ASN 2, Solo project by Luis Guzmán; LOUPERKALION.

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This was the second performance by the artist, which took place in Tent Gallery on the 14th of February, Saint Valentine´s day. The piece consisted of a blood sacrifice given by the artist to a little birch, the tree was planted later in the grounds of Edinburgh College of Art in a manifestation about climate change. 

The focus of the work was to produce a deconstruction of a contemporary myth by rescuing elements of the ancient Roman ritual called Lupercalia, a pagan festivity dedicated to fertility, sexuality and the horned god Louperkos. 

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By comparing the Christian and the Roman version of the festivity, the work aims to raise questions about the ways we relate to nature, as a generative force (which is a concept that the artist explores in depth through his sculptural practice). While the Roman ritual took into account sacrifice in order to offer the vital energy to nature, the Christian-capitalized version lacks any form of retribution. In change, sexuality was sublimated into romantic love, which is ultimately expressed in economic transactions and over consumerism. The lack of retribution in contemporary social (and mental) systems is a sign of alienation created by the inversion of cultural symbology. “Giving back” to nature was slowly transformed into “taking from it”, in the same way, that sexuality was slowly transformed into a tamed form of happiness. 

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Photo credit: Harmony Bury

ASN Graduate Series: Christine Morrison

Christine Morrison undertook the ASN course between 2010 and 2012. Here she shares her experiences of the course, as well as where the course took her since her graduation.

 

Christine’s practice is based on a need to be out in the natural environment, either on land or sea. Primarily she makes work by researching data and information relevant to a specific location and from a personal and emotional response to place. Viewing data of natural phenomena facilitates her entry into the landscape.

Christine researches data relevant to hours of daylight, wind patterns, times and heights of tides; patterns and rhythms emerge from this information, which in turn, formulate ideas for re-presentation of the ephemeral and the unseen in a visual way.

Christine works across a number of media including sculpture, video, drawing, printmaking, unique books or as a site-specific temporary installation, made directly within the landscape. Her practice also involves working within community groups, schools and public art projects, often in collaboration with other artists, such as writer, artist and storyteller Ian Stephen.

ASN 2, Solo project by Cody Lukas; OTHER

An extension of his previous body of work, which focused on the remediation of living processes through modern technology as to weave perceptions of man back into nature and dissolve notions of otherness between organisms; Cody Lukas’s recent solo exhibition, OTHER, narrows in on various expressions of otherness from his own experiences, as they relate to larger social constructs.

The first of which, A simple act of masochism, explores the dynamic between mankind and other living organisms; where normative perceptions rest mankind at the apex of Darwinian evolution, due mainly to our supposed superior intellectual capabilities, however overlooking our regular execution of self harmful actions in our day-to-day lives.

For Cody, this does not manifest itself it the acts of smoking or excessive drinking, but rather his passion for the sport of rowing. An activity that he trains for on average 12 times a week, leaving his hands blistered, calloused and bleeding. An action that has caused him to have a hernia at the age of 19, increases his likelihood of dying earlier at an old age from a heart attack, and left many of his friends with discus collapses before the age of 18. Viewed objectively, rowing shows to be a completely masochistic act.

Rather than depict the ailments that arise from this sport as a representation of this irrational aspect of his everyday life, Cody remediates the process in the gallery, daring viewers to carry out a similar illogical act of their own.

Over the course of a standard 2-kilometer rowing race, Cody generates an average of 381 Watt of energy for over 6 minutes. As energy is neither created nor destroyed, merely converted from one form to another, this electrical energy is equivalent to the physical strain that is placed on his body during that period of time. Suspended in the gallery viewers are confronted with two electrically charged rowing oars, cast from the artist’s own blades, allowing them to choose, of their own free will, to carry out a simple act of masochism and electrocute themselves in the space.

A simple act of masochism, exploring the place of masochistic action within the human condition is paralleled within the exhibition with a smaller complimentary work. War on Nature, is a photo series and film installation that depicts silhouettes of trees cast by fireworks on New Year’s Eve 2018, hereby contextualised within the scope of a societal act of warfare on the environment, an often incorrectly perceive form of Other that is understood as the nature-culture divide.

Looking at forms of Other as they exist between humans, the exhibition sets themes of gender and sexuality in opposition to one another, in terms of their relationship with the artist’s lived experience. The former, a category in which Cody finds himself within in the perceived majority, not as a male but a CIS gendered male; meaning he identifies with the gender he was ascribed at birth. The latter, which explores otherness within the scope of sexuality, is one in which he finds himself within the perceived minority. In this way, the pieces attempt to interpret the subject matter from a place of objectivity however recognising the artist’s inescapable subjective relationship with the subject matter.

