People & Projects

Forensic Architecture – Sarah Nankivell

Sarah holds an MPhil. in Archaeological Heritage and Museums from the University of Cambridge, where her research focused on the destruction of heritage sites in conflict and the discursive representation of these events through the media. She recently co-curated, together with Dr. Dacia Viejo-Rose, the exhibition Restoring truth to ruins? (Cambridge, 2017) investigating the relationship between heritage and truth by asking what we can learn from the process of reproducing the past.

Forensic Architecture is an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Our interdisciplinary team of investigators includes architects, scholars, artists, filmmakers, software developers, investigative journalists, archaeologists, lawyers and scientists. Our evidence is presented in political and legal forums, truth commissions, courts and human rights reports. We also undertake historical and theoretical examinations of the history and present status of forensic practices in articulating notions of public truth.” (FA)

Shadow Sites II – Jananne Al Ani

“Born in Iraq, London-based artist Jananne Al-Ani engages with the politics of the image. In her works in photography, film and video, Al-Ani interrogates our ways of seeing by undermining the structures of scale and perspective in which visual culture is shaped. Her recent series The Aesthetics of Disappearance: A Land Without People illustrates Al-Ani’s preoccupation with the ways in which history is etched into the landscape.”

Interview with Julian Ross for Sonic Acts, May 2016
Technologies of History, interview with Nat Muller in Ibraaz, June 2014

First Journey. Testimony Z (2018) (work in progress) – Livia Daza-Paris

This moving image work is from investigations where my father was disappeared. The video register took place on an ad hoc basis in the style of “guerrilla documentary filmmaking” (Solanas and Getino 1971). There was also just one take of any given recording. With the editing, the real-time conditions were maintained as much as possible, and still, a certain plasticity in the editing approach allowed for a poetics of possibilities” (O’Donohue 2007) to attune to the actual events in their “multiplicity of atmospheres” (Stewart 2011).

The camera work is in attunement with what is nascent, hopeful and flickering as unfoldings that emancipate the story of death and disappearance are encountered through a contested landscape in where political disappearances occurred in 1960s Cold War-era in the rural area of Lara, Venezuela. The moving images, in my research project, intend to bring attention to something that has remained dynamic and vibrant and that seems to evoke a poetic of testimonies from human and nonhuman witnesses (Williams 2018) on a made-to-disappear history.

Camera:   Livia Daza-Paris / Editors:    Alba Daza and Liona Bravo

Milena: a live reading – Luisa Greenfield

The 20-minute essay Milena moves through themes of identity theft, nationalism around the World Cup, and an exhibition on the outskirts of Berlin at the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women where the Czech journalist and political dissident Milena Jesenská had been imprisoned.

How does essayistic journal writing, with its discursive form, count as a kind of archive? In times when artistic practice seems to be both hyper-transitory and passionately local in character, it is relevant to consider the variegated meaning of place and locality. The piece Milena was developed out of a collective journal writing process, but what emerged is fundamentally the story that the soil of Berlin has to tell.

The essay Milena is published in the book Being There, Explorations into the Local (2018) Aarhus University Press.

Implausible Denial Mailing ListHeath Bunting

  • The primary function of implausible denial mailing list is to remove plausible deniability from United States of America Empire [UASE] supporters, by keeping a record of their receipt of factual information regarding imperial criminal activities.
  • The secondary function is to encourage neutral politicians to read alternative media reports by posing questions on global subjects that have potential local impact.
  • The tertiary function is to project power into the military intelligence community to provide security for myself as an imperial dissident.
*mail-out sent to 12,600 local uk councillors in blocks of 250 per day

WHAILES – William Crosby

‘WHAILES’, as an ever-disentangling work-in-progress, aims to engage, criticise, and consider the impact of anthrosonic detritus upon the vocal c(h)ords, resultant communications, and migration patterns of the globe’s whale population (and more broadly, its entire aquatic biodiversity), through sonifying the frequencies dumped in the oceans by humans—in the name of the global north’s capital production/race for oil/posturing over weapons testing and military sonar/leisurely boat trips/sub-seabed construction—that exist outside of our hearing range, but very much within that of our aquatic kin. This long-term and open exploration will demonstrate how, outside of the human range of audibility, the world’s oceans are an average of 10dB louder now than in the 1950s, and how this activity needlessly contests a landscape that was never designed for human traversal, but is now becoming increasingly colonised and stripped of its future archive. The sound extract presented here (as both a stereo WAV file, or, for maximum effect, a live-playback quadrophonic installation piece) acts as an initial creative response composed as a means to help comprehend and negotiate the typical, preindustrial composition of whale call and communication patterns. In response to the now famed tale of the 52hz whale, all sound material is derived from the harmonic spectre of a 52hz square wave signal, that has then been processed and organised according to how whales form their songs (6-8 starting ‘units’ form ‘phrases’; these repeat to create a ‘theme’; these then repeat several times to produce a ‘song’ of 7-30 minutes; this whole is then repeated for up to 20 hours to make a ‘session’), and then often according/responding to data detailing the changes in whale communication as a result of noise pollution. Some sounds recall recorded whale song, some recall other familiar aquatic activity, and some signify human intervention and interruption. Movements around and within the stereo/quadrophonic field present gestures and interactions between the sounds—playing, forcing, recoiling, fleeing, breaking. Many of these giant beings now exist in bygone frequencies. Our sonic detritus is their quotidian.

