takes place during spring and summer 2019, culminating in an installation at the V&A’s Digital Design Weekend in September.

Laura will be continuing her work in emotion, embodiment and machine learning, concentrating on how a ‘sentient’ machine might select and direct its interactions and focus of attention, in order to manage the complexity of the world.

Manifesta 11 Zurich

Cabaret Der Kunstler – Zunfthaus Voltaire have recently published the catalogue for Manifesta 11.  The Zurich 2016 edition of the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Manuel Scheiwiller and Christian Jankowski, includes the performance Hydra Hands Man, created by XAP’s Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh for the biennial.  Previous editions have taken place in Rotterdam, Luxembourg, Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Donostia/San Sebastián, Trentino–South Tyrol, Murcia, Genk and St Petersburg.

“Manifesta was conceived in the early 1990s as a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art, responding to the new social, cultural and political reality that emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War. Following a desire to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe and to provide a dynamic platform for cultural exchange throughout the region, it takes place every two years in a different European city. Along with the Venice Biennale and documenta in Kassel, Manifesta is one of the foremost art events in Europe.”

Creative Machine 2 Brings Together Artists from St Petersburg and UK

Expressive Machine #2The Creative Machine 2 exhibition opens on London on 7th November at St James Hatcham Gallery, Goldsmiths. The exhibition explores “the twilight world between human and machine creativity”, and follows the seminal Creative Machine exhibition of 2014. The exhibition will show works by selected artists linked to Goldsmiths and artists from the CYLAND MediaArtLab based in St Petersburg, Russia.  Developed in association with the Youth Education Center at the State Hermitage and The Leonardo Journal, the works shown include Laura Dekker’s Expressive Machine #2, an intelligent machine hybrid that explores machine emotion and human-machine relationships.  Other works by leading computational artists explore themes of machine creativity using immersive virtual reality, kinetic sculpture and machine learning. The exibition runs from 7th-18th November, and includes talks and a panel discussion chaired by Simon Ings, New Scientist Culture Editor.

See for more details.

Cultivate Arts Festival – an ambitious installation

XAP’s Liz Sergeant has been instrumental in organising Cultivate, a major new arts festival celebrating the creative arts, taking place from 21-24th June in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Various locations across the town are hosting exhibitions, installations, concerts, workshops, pottery, poetry and performances with the aim of bringing together people of all ages to participate in art in all its forms.

Liz and a small team have created an ambitious art installation ‘In and Out of Order’, within the space of a local church, on the theme of the environment and our place within it. A riot of ribbons, hanging in the space, tell the story of the beauty of creation, which we have destroyed and polluted through plastic and deforestation. The ribbons become monochromatic, and charred branches and sculptures made of waste materials hang in the space. Yet hope and redemption are promised in the shape of a 7ft gnarled, splintered wooden cross, entwined with ivy and bursting with tiny white flowers.

Liz reached out to the wider community for help with this project, and received managed contributions from various local groups – including schools, the Brownies and Rainbows.  Visitors were invited to interact with the installation by leaving their mark and taking away a handful of wild flower seeds to nurture at home.

The installation was the setting for a programme of talks, poetry readings and concerts throughout the week, all on the subject of the environment.

Visitors described the installation as ‘Thought-provoking’ ‘Powerful’ and ‘Inspiring’.

Liz was interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio about the festival, and the local paper helped to publicise this exciting new event.

Plans are afoot to make Cultivate an annual festival – for information about 2019 watch this space!



XAP Artists in Hospital Rooms 20×20 Fundraiser


Dina Varpahovsky and Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh are taking part in a special fundraising exhibition for Eileen Skellern 1, a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit for women at Maudsley Hospital in South London.

Over 100 artists have donated 20x20cm artworks for the exhibition, to be sold anonymously for £50 each, to raise money for urgent upcoming projects in secure and locked mental health units across the country.

Taking place at Griffin Gallery in London, the exhibition will showcase work that artists Julian Opie, Aimee Mullins, Harold Offeh, Nengi Omuku, Tamsin Relly, Paresha Amin and Tim A Shaw, created for the unit, in collaboration with patients and staff.