L’homme qui marche (The walking man) explores the portrayal of the male gender in art, referencing the works of August Rodin and Alberto Giacometti. Here Cody studies the pieces, of same material, motif and title, as a linear progression of perceptions of gender over time from the 19th and 20th century, recognising the artists’ reliance upon the physicality of the subject as to convey gender. Recreating the work for the 21st century, in a time when the correlation between an individual’s sex and gender no longer exist, and gender is one’s own subjective interpretation of a construct, of which they choose whether or not to identify, the piece takes the form of a bronze cast strap-on dildo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking into account Rodin and Giacometti’s relation to contemporary art of their time, the phallic symbol for the male gender is paired with a body length mirror, in keeping with the 21st century’s heightened interest in interactive art and the inclusion of the audience into the artwork itself, as to allow any individual to choose whether of not to wear the strap-on at the exhibition, regardless of their physical sex, thus becoming the third walking man in the series.

Once again it should be noted this interpretation of gender is coming from an artist living in the perceived majority, as a CIS gendered male, and the work welcomes future continuations of the series, leading to questions as to how the male gender may be portrayed in the 22nd century and beyond.

Designing Gay Babies, is created in response to the announcement made at the end of 2018 about the successful delivery of 2 twin girls who had been genetically modified with HIV resistance, calling into question the place of various minority groups in a genetically designed future. To this effect, the mixed media installation presents audiences with information regarding advances in the fields of genetic modification along with epigenetic studies of homosexuality in men; such as the development of a machine learning algorithm capable of determining with 70% accuracy a males sexual orientation purely looking at 9 sites along the human genome, or studies showing that gay males tend to score higher on metrics of cooperation and compassion and lower on metrics of hostility.

Amidst the DIY age, where anyone can get there hands on the technology for bio hacking and genetic engineering online, Cody focuses on the evolutionary advantages that this specific category of Other, to which he belongs, brings to society, and challenges viewers to think about, living in a time where it is okay to be gay, whether anyone would actively choose it?

This piece also includes the presence of yeast and E.coli cultures, genetically modified with antibiotic resistance as well as components from a DIY CRISPR Genetic Modification Kit purchased online.

Lastly, the entire exhibition, contextualised as a self-reflective exploration of otherness amongst humans, culminates itself in a self portrait. An animated creation compiled from images of the artist, distorted and morphed into its own form of Other.

ASN students research in the Flow Country

With the support of the RSPB, two of our students, Lilien Li and Pantea Armanfar recently spend a few days researching the peatland restoration in the Flow Country in the North of Scotland – http://www.theflowcountry.org.uk/about-us/flows-to-the-future/

 

 

AS well as research into a future collaborative sound walk project, the students also spent a day volunteering to remove young trees that are regenerating from the cleared forestry areas.

Big thank you to their hosts at Forsinard.

ASN 2, Solo project by Becky Sutton; IT BREAKS

A constantly quivering line, forever in flux. IT BREAKS, maps the liminal territory where river meets land, on a micro-scale. Slowing down, experiencing mindfulness in this setting, allows the natural environment to reveal the ‘unseen’. The work draws the viewer’s attention to the miniscule interconnected fragments that make up the natural world. These elements are fragile and affected by every little thing that we, humans, do.

Becky Sutton’s solo exhibition, IT BREAKS, is manifested in two outputs: a print work installation in Tent Gallery and a window projection above.

Seventy green monotype prints stretch across the gallery floor and up the wall, mapping a river found on the Isle of Lewis. The prints were all created individually, fitting together as a jigsaw would. This element of the work lends itself to the various Scottish landscapes that the concept manifested from. An organic thread runs through the prints, representing the river line, layered on top of juxtaposing linear shapes. The installation ‘breaks’, appearing incomplete, representing the delicate nature of these fragments.

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Projected above the gallery, on a large scale, is a minute moving image of a micro detail from the River Almond. Passers-by on the street below are encouraged to take a moment to stop and consider the unseen natural environment around them. A surrounding we rely on wholly, but that seems a world away as we find ourselves in the fast-paced city.IMG_2560

ASN GRADUATE SERIES: Yulia Kovanova

Coming from a background in art, linguistics and cultural studies, Yulia Kovanova undertook the Art, Space & Nature course between 2014 and 2016, where she graduated with a distinction. Here she shares her experiences of the course and what she has been up to since graduating.

Yulia’s interdisciplinary practice focuses on the investigation of movement, the ideas of borders and boundaries, as well as perception, and explores the crossovers between people, society, and the environment. She works across a range of media, from sculptural installations to experimental film and collaborative performances.

Following on from her graduation from ASN, Yulia spent a year as an Artist in Residence within the Edinburgh College of Art and directed a short experimental film, ​Plastic Man ​(2017), which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 and was subsequently nominated for Best Short Film at the 2017 BAFTA Scotland and for 2018 UK Best Short Film at the Open City Documentary Festival. The film has been presented across a number of international film festivals including festivals in Germany, Iceland and Australia, as well as in art galleries, such as Fruitmarket Gallery and the City Art Centre in Scotland.