Generation Z – Kerstin Hacker

Generation Z combines the acknowledgement of Hacker’s own European visual heritage with the experience of extended stays in Lusaka. She asks viewers to contemplate change in Zambia and dismantle neocolonial visual discourses. In August 2017, the Generation Z series was exhibited at the Henry Tayali Gallery in Zambia, by invitation of the Visual Arts Council of Zambia. The Generation Z series was originally aimed at a British audience, however, it also sparked debate amongst Zambian photographers on how to develop methods of showing a wider, more diverse view, which highlights the country’s unique character. The discussions highlighted that Zambia’s visual identity outside the country, and to some extent within the country, is often based on a stereotypical African narrative, which was felt not to reflect life experienced within Zambia. It is therefore not a question of if Generation Z represents of modern Africa ‘correctly’, but if they contribute to the debate on how Zambia could be represented.

These images debate the dangers of neo-liberal consumerism on African culture and what this means to the people of Zambia, but also illustrated the visual ‘proof’ of the so often demanded economic progress of an African nation. It highlights the chasm between Zambians’ daily experience of their urban lives in Lusaka, and the photographs they see of themselves in the international media. Generation Z was photographed in Lusaka in 2016 – 17.

Generation Z is on display as a solo exhibition throughout the Centre for African Studies from 2nd October – 21st December.

Our Land – Melina Lafirenze

Our Landwas filmed during a childrens after school philosophy club session at The Round House Academy in St Neots. This was a session that lasted 30 minutes. The theme of the discussion was specifically chosen for this exhibition. The idea was to explore what the children think about ownership and property.

The children are aged between 5 and 9 years. The children use a ball for speaker management so they can speak one at a time and listen to each other. As you can see in the film they are very respectful listeners and do not interrupt. They also respond to each other and build on each others ideas creating a group dialectic.

The facilitation of the philosophical enquiry by the adult is done in a way to not influence the childrens thinking. The facilitator is absent, that is, she does not provide any opinion on the subject at all. The questions posed are simply to clarify or guide the discussion but ultimately the discussion is child-led. In this way the children are, able to and have to, use their own reasoning to come up with arguments. There is no answer given by the facilitator so the children practice and become confident in working out their own answers based on their own thinking.

This contrasts to what often happens in classrooms when teachers use a guess-whats-in-my-head method of questioning to elicit the rightanswer. Using an open question mindset in philosophical enquiries allows the child to explore and say what they actually think, not what they think they should be saying to get the answer right. In this way it is interesting to see what the children are really thinking.

Caryatid From Eleusis – Debby Lauder

In ‘An Archival Impulse’, Hal Foster’s seminal essay from 2004, he sets out to understand the phenomenon of artists making use of often obscure historical material; whether figures, objects or events, as a starting point for their work. The unlikely protagonist of Debby Lauder’s short film is a caryatid, a stone carving of a draped female figure, once used as part of the support for an ancient Greek temple. Originally from the city of Eleusis, the monument stands, against a wall, in the Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge; one amongst many other items in the museum’s collection of relics of classical antiquity. Lauder bestows the now-faceless stone figure the gift of consciousness, whilst twin narratives of archaeological pillage and mythological abduction are spoken by the caryatid, still many miles from home, and still enduring her own innocent watch through millennia.

The Queen Victoria Monument in Georgetown, Guyana – Karran Sahadeo

In the weeks after Guyana marked its 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain, I sat down with a retired civil engineer, Egbert Carter, and prominent lawyer and photographer, Nikhil Ramkarran, to discuss the monument to Queen Victoria which sits in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown. Like many pre-independence structures found in greater Caribbean, written history and documentation are sparse, and the best account comes from the ones who were there. Guyanese are losing their history because the older generation, the ones who lived through British rule have emigrated or passed away. This film is an attempt at preserving some of that history.

The Queen Victoria statue was commissioned to mark her 50th anniversary, Golden Jubilee, and is situated in front of the Supreme Court at the centre of Georgetown. It is a constant reminder of the nation’s colonial past, with many Guyanese struggling with its remnants. Some see the monument as a burden and constant reminder of the struggles endured during the British occupation, while others see it as an artefact which should be preserved for its historical value in the founding of the nation.

The story of the statue of Queen Victoria is one of violence, destruction, and resilience. It was vandalized by political parties, ripped down and abandoned by administrations, and ultimately restored to its former glory by engineers.

One thing is for sure, the Queen Victoria monument may have been erected by the British, but its story was forged by the Guyanese.