Hospital Rooms is an Arts Council funded charity that rejuvenates mental health hospitals with contemporary art


25th April 2018
Griffin Gallery
The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street
London W11 4AJ

Processions – Live Art Project 2018

XAP’s Liz Sergeant was invited to work with Scottish artist Ruth Ewan as part of this UK-wide live art project organised by Artichoke, to celebrate the centenary of Women’s Suffrage. 100 women artists created 100 banners for a procession inspired by 100 suffragettes. Liz joined Ruth’s workshop with women from Nine Elms to provide content input about activist Charlotte Despard, who was their nominated suffragette. The group met throughout March and April to create a Charlotte Despard-inspired banner for the march through London on June 10th 2018. Simultaneous marches were held in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.  With participants wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions march appeared as a flowing river of colour through the city streets.

More information about Processions can be found here.

Beautiful Monsters at Portico Gallery


Beautiful Monsters is a research project investigating the unique and ancient collection of books housed at the Portico Library in Manchester. Portico was founded in 1806 as a subscription library and newsroom. The collections reflect the literary, intellectual and cultural mindset of the men who founded the library, with a focus on topography, biography, history and voyages and travels. Perhaps the most treasured books are those that inspired project curator Anya-Charikov-Mickleburgh – the encyclopaedic works of Swiss polymath Conrad Gessner, who undertook to document the known and not-so-known beasts of the land, sea and air, in the early sixteenth century, in four spectacularly illustrated volumes.

Six artists have responded to the collections, with new artworks, interpreting the concept of beautiful monsters within contemporary times and contexts. Joining Anya-Charikov-Mickleburgh are artists Laura Dekker, Donal Moloney, Ed Saye, Evgeny Strelkov and Dina Varpahovsky.

Beautiful Monsters opens at Portico Library & Gallery on 17th May and runs until 30th June.

Opening event with talks and drag performance, 6-8pm Thursday 17th May,

The Portico Library & Gallery
57 Mosley Street
M2 3HY

Liz Sergeant Selected for SheFest

Liz Sergeant, Speaking of Charlotte


XAP’s Liz Sergeant’s video work ‘Speaking of Charlotte’ has been selected for the ‘Fighting Talk’ exhibition at SheFest 2018.  Taking place from 5th-11th March, SheFest is Sheffield’s Fringe Festival for International Women’s Day, and features a programme of events celebrating women and girls.

Liz says: “Delighted to have my video work ‘Speaking of Charlotte’ selected for SheFest 2018!  So glad that the story of Charlotte Despard, activist, suffragist and social reformer, will get another airing.”

Congratulations, Liz. Fighting Talk indeed!


Virtuality Mortality and Electronic Waste Responsibility

The Big Heap at Virtuality Mortality

XAP and guest artists creatively inhabited the spectacular spaces at 47/49 Tanner Street over the weekend 14th-15th October, as part of Ugly Duck‘s creative programme for 2017.

Part of the joy of being involved in a project of this sort is having the chance to experiment. Most of the works were created especially for the project, and many were developed over the weekend in repsonse to the site and feedback.  The performance programme was especially enjoyed by audiences, including some quite challenging and difficult works.

Our Tech Vet, Dave Lukes, was kept busy with ailing gadgets.  The Big Heap of vintage, dying and broken technology brought some nostalgic responses (“Ooh, can I have that old Commodore when you’re finished?”).  We learned a lot.  But there is still a long way to go – at least as far as the UK is concerned – in dealing responsibly with electronic waste (WEEE – waste electrical and electronic equipment).  We were forcefully reminded of this when it came to take down the Big Heap at the end of the project.  Much of it was gratefully snapped up for collections, some for repair.  Small WEEE recycling is quite well catered for in London, with street-side bins, but the bureaucracy of borough-based recycling serivces for larger WEEE was frustrating.  There’s still a long way to go.  Quite literally.  It shouldn’t be necessary to drive waste across London (Southwark to Haringey) in order to dispose of it responsibly, but that’s what we had to do.  It’s good to see that people like the Restart Project are advocating change – educating, facilitating and encouraging an attitutde of ‘let’s fix it’, and promoting legislation requiring manufacturers to make their devices openly repairable.


Virtuality Mortality at Ugly Duck Coming Soon!