Her multimedia installations have been presented at international events such as Aichi Triennale in Japan, Edinburgh International Science Festival, and Highlight Arctic.

Yulia is currently undertaking further research via practice-based PhD, working with the Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh and the Glasgow School of Art.

SHIFT: ECCI Show

ASN Exhibition at Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI).

‘The Exploded Studio’ elective is a component of the ASN programme where works are developed for the specific context of ECCI,  https://edinburghcentre.org in keeping with the aim of the course, to engage with a public audience out with the studio.

The students looked at different aspects of the Carbon issue, in cognisance of the work of researchers at ECCI, in direct engagement with climate change as subject matter. The works were also developed with the physical space in mind, to form an exhibition that was fully integrated into the space.

Numerous approaches were taken in both media and subject area, in what was a compelling and dynamic exhibition.

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Three of the students;  Hsin Shyu, David Kramaric and Ana Cecilia Parrodi Anaya made films, which can be viewed via the links, below..

Hsin Shyu’s is entitled ‘a’, the symbol for acceleration, in which the exponential is visualised through the metaphor of a journey..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az3ajGUq9Io&feature=youtu.be

Ana Cecilia Parrodi Anaya’s time lapse film, created over 27 days,  shows coral slowly dissolving in water made acidic by dissolved carbon dioxide, it is entitled ‘Waste Away Coral’..

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrWMDRRA1ml/

In A.I.R. Fresh Air Chamber’ David Kramaric imagines a fictitious product and markets it in his pastiche of consumerist advertising..

https://vimeo.com/305324095

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Kaixin Li’s poster, ‘Virtual Future’ also imagines and markets a fictitious product, the Eco Dome, in what is a speculation on how climate change will affect product design.

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In a seated alcove at the entrance, Pantea Armanfar’sWhite Noise’ is a sound installation; a sonic and sculptural exploration of the peat bog, where the audio is accessed by the viewer scanning a QR code.

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Within the main atrium, suspended in space, the exhibition is centre pieced by Harmony Bury’s ‘The Potential Forest’.  This installation, with its 2,500 acorns, alludes to both the metaphorical and literal potentiality embedded in the work. The 2,500 oak trees occupy the same area as is required for one head of cattle. Raising questions about our land choices, which can either mitigate or contribute to climate change.

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In a developing research interest with Scotland’s peat bogs, shared with Pantea Armanfar, it is the detailed rather than the soundscape which led to ‘Will You Let Me Die’, by Lucy  Havens. Sphagnum moss grows and dies simultaneously, repeatedly absorbing carbon and carrying it to the bottom of a bog. Scotland’s largest peat bog stores over 400 million tons of carbon.

Will You Let Me Die’, is a beautifully crafted model of a single strand of Sphagnum rubellum, one of 34 species of sphagnum moss in Scotland.

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Carbon sequestration also featured in the work of Claire Burnett in her digital print, Every 30 Hours’,  reflecting on our personal responsibility. On average, someone living in Scotland would be required to plant a tree every 30 hours to compensate for their carbon footprint. This equates to an average of 22,098 in a lifetime.   

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Two students engaged directly with the exterior space of the building. Firstly, Kaitlin Ferguson with Terminus’. The work was made in response to the dramatic recession of the Alison Glacier in Western Greenland. It showed, in series, the decrease over a fourteen-year period (2001 – 2015). The mirrored surface alludes to the albedo effect and reflects the viewer in the work itself, implicating us in climate change.

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Andreas Papamichael originally proposed an installation which would have partially blocked access at the entrance to the building. The work causing delay and detour to those entering and leaving. That proposal was disallowed, due to fire safety regulations.

In response, Andreas exhibited A Proposal That Was Disallowed’ The work raises questions on how humanity has placed nature in a position of secondary importance, seeing it only as a resource.

Three further responses were developed which used text.  

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Lilien Li’s, large scale intervention consisted of a large paperwork, with cut out text which ‘depicted’ the space between cognition and consciousness. ‘Between’ occupied the full height of the space to emphasise the space with visual simplicity.

Kharis Leggate’s disrupted text piece played with typography in ‘The Way’, requiring the viewer to slow down their natural pace of reading. the hand-drawn element of the text suggested the change needed to survive climate change is worth our time and effort.

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Pin-Erh Chen, tackles the politics of climate change with power yet visual simplicity, which understates the depth of research undertaken for the work. Doubt Is Our Product’.

The work comprised of hundreds of quotations from climate change deniers, sourced from 1989 to 2018. These deniers are either scientists, who are supported by big fossil fuel companies, or politicians, whose only care is profit. The lies were presented piled on a plinth, with a QR code providing considerable information, about the lie and liars.

A powerful endpoint to a powerful and successful exhibition made possible by our partners and friends at ECCI.