The Terminal Landscape – James W. Norton and the LFI

Human actions create violated borders and new territories often unseen by many yet which become part of our modern cultural landscape. The aftermath of military intervention, war, famine and economic collapse create new landscapes suspended between worlds, between politics, religion and dialects. This project ‘The Terminal Landscape’ will add to the archive of ‘The Contested Land’ programme being used as a reference and research project for others to create further projects based on the theme. One such continuing idea that is currently developing is how humans will begin to test weapons in the Solar System and what effects this may have on the fabric of space and time.

After the WireRoseanne Ganley and Emily Godden

We propose to create four free standing print based works that explore WWI aerial photography in relation to landscape painting “Wire” by Paul Nash. Working with the archive at the Imperial War Museum we propose to use the aerial photographs from the location Wire was painted as data to construct topographical maps of the landscape that Nash painted during WWI to laser engrave onto plywood and then print onto Fabriano. Inspired by the manufacture of artificial trees in WWI as the landscape became decimated and hiding places were required, the prints will be hung on fabricated trees constructed from freshly cut tree trunk sections and timber.

Working with print media we propose to explore the contested landscape of WWI to use new technology to render the battle scarred landscape to construct a new topography for the site of Paul Nash’s painting Wire. Using archival data from the Imperial War Museum we will focus on the impact of mechanised warfare on the landscape to render a new plain for the landscape to re-fertilise amongst the ashes of the fallen.

The History Radar, Zeituhr 1938 – Frederick Baker

This project tries to keep alive the memory of Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938. It was my dream to tell history not as a monologue, but as polyphony. Central to the work is a projected palimpsest, an intervention onto the federal chancellory, the past and present seat of power in Vienna. What I call the “History Radar” tells the story of the annexation not as one event, but minute by minute, as a constellation of 300 separate events that appear as a live reportage of the the Nazi takeover of Austria between 6pm on the 12th of March and 6pm on the 13th of March 1938. The History Radar uses specially designed tools like Sensotix digital postcards and media networks to disseminate what is a work of scholarship, but also an act of digital humanities activism. It was designed for all, but especially for the digital generation, who glean their knowledge of historic events though the net and not books.

Academic Partners in the project are the Contemporary Historian Dr Heidemarie Uhl at the Academy of Sciences in Vienna and the Dr Monika Sommer at the New Museum of Austrian History, that will host the work for the next 10 years as the first work of their digital collection. Historical research was done by Dr Michaela Raggam-Blesch and Pauli Aro at the University of Vienna and Dr Eva Gressel. The digital work was designed in Vienna ay Raimund Schuhmacher (Lost in the Garden’) Thomas Prieler (Webtech) Christoph Kovacs & Gernot Haberl (Sensotix) and George Taylor AKA Noh1 (Sound design) in collaboration with BKA Gedenkjahr 2018, National Fonds, Zukunftsfonds and Stadt Wien.

A Proposal to Run the Parisian Boulevard Péripherique – Véronique Chance

The Paris ‘orbital’ is one of the most extreme examples of segregation between the ‘affluent’ city and its poorer outskirts. The 35.5km ring road around Paris, consists of a visual barrier of sound and concrete material that reinforces the contrast between Paris and its suburbs.

My proposal/ provocation is to plan a running route around this impenetrable boundary. I will explore 2 possible routes on the inside and outside of the ring road, following the edge of the road as closely as possible.

A pieced together 1:25,000 ‘map’/ drawing will form an enlarged plan, together with annotations indicating the proposed route/ place-names/ territory to be covered and areas of potential difficulty. An electronic version will also be explored.

The Flaming Rage of the Sea Rosanna Greaves

‘The Flaming Rage of the Sea’ considers the constructed and ever changing landscape of the Cambridgeshire Fenland, a region below sea level, through the embodied experience of landscape. The video features choreographed stilt performers, and footage of the folk tradition of the Whittlesey Strawbear festival and is filmed on location in the Fens, at Benwick, Mepal Wash, Whittlesey, and The Great Fen (including Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve, Holme Fen National Nature Reserve and Rothschild Bungalow).

The video is constructed as a visual poem. The sound track is a significant element of the work forming the rhythm and pace and revealing the layers of narrative threads in the work. These being; a C17th resistance poem ‘The Powtes Complaint’, protesting the drainage of the Fens, sung by a The Timeline Choir (A Cambridge based choir led by Stef Connor) Including some fenland phrases transcribed into Anglo Saxon. This is intercut with recorded oral histories of local older people from the fens with a dying knowledge of working in synergy with the land, capturing the idiosyncrasies of voice and dialect before they mutate or are lost.

The conceptual intent is to foreground complex relational value systems as an alternative to the discourses of ‘natural capital’, evoking past traditions and the C17th resistance to the draining of the fens, as a metaphor for repetitions of change, migration, imported technologies and the precariousness of a landscape below sea level.

Fleam Dyke, an Ancient Monument Interrupted – Jo Miller

Fleam Dyke, an Ancient Monument Interrupted is a video created over two months across the massive earthwork ancient monument known as Fleam Dyke, a 7-8 meter high bank and ditched barrier which runs from Balsham to Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire. As the video leads us along an ancient pathway, we are accompanied by The Wanderer an ancient Anglo Saxon poem conveying the meditations of a solitary narrator who walks paths of exile he lost his lord and comrades in battle as they were defending their homeland against an attack.

