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.
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…
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
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
XAP 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.
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.
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.”
The 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.
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!
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
The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street
London W11 4AJ
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 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
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!
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.
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
Visit the Virtuality Mortality exhibition and events website for more information.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh’s drawings on paper “Soon, You will be covered in Flowers I & II” have been selected for the “Biophilia II” show at KI Europe. The show runs until 20th Sepetember 2017.
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.
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’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.
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’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:
Reseda, Badenerstrasse 230, 8005 Zürich, 3rd-15th Jan 2017
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
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?
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.
XAP’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.