In our packed weekend programme at Ugly Duck, 14th/15th Oct 2017, twenty-one artists combine multi-sensory installations, interactive robotics, paint, machine learning, sculpture, video, print, audio and performance.  Come, explore, take part!

XAP and guest artists will investigate communication, tensions and potentials between the realms of the Real and Virtual, depicted as an intense ecology of digital, organic, human and machine; living, decaying, undead and reborn.

Experience the moment of ‘Unoriginal Sin’ via QR code; see the unseen ‘Last free NHS bed’; let an AI ransack your email and create a ’zine all about you; taste the Big Heap of decaying technology.  Visit through the eyes of The (hu)Ma(n)chine; follow the trail of elusive messages from an other place; prepare yourself to forget; notify The System of the Final Wishes for your online self.

There will be participatory performances, ‘Tech Vet’ clinics for your sick gadgets, Big Draw workshops, artists’ tours and a final ‘Takedown/Breakdown performance… where does this waste go?’.

Saturday 14th Oct 11.00-22.00  /  Opening Party 18.00-22.00
Sunday 15th Oct 11.00-17.00

at 47/49 Tanner Street, SE1 3PL, near Tower Bridge

Visit the Virtuality Mortality exhibition and events website for more information.

Overlap @ Goldsmiths Computational Arts

Goldsmiths’ MA/MFA Computational Arts show, ‘Overlap’ opens this evening at the deconsecrated church St James in New Cross.  Amongst many other exciting and fresh new works in computational arts, Laura Dekker’s new project, ‘Salty Bitter Sweet’ will go through its new incarnation:

“The Machine has made itself, quietly, unnoticed, in a back room. From partially broken and discarded components. Now it tries to explore and understand the world in which it finds itself. It tastes what it sees – abandoned pieces of junk, rotting matter. In response, tentatively, it begins to express itself, in machinic love poetry and soundscape.”

Come feed The Machine!



Overlap Private View 6pm-9pm Thursday 7th Sept

Show runs 7th-10th Sept at St James, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London

Artist in Residence – Liz Sergeant

Liz Sergeant was invited to be the Artist in Residence at a recent leadership conference in Derbyshire. Over three days, Liz led workshops and hosted a drop-in session, where delegates with varying degrees of artistic skill learned about portraiture through the ages, and experimented in drawing their own and others’ portraits. Hidden talents were discovered using a range of media and a variety of drawing techniques designed to encourage exploration.

3D colour walls inspired by Mondrian

XAP’s Liz Sergeant has been challenging older students at a local school during their Year of Art. This workshop introduced perspective and the power of primary colours through the work of Piet Mondrian. Examining Mondrian’s progression towards abstraction and his use of geometric shapes, colour and line, the children learned how to create a striking colour block wall with an amazing 3D effect.

For more information see Liz’s website

XAP Selected for Ugly Duck

 Ana Oak

Ana Oak

XAP are delighted to have been selected for Ugly Duck’s 2017 creative callout.

During October 2017, XAP will occupy Ugly Duck’s expansive Victorian factory and warehouse building at Tanner Street near Tower Bridge, London, with a series of large-scale installations, performances and events.  XAP’s project “Virtuality Mortality” explores  communication between the realms of the real and virtual as an intense ecology of living, digital, organic, decaying, nascent, dead, undead, human and technological matter.


Shtager Gallery Hosts Boîte-en-Valise Miniature Exhibition

What You Wish For

What You Wish For

XAP’s Laura Dekker will be showing her miniature electro-luminescent process drawings at the up-coming “too much as not enough” at Shtager Gallery in Elephant-and-Castle, London.  The exhibition is inspired by Duchamp’s “Boîte-en-Valise”, or box in a suitcase, a portable miniature monograph including sixty-nine reproductions of the artist’s own work.

This inaugural exhibition at Shtager Gallery “unites under the same roof in a compact space not only one, but multiple group and solo ‘exhibitions’. The conceptual gesture of Duchamp is peculiar in the contemporary context of commercialisation, gentrification and scarcity. How many narratives and stories can strategically fit in a small experimental space?”.

The exhibition is preceded on 18th May with a lecture by associate curator Denis Maksimov on Duchamp, acceleration, radical forms of presentation, experimentation & ‘too much as not enough’ series.

19th-30th May, Shtager Gallery, 87 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3AZ.  Open only by appointment.