Fleam Dyke is the most complex of a group of similar linear earthworks that run from the wooded hills in the south to the wet areas of springs, rivers and fens in the north, effectively cutting off access to East Anglia along the ancient route, The Icknield Way. Based on the dating evidence from twentieth century excavations, it would seem that Fleam Dyke and other ancient barriers were built by Anglo-Saxon immigrants to defend their core settlements in eastern Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk against Romano-British counter attacks in the 5th century AD. Indeed, it is most likely that Fleam Dyke runs along far earlier, prehistoric boundaries as these Anglo-Saxon dykes are very large monuments and it is probable that their construction has destroyed evidence for these earlier sites. Certainly at Mutlow Hill, Fleam Dyke runs through a Bronze Age barrow which was reused in the Roman period as a temple and it’s situation in such close proximity is unlikely to be unintended.

As we try to make sense of present day conflict across the world, we may observe that most landscapes bear testament to human intervention although the clues to human action often lie deeply buried. Walking the length of Fleam Dyke today, passing through gently undulating countryside comprising chalk grassland, woods and farmland, we see little remaining of a once volatile and contested landscape. Yet the action of walking this linear path, allows us to share the same landscape as our forebears and we can but try to learn from the memories of the material world we share with our ancestors through time.

Eventually our walk is lacerated by the A11 which abruptly slices through our path, presenting us with a stark reminder that human action will ensure that our landscapes are ever volatile and always evolving.

Stirbitch: An Imaginary – Michael Hrebeniak

‘Where is the dust that has not been alive?’

For more than 700 years Stourbridge Common, situated at the Eastern boundary of Cambridge on pasture between Newmarket Road and the River Granta hosted a fair known as Steresbregge, from a cattle crossing over Coldham’s Brook, and latterly Stirbitch. The Fair had been awarded a Royal Charter in 1199 to support the inhabitants of the local Leper Hospital, but it rapidly outgrew its host to become a pressure event of Northern European significance and an epicentre for many forms of cultural and biological transaction.

Today the site yields neither presence nor knowledge of this temporary polis, other than in the Norman husk of the Leper Chapel of St Mary Magdalene in Barnwell. Patchily documented in local newspapers, and all but unrepresented visually, the Fair comprises an acute instance of material culture without archive. Stirbitch could thus not be any further from the staged ‘heritage’ sets of cities that encode memory within a space as a means of legitimising the identities imposed upon individuals and groups. We are left with superimpositions within material space of layers of nothing: of an absence of presence, or presence of absence.

This installation presents the site as a mnemonic to reflect upon the relationship between habitat and cultural memory. Twelve digital colour photographs of the terrain are combined with passages drawn from a long poem, comprised of fragments of found texts, critical theory and observations of the Fairground, both contemporary and historical. The resulting text-image palimpsest permits a succession of partial glimpses: a freed association of reflective and interpretative field notes; or an archival record foreign to the category of completion. The aim is to provoke an enquiry into the spatial performance of social life and the affective ties between people and the physical contours of the land, through addressing the relationship between an extant site and its ‘disappeared’ event.

Ruin – David Ryan

‘Ruin’ visually explores the site of an old ruined mill in Sorana, Tuscany, Italy. It presents this landscape as an archive or document interspersed with fragments from Georg Simmel’s text ‘The Ruin’ written in the early part of the 20th century. Both of these archival elements are activated in dialogue; Simmel’s language and its concepts – gleaned from late 19th century philosophy – ‘nature’, ‘spirit’, ‘soul’ are now almost foreign notions, and yet the core of his short essay is an attempt to see the ruin as allowing an ‘aesthetic’ reflection of tensions that underwrite history and culture. For Simmel, the ruin represents, to borrow a term from Walter Benjamin, the ‘dialectic at a standstill’, something shorn of the continuity of history, whereby the active contradictions and struggles that make up ‘life’ are somehow represented ‘at peace’. It is within such an image of the ruin that, “The past with its densities and transformations has been gathered into this instant of an aesthetically perceptible present.” And yet what if this seemingly idyllic reflection on the past is also quietly contested? At the time of writing the ruined mill is being developed into tourist accommodation. A historical, distant, site of labour will be translated into one of leisure. Once again pulling the ruin and its surroundings into the activity of the present and its contradictory currents.

how to catch a god – Laura Scott

I wrote this poem as part of a commission for the British Museum. The brief was to respond to one of the sculptures in the Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece exhibition. Once I had chosen Ilissos, the river god, I spent a lot of time just looking at him, coming up close, standing further away, walking around the back of him. One of the things that struck me again and again was the languid ease and gorgeousness of the body, but also its vulnerability, the ways in which time had damaged him, scarred him, broken off his head and feet, taken away a hand. I wanted a poem that could show both of these things.

