Category Archives : News


Go with the flow! News from the Wandle Wonder Wander

Great news that XAP’s Wandle Wonder Wander will be up and running throughout the school summer holidays.

Enjoy a day out with XAP’s augmented reality guide along the River Wandle – discover this lovely river, with its fascinating industrial heritage.  The walk begins at Merton Abbey Mills, but you can join it anywhere along the way, right up to its confluence with the Thames.

Here is the link, and everything you need to know to join the walk.

Grab your mobile, and go with the flow!


A Wandle Wonder Wander is Live!

All the details you need to access XAP’s augmented reality #wandlewonderwander for #WandsworthArtsFringe are here.

Discover quirky floating animations that reveal the wonder of the Wandle’s rich heritage as you wander at your leisure along the banks of the river Wandle from Merton Abbey MIlls to the Thames. Experience the magic as fragments of the past poke into your presence through the medium of your mobile phone.

Share your #wandlewonderwander stories with us on our FB page

William Morris’ Wandle design was inspired by the river Wandle.

This gif by XAP’s Liz Sergeant shows the changing states of the Wandle over the centuries.


A Wandle Wonder Wander

Wandle Wonder Wander

XAP are delighted to be creating new work for this year’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe festival  25th June – 11th July 2021.

‘A Wandle Wonder Wander’ is a guided walk with a difference along the banks of the River Wandle, from Merton Abbey Mills to its confluence with the Thames. Using augmented reality through the medium of your mobile phone, your presence along the route will trigger fragments of sound, text and floating animations that will provide an insight into the rich history of the River Wandle.

For the weblink to access ‘A Wandle Wonder Wander’ and to download a trail map, visit our Facebook Page here or Wandsworth Arts Fringe online programme


Estuary Festival 2021 – 22nd May – 13th June

A rich and exciting programme of art encounters, projects and participations are on offer across Kent and Essex for this year’s Estuary Festival.

XAP artists Laura Dekker and Liz Sergeant have been involved in ‘The Water Replies’, a participatory creative journaling project. Over a period of three months during the first lockdown, people were invited to document their responses to life around the Thames Estuary and the rivers beyond. Laura explored the River Moselle, one of London’s lost rivers, which rises in Queens Wood Highgate and flows into the River Lea at Tottenham, while Liz shared her encounters with the River Lea, further upstream in Batford. As an extension of the project, Laura and Liz walked the River Lea together towards the Thames to where the rivers join at Bow Creek, asking questions of the river and considering its replies.

Each of the 80 journals created for The Water Replies project has been carefully filmed and an online archive of their pages has been created here

 


On the Strangest Sea

Great news that XAP artist Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh’s works will be in the forthcoming group exhibition ‘On the Strangest Sea’ at The Violet Hour, curated by Sarah Reynolds and Alex Wellesley Wesley.  The show will be aired online at www.violethour.org from the 18th November and all artworks are available for sale.


The Garden Within Us

Confined to our houses, gardens and one short walk a day in our immediate neighbourhood, home schooling and struggling to keep some kind of well-being-balance, XAP artists have responded with a new project, The Garden Within Us.  During lockdown, XAP artists are posting images of moments in the day where our gardens have been rescuing us, holding us together.  From balcony windowbox, impromptu veg patch, garden gone feral, to the metaphorical garden of our inner mental lives…

#gardenwithinus by @utekirkwoodstudio * 🔥 campfire and 🦶 #campfire #freedom #outinnature


To Mars and Beyond!

Set at the close of the 21st century, ‘Mars & Beyond’ looks back in time to the year 2020, when there was a catastrophic rise in global warming, deforestation, animal species extinction and plastic pollution in our oceans.

The vast immersive experience, taking place across five floors of London South Bank’s iconic Bargehouse, brings together forty artists to explore human life now and in the future, examining the science of our planet and presenting imaginative alternative futures.

XAP’s Laura Dekker has created a new installment of the Psychotropic Lounge and Garden, exploring distributed cognition and symbiotic relationships between distrupted domestic furniture and other objects, rogue electronics and living organic matter.  Visitors are invited to stimulate the data-hungry lounge: to stroke the needy psychotropic sofa, influence the moss garden and the elusive house cat, watch the fleeting thought processes of the lounge as it responds to people’s presence.

Mars & Beyond runs until 15th March 2020


Cultivate Arts Festival – keep generosity flowing

 

‘Flowing Free’ Fountain

Generosity was the theme of this year’s Cultivate Arts Festival, celebrating the creative arts, and a large-scale flowing fountain has been created by XAP member Liz Sergeant.

‘Flowing Free’  – a 3m x 2m installation in a church –  represents a powerful, joyous image of generosity – refreshing, renewing and regenerating. The fountain has been created from hundreds of meters of recycled and donated materials, and is the focal point for a programme of events throughout the week.

The project has involved the help and support from a number of groups from the wider community. A 70-strong team of artists, musicians, poets, guest speakers, teachers, bakers, greeters and installers have generously shared their talents to make this a collaborative event, contributing to the preparation of materials as well as the content of the events. 700 visitors (including 420 primary school children) explored and considered the fountain from different viewpoints in the building, and were invited to ‘keep generosity flowing’ by adding droplets to the installation with their personal thoughts or images about generosity. 700 droplets mirrored the fountain as they flowed around the church, over the side arches towards the altar.

In 2019 the second Cultivate Arts Festival has grown to 18 events in 5 participating locations in a week-long programme, across a town of 30,000 people. www.cultivate.me.uk 

‘Stunning – so uplifting and inspirational’ –  Festival visitor

Cultivate Arts Festival  – 23rd – 30th June, Harpenden, Herts


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 www.creativemachine2.org 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 www.hospital-rooms.com

 

25th April 2018
Griffin Gallery
The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street
London W11 4AJ
www.griffingallery.co.uk


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, eventbrite.co.uk

The Portico Library & Gallery
57 Mosley Street
Manchester
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

Ambergris

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

developing

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