Royal College shows for Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh

XAP’s Anya Charikov-Micleburgh has two shows coming up at the Royal College of Art.  “Surrogate Twins”, is a collaborative project formed by the RCA Painting students based at the Kensington campus.  31st March to 10th April, RCA Kensington, Jay Mews, Painting project space, ground floor.

#supercommunity is a group show at RCA Battersea in the Dyson Gallery, 19th-22nd May.

Time Cures, Time Kills

Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh installation

Time Cures, Time Kills

Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh’s haunting new installation is part of a collaborative project called “Time Cures, Time Kills” with Eileen Theresia Anderson. It is currently on display in the shop windows at 187 Trafalgar Rd, Greenwich SE10 9EQ, running until 9th April.
Thanks to Sean Raggett for hosting.

Dina Varpahovsky Selected for Exceptional at CollyerB


Dina Varpahovsky’s painting Ambergris has been selected for Exceptional, a 2017 Graduate Art Exhibition and Award by Collyer Bristow, a London-based law firm.  The exhibition, curated by Rosalind Davies and showcasing emerging talent from Goldsmiths, Middlesex University and City & Guilds of London Art School, is showing at the firm’s in-house art gallery from 22 February to 14 June. The award will be announced by Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick at the Preview on the 21st February from 6-8pm.

Pool Party

Pool Party

One of Dina Varpahovsky’s City & Guilds degree show paintings, Pool Party, will be shown at ‘MA & Other Postgraduates 2017’ exhibition at Atkinson Gallery, Millfield, Somerset.  The exhibition will be open from 20 February to 18 March with the Private View taking place on Monday 20 February 7 – 9pm.

Ana Oak in Gasthaus, Zurich

'developing', Ana Oak at Reseda Zurich


Ana Oak’s video, ‘developing’, is showing as part of Gasthaus – Fermentation and Bacteria.  This is a transdisciplinary project, curated by Maya Minder, at in which knowledge and ideas are brought together, cooked, fermented, and above all, are shared:

“The process of fermenting is to be taken literally and stands as a metaphor for the transformation that is currently taking place in our society. It also carries an aesthetic component and involves our senses, instincts, and intuition. Cultures are shared in the heads as well as in the intestines of all participants.”

Reseda, Badenerstrasse 230, 8005 Zürich, 3rd-15th Jan 2017

Technology is Not Neutral Comes to Watermans

TINN at watermans

Some Small Robots Perform…

Technology is Not Neutral, the touring exhibition of digital art, is transferring to Watermans Arts Centre in London.  Laura Dekker’s new installation, Some Small Robots Perform Recent News Media Output Concerning AI, joins work by ten other pioneering and contemporary digital artists.

The opening event, on Saturday 12th November, is part of Watermans’ Digital Performance Weekender.  Alongside the exhibiition, each Saturday, are a series of workshops linked in with the art works, and on Saturday 3rd December, Watermans hosts the Technology is Not Neutral Symposium, at which Laura will be on the discussion panel.

The exhibition is curated by Gordana Novakovic, Anna Dumitriu and Irini Papadimitriou, is funded by Arts Council England, The Computer Arts Society, and UCL Department of Computer Science and supported by Women Shift Digital, Phoenix Brighton and Watermans.

4th Nov 2016 – 8th Jan 2017, Watermans Arts Centre, TW8 0DS

XAP Brave the Tide and Weather for Art Licks Weekend


‘Tied’ Thames performance

Despite some fairly harsh weather at the start of Art Licks Weekend (1st & 2nd October) XAP took to the cold water of the Thames at Bankside outside Tate Modern for their performance of Tied.  The project made its debut performance in June for Whitstable Biennale Satellite.  This time, on the Thames for Art Licks, the artists continued their work, growing their net, with the rising Thames washing up, at times alarmingly high.  Even in the heavy rain there was a good audience, and on the second day, in fairer weather, XAP shared the beach with mud-larkers of the Thames Foreshore Recording and Observation Group.  So where next for Tied?

Pushkin House in Bloomsbury hosts The Runaway Fingers


The Runaway Fingers

Seven artists interpret the imaginative world of the little-known early 20th century Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887-1950). Curated by XAP’s Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, The Runaway Fingers is a response, executed in a variety of media – including paintings, photography, video and interactive installations – to Krzhizhanovsky’s remarkable short stories, including Quadraturin, Yellow Coal and The Runaway Fingers.