Laura Scott’s pamphlet was published by Rialto and won the Michael Marks prize. Many of her poems come from the desire to make the reader see again with words something that doesn’t reside in the words. She is one of the poets to be featured in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII anthology. Her first collection will be published by Carcanet in 2019.

Shattered Landscape – Paul Arsenault

In December 2011 a fire attributed to a backpacker raged through Torre del Paine National Park in Chile. When finally brought under control in January of 2012, it had burned 176km2 of the park and destroyed upwards of 36km2 of native forest. Forests that typically take 200 years to reach maturity.

During a trip to the region in February of 2014 I was struck by the deep sorrow this fire had caused the local population. Putting aside the financial costs for reforestation and loss of tourism, there was an ineffable, deep rooted pain that mirrored the scorched landscape.

What I also saw in direct contradiction to the destruction, was a staggering beauty. In only two years the previously eclipsed undergrowth was allowed to flourish. A new cacophony of colors washed over the countryside, taking full advantage of their new lease on life. The burnt, bone white husks of the trees lingered above the new growth as reminders of who had ruled the land for the last 200 years.

Patagonia is a place of contradictions. It’s beautiful and cruel. Warm inviting skies can turn into deluges of windswept rain, or even snow, at a moment’s notice and the natural beauty of a hike can be interrupted by the picked over carcass of a native guanaco. These contradictions are ideal narrative protagonists, and in being so there are a number of dichotomies that parallel an art making process.

  • Life/Death
  • Destruction/Creation
  • Decomposition/Regrowth
  • De-saturation/Satiety

It is my intention to use these contradictions as the basis for 4 paintings (60x80cm framed) designed to reveal the beauty within this tragedy, raise awareness of conservational struggles within the park, and in some small part continue the healing process.

Inspired by Tatlin – William Mobberley

‘Inspired by Tatlin’ is comprised of 3 x computer-animated “digital video, virtual sculptures”, each of which loops and is designed to be projected large.  This work was created for the sub-theme:Crossings, transformations, and utopian drives.

In the 1920s, Vladimir Tatlin designed a tower intended to be the Soviet Union’s answer to France’s Eiffel Tower. The Tatlin Tower was intended to have three parts which rotated at different speeds. It was never built as it was too ambitious and costly. As such, it constitutes a broken dream, especially in light of the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union but Tatlin at the time would certainly have regarded his project as part of a “utopian drive” and a major addition to the landscape which accommodated it.

Auto-destructive / Auto-creative: Experiments (1-5)Tania Teixeira-Gomes

My experimental film practice is influenced by Gustav Metzger’s ideas about auto-destructive and auto-creative art. I over-edit my videos of everyday moments to the point where the programme crashes and can’t manage anything else.  Via this process something unexpected is created, from a certain point, as the work starts to auto-create the image as it is auto-destructed. I enjoy observing the vulnerability of the image during this process.  As the software creates something out of the destruction I feel the video reaches its power as an artwork. The process of making this ‘collaborative work’ facilitates my thinking about the consuming relationship my generation has with capitalism and technology, and as such, our struggle for autonomy over our subjectivity.

The Conjugated Museum – Jane Boyer

My practice is situated at the juncture of memory, repetition and the indexical, which gives evidence of presence, interactions and thought processes. Because the elements intersect, they create a kind of map of the self within a greater landscape of chance, time and occurrence. Sometimes this terrain of the self is in contention with the landscape of occurrence, but more often, they synthesise into experience. I’ve often said that I am my own archive, because I reimage and reuse older work to create new work. More precisely, my work is a record of this synthesis into experience. These selected images from ‘The Conjugated Museum,’ a research residency at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge,represent this fusion of self and occurrence into experience. They are a vision of the virtual space in the mind where the museum experience merges – conjugates – with the lived experience of the viewer. The affordance of mobile phone photography in museums facilitates this confluence. By engaging with the occasion of the artwork on display in the museum, I create an expression of my experience of these art objects and visualise my fantasy interpretations of their meaning.

Resemblance to Other Animals – Andrew Vallance

The Horniman Museum’s natural history gallery first opened in 1901. Many of the original displays of taxidermy and skeletons, specimens that were accrued during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, are still on show. Presently, the creatures are offered for the purposes of display, education and research, but they also represent another time and place.

Resemblance to Other Animals shows the museum prior to opening. At this time, before the arrival of visitors, the still creatures, who originated from different continents, appear to consider one another. This is also when the display cases are cleaned and the freshly polished glass produces multi-layered reflections, which superimpose and relate these disparate animals. The creatures’ suggestive physiognomy and their striking presentations indicate the uncanny relationship between the crowded displays and the world beyond.

The work’s audio concerns a traveller who is journeying from London to an English coastal town for work. His origins, he’s a 2nd generation British national, are not made explicit, but his narrated observations are evidently that of an outsider, an alien in the landscape that he finds. His reflections are augmented by a soundscape that suggests the different personal and public spaces he encounters.

The audio and visual elements emphasise the cultural, social, historical complexity of museum space and the relationship between contextual presence and individuated experience, entwined considerations that the work explores through creative juxtaposition, locational investigation and relational curiosity.

Here and There – Margie Britz

These paintings attempt to synthesise the two very different landscapes that have so profoundly influenced me: the semi-desert of the South African Great Karoo and the North Norfolk coastline. While rooted in the South African landscape, my current work is inspired by the glacial geology that formed the North Norfolk coast where I now live.

My work attempts to reconcile and transform opposites and explores the way in which each extreme contains its opposite: above and below, the micro and the macro, the local and the universal, complexity and simplicity, abstraction and figuration, here and there… I am interested in the way perspective changes with viewpoint… how here becomes there and vice versa…

Through imitating the geological processes that generated my local landscape and in using actual elements of the landscape to that end, I am not only exploring the elemental nature of a particular geography, and attempting to integrate with it, but in the process I also vitally make manifest the origin and stuff of all landscape and of all of life and matter on this planet: cells, molecules, diatoms, eggs, seeds, flowers, corpuscles, platelets, dust, earth, rain, magma, deserts, oceans, stars.

Longest, continuous tree ring-based diaryRichard Westcott,Prof Ulf Büntgen,Rob Wilson

The “longest, continuous tree ring-based diary” is being created by scientists at the University of Cambridge to help map climate change. The diary documents climatic conditions going back centuries, using trees from across the world. Trees are weather-sensitive and their rings can give clues to rainfall, temperature and even tsunamis. Prof Ulf Büntgen said the technique recently uncovered evidence of an ice age that started in precisely 536 AD. It followed a cluster of volcanic eruptions that triggered a very cold period of 100 to 120 years.

By reconstructing historical climates, scientists can analyse if the recent warming is unusual. Tree rings are as distinctive as fingerprints and the team is working with volcanologists, historians and archaeologists. They want to discover how communities have been affected as changes in climate have coincided with plagues and mass migration. “The biggest advantage of tree ring chronologies is their annual precise dating, so this allows us to make cross-comparisons to human history,” said Prof Büntgen, head of the university’s tree ring unit. “Trees are unique in the way they form each year an annual distinct ring… so this allows us to make these continuous chronologies. “By being able to map past climate changes over 1,000 or 2,000 years, we can ultimately improve modern predictions.”

Living trees and samples from building sites, medieval churches, lakes and peat bogs are being used. Trees – preserved for hundreds of years – have also been winched out of Scottish lochs. “We have material for Scotland going back 8,000 years,” said Dr Rob Wilson, of the University of St Andrews. “We’ve got lots of gaps at the moment… we have an 11th Century gap and then we’ve got a lot of material for the first millennium AD.” “[Rings can reveal] earthquakes, rock avalanches, snow avalanches, tsunamis… so one can be quite creative in the different aspects of environmental change you can study with tree rings.”

A Modern Lapidary – Philip Cornett

‘A Modern Lapidary’ explores the narratives we have generated for the various minerals that we interact with and live with everyday.

Currently a workshop is being developed to explore the written Lapidary, where the origins of our interest with minerals was first put to paper.

Philip is a Studio Artist at Wysing Arts Centre.  

Motion Sickness – Denise Keyhoe, Arabella Hilfiker, Eleanor Breeze: Motion Sickness Art Collective

With a cynical yet playful lens, ‘Motion Sickness’ is a collaborative exploration of contemporary identity.

How to be an elderly young person in this digital age? When sharing, posting and tagging define our generation, what do we have to brag about really?

Positioning ourselves as products of millennial ephemera, ‘Motion Sickness’ is a collaborative investigation into the prolonged adolescence of Generation Y. Collectively, we aim to reveal the reality behind instagrammed lattes, avocado on toast and Air BNBed European breaks.

How can we live up to the social media filter we put on our own zero-contract, overpriced house sharing, broke lives?

We will explore ‘The Archive and the Contested Landscape’ by examining reality vs disparate online documentation of said realities.  We will examine the drive for Utopia on social media and its impact or lack of impact on our own realities.

ambulithics project – emily fitzell and james rogers

the ambulithics project brings together the respective practices of emily fitzell, writer, and james rogers, architect, to explore the possibilities of ritual and myth in the act of contemporary place making.

in 2017, fitzell and rogers constructed the first physical element of ambulithics, using their bodies as a tool of measurement. the artistic duo cast twelve concrete cubes along the line of a paced circle in a clearing near the lakes outside new york city. inside each of these cubes, fitzell and rogers buried an object associated with a daily ritual. by rendering invisible a selection of quotidien objects, by mythologising their existence, ambulithics seeks to challenge our habitual indifference to the infra-ordinary.

ambulithics initiates an approach to materials and everyday objects predicated on the idea of play – between the visible and the invisible, the concrete and the abstract, between experience and imagination. through the creation of interactive narratives, ambulithics incites the curiosity of its visitors and asks them to question the influence of habitual modes of perception on their conceptions of time and space. the installation requires the physical and imaginative collaboration of its spectators.

ambulithics extends an invitation to inhabit its form – in person or from afar – to activate its solid inert mass with moving bodies.

the structure could be conceived as a material archive of everyday experience, through the objects buried inside the cubes. as for the idea of a contested landscape, there are temporal and spatial tensions at play in our work – between the invocation of ancient stone circles in the structure’s form and invited function, and the use of concrete – a  material generally associated with modernity. extending from this, between rural and urban public space, between actual and virtual spaces, the landscapes of communal contemporary experience.