The exhibition is hosted at the beautiful Pushkin House, the home of Russian culture, in Bloomsbury.  A programme of events is taking place as part of the exhibition, including studio visits and talks by the participating artists, Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, Nick Clark, Laura Dekker, Ana Oak, Ed Saye, Liz Sergeant and Dina Varpahovsky.

The Runaway Fingers runs from 29th September to 13th November, Monday to Saturday 2-5pm, and by appointment outside those times.  Please check the Pushkin House web site as parts of the exhibition are closed for events on certain days.

Sarah Cave-McMullan in Blossoming Communities

Blossoming CommunitiesXAP’s Sarah Cave-McMullan has been leading a group of Arts and Crafts for Mums and Babies at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine in London E14; the group aims to bring new local mothers together with Bengali mothers from Marion Richardson Primary School, to explore and learn new art forms.

During the project, the group explored the theme of community: what it means, how we create community and how do we know when we are part of a community?  Participants learnt how to make paper crafted flowers from recycled materials, and staged an exhibition of their work.

The project is co-curated by Sarah Cave-McMullan, St Katherine’s Precinct and Marion Richardson Primary School.


Technology Is Not Neutral at Phoenix Brighton

XAP’s Laura DsSome Small Robots Performekker is an invited artist at an ambitious new touring exhibition of digital artworks by leading pioneering and contemporary female digital artists.  Entitled Technology Is Not Neutral, the exhibition launches at Phoenix Brighton on 1st September and runs until 25th September, as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.

From drone choreography, sequencing of bacteria and brainwave art to hacking reality, social media activism and telepresence, this exhibition highlights the contribution of female artists in shaping what digital art is today. The exhibition features existing and newly commissioned artworks; a full events programme accompanies the exhibition, including a series of workshops and a gallery tour.  Following Brighton, the exhibition will tour to Watermans in London and will be accompanied by a major symposium.

Laura’s installation, Some Small Robots Perform Recent News Media Output Concerning AI, sets up a “herd” of robots to “perform” headlines from UK media, highlighting some of the contemporary hype and fears around robots and artificial intelligence.

The exhibition is curated by Gordana Novakovic, Anna Dumitriu and Irini Papadimitriou, is funded by Arts Council England, The Computer Arts Society, and UCL Department of Computer Science and supported by Women Shift Digital, Phoenix Brighton and Watermans.


XAP Artists and Krzhizhanovsky’s Runaway Fingers

The Russian cultural centre, Pushkin House in Bloomsbury, is hosting an exhibition which takes as its starting point the short stories of the relatively little known early 20th century Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.  Krzhizhanovsky’s work occupies a fascinating area of science fantasy and alternative reality, providing great inspiration for creating new art works.  Amongst the exhibiting artists are several XAP members – Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, Dina Varpahovsky, Ana Oak, Liz Sergeant and Laura Dekker.  The show opens on 29th September and continues until 13th November.

XAP’s Spring/Summer Show: Daylight Saving at Geddes Gallery

daylight saving med

For their spring/summer show 2016, XAP will inhabit the old deli and the flat above at Geddes Gallery, taking as a point of departure ideas around time, making (un)subtle interventions with and around the leftovers from the last occupants of the building.

In the store room, two lobster-sized electronic creatures roam – their remit to act out their part in the creation myth…
elsewhere, cobwebs are transported from another home and placed in delicate thread display cases…
empty catheter boxes line the deli shelves…
a collector’s hoard of used train tickets form an index, a catalogue, a demarcation of specific journeys in time.

Exhibiting Artists: Sarah Cave-McMullan, Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, T. Croxton, Laura Dekker, Teague Flannery, Alison Griffin, Ute Kirkwood, Theresia Lynch, Angela Mellen, Ana Oak, Ed Saye, Elizabeth Sandford Richardson, Liz Sergeant, Dina Varpahovsky

Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th of May
Thurs-Sat 11am-7pm
Sun 11am-5pm

Private View Thursday 26th May 6-9pm
with ‘Bare Facts’ performed by Apple Tart

Geddes Gallery
26 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DU