The Aesthetics of DisappearanceFarah Mulla

The geology of a place speaks from everywhere and nowhere. Historical events resonate not merely though the archives that have been collected, but also through its gaps –the historical material has been lost or not been collected. Different historical periods have radically different ways of ordering experience and making sense of it. They are, in a sense, inventions of our own sense of time; we progressively reconstruct the past in order to serve the interests of the present.

The installation- an Aeolian harp- interacts with the environment to generate sounds and transforms space into a temporary experience of aural architecture. It attempts to highlight the Multiplicity of an event and its perceptive capabilities through suspended soundscapes between worlds. Each instant the installation reinvents its own logic in hope to communicate with the landscape. The passing moment- rather than being a source of delight in its very transience- becomes subsumed into the permanence of the eternal. Rather than thinking of history as a single, fixed entity, complete unto itself, the installation encourages us to think of multiple, overlapping and contesting histories of a landscape.

Post-colonial Sound Meets ImageNigel Sanders

‘Post-colonial Sound Meets Image’ is an art installation, comprised of audio and still image, which remixes historical sound bites relating to distinct colonial events into a post-modern/colonial soundscape (of our time) where meaning is reinvented. This work explores contemporary notions of colonialist movements of peoples, land and boundaries. How do notions of the ‘post-colonial’ relate to sound archives and visual landscapes? And, how do they interrelate to express meaning and new meanings through re-invention?

Shared Water, Contested Water – Sarah Strachan

Issues of climate change and contested water in the Middle East’s ‘Garden of Eden’ are explored through the development of a series of clay sculptural objects.  These contemporary artefacts seek to exemplify politics and geology as inextricably entwined and provide a link between the paleoclimate archive and the future demand for water. They are made from clay sourced from Al-Hammar Marshes in Southern Iraq (brought to Cambridge by Nawrast Abd Alwahab – visiting scholar from Iraq to the UK, 2018).

Lunette: A Deep History of Australian ClimateIan Moffat

A lunette is a crescent shaped dune made of clay.  These sinuous billows attach themselves to the downwind side of salt lakes in central Australia and in other deserts around the world.  The layers within their stark, craggy forms are a long-term rain gauge, recording thousands of years of climate change driven by the natural wobbles in the Earth’s transit around the sun.  During periods of decreased rainfall the lakes dry out, the clay in their beds cracks into fragments that are blown onto the shoreline where they form the upper part of the lunettes. When rainfall increases and the lakes are full, small waves nibble at their base and form beaches that record this time of abundance.  The climate record contained in these sediments is the key to unravelling the history of human-environment interactions in Australian over the last 60,000 years.  This has been a time of dramatic climate shift, extinction and extraordinary adaptations. These photographs were taken during geological and archaeological fieldwork at Lake Mungo, Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre in the desert heart of Australia and examine the way that people have responded to climate variation in the past as a new prism for considering a future dominated by anthropogenic global warming.

OmittedPavlÍna Kašparová

I would like to focus on a very specific archive which is available to all and I am interested in: The Bible. These books have been read and interpreted many times since they were written. There are also many ways to read The Bible and we could hold a long discussion about it. However, I would like to offer another, more creative way: reading The Bible as a book of commands to observe nature as a picture, maybe a landscape, of which we are residents and makers as well. This idea is inspired by a book of Marek Orko Vacha: Kéž bych pod hvězdami dobře odtančil svůj tanec (I wish to dance well under the stars). I intentionally took some quotations, which usually simply form an introduction to another command or explanation, out of context. Bearing in mind that every word in The Bible is important, I would like to focus on these “omitted quotations”. They have inspired me to make a few short videos recording the nature which surrounds us and which we very often perceive only as a background. From the videos I will compose a collage, a sort of biblical landscape. Using a very subjective and not scientific approach to Bible reading, this made up landscape is contested because it is both real and virtual. Yet my intention is very serious because many of these “less important” quotations are introduced with an imperative: “Look at (stars, flowers, sky…)”.

Net Realisable Value Elizabeth Eade

Net Realisable Value is comprised of twenty-six copper figurines.  The copper has been corrupted with sea water to produce startling green crystals.

On the 3rd of November 2017, the bodies of 26 girls aged 14-18 were pulled from the sea off the South Coast of Italy. They were all of Nigerian origin. One wore a t-shirt with the words “I’m super happy”. It is believed that they were destined for the vociferous sex slave trade in Italy. The only two identified were named as Marian Shaka, who was married, and Osato Osaro. Both were pregnant.

The words that accompany the piece are taken from a loss adjuster’s text book, they outline how to calculate the worth of water damaged goods.

“Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay; Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds Declare the Typhon’s coming. Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard The dead and dying – ne’er heed their chains Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope! Where is thy market now?”  (‘Fallacies of Hope’ – Turner, 1812).

My Family and Slavery: Representations of Slavery, Family History and Intergenerational Accountability – Christopher Cocuzzi Cox

The objective of my research is to acknowledge through my creative practice the term I refer to as intergenerational accountability – a legacy devolved from my being a direct descendent of John Pretor Pinney, who as a young man in 1764, unexpectedly inherited a West Indian sugar plantation from a distant cousin – and nineteen years later in 1783 left the Caribbean with a fortune worth over £5 million in today’s money, earned from the sweat and blood of enslaved Africans.

My research has involved finding, interviewing and when permitted, photographing and filming members of the Pinney family today and through these interactions, discovering how other family members have dealt with the same inheritance – while also finding among some of those I encountered, inspiration for the invention of characters, behaviour, dialogue and events for my fictional narrative – a screenplay provisionally titled, History is Not the Past.

It has included historical research into 17th and 18th century slave narratives; John Pretor Pinney’s plantation records and account books; my late mother’s unpublished autobiography and other historical sources for the purpose of truthful but fictional story-telling. As the true scale of the barbarity of slavery has emerged from my research, it has allowed me to recognize the extent of the self-serving forgetfulness and denial used by many of my relatives to avoid facing a shameful family past.

My research has also required an engagement with the evolving body of critical literature around screen practice research in general and screenwriting in particular, with the aim of examining, contextualising and justifying the varied choices and processes involved in the writing of a screenplay as a research artifact – as well as a working document for film production.

In this undertaking, the academic and the emotional, the personal and the historical, the past and the present – are all profoundly intertwined.

SEDIMENTJenny Souter and Florence Steerment

This work explores the subject of the Mexico-US migrant crisis, looking at themes around the separation and displacement of families, and child containment facilities. Using the exhibition sub-themes ‘sedimentation’ and ‘place’ as prompts, we recognise them as relating to anything/anyone being ‘deposited’ or left behind.

Former British Consulate in Takow – Chang Wei-Han

“we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.” – Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space.

Under the knowledge from Gaston Bachelard, I see buildings as an aggregate, as an evidence of human living activities with a style of a generation in one specific moment- past. On the other side, I see home as a collective field with its own individuality where the complex emotions taking place with our reliability. 
I chose the Former British Consulate in Takow built in 1879 as my filming target, to reproduce the fake historical memories it possibly encountered, as a living participant in my homeland, Takow, where nowadays is known as Kaohsiung city in Taiwan. The destiny of this British-designed architecture was dramatic. This brick-red exotic container, rooted on the hill right off the Taiwan Strait. It used to be a Trophy of Great Britain of ending China’s Qing dynasty by the Second Opium War (1856-1860). Nevertheless, the right of owning this building was claimed by the Japanese colonial during the First Sino-Japanese War from 1895. Even more, under the attack of the US army for destroying the Japanese power in the South sea, by the end of the World war II, the building was partly damaged and finally recovered by the Min-Guo government (1912-1949). I, as a passenger of the time flow, attempt to demonstrate the view, with my edited pieces and cuts, with an experience at the moment.

Sites of Destruction, Artefacts of Compassion: Discourse of Dialogue Traversing Conflict Topography – Artists Activists and Stuart Carding Cox

‘We’ve got to live no matter how many skies have fallen. From darkness let us extract light.’ D.H Lawrence.

Of darkness- On the 6th of June 1917, the night preceding the Battle of Messines, General Sir Herbert Plumber informed the press, “Gentlemen, I don’t know whether we are going to make history tomorrow, but at any rate we shall change geography”. The following day a series of mines packed with 990,000 pounds of explosives were detonated under the German lines of West Flanders. The blasts created one of the largest explosions in history, annihilating significant areas of the Messines Ridge and killing approximatley10,000 German soldiers.

Of light- The letters carried by combatants posted within this conflict zone were not discourse of a singular place, but language spanning distance between two interconnected geographical sites. In the presence of destruction and definitive solitude of war, the soldier’s cherished communication extracted a warm light of compassion from those absent. For a thought to change the world, it must first change the thought process of the man who receives it and compassionate ideology, like the Nitrocellulose explosive detonated in Messines, is unstable.

The House and the Contested LandscapeNerma Cridge

This piece deals with the notion of the end – the end of a war, the end of a fire, the end of a series. These ends are also the beginnings of finding traces, recording, marking and eventually archiving.   Based on an abstracted drawing of a house destroyed in Bosnian war we are asking how and if it is even possible to begin to record a life-time of a memory of a home in still contested territory.

If the cloud allows – Sally Stenton

‘If the cloud allows’ is a proposal for two simultaneous walks to take place in Basrah, Iraq and Cambridge, UK, when the moon is visible in both locations (cloud permitting). The walks will exclude the interference or distraction of digital screens, prioritising attentiveness to the body and the rhythmic act of stepping on the earth, whilst creating a digital trace of the circle using GPS.

The walks are planned to take place on Tues 16th October at 5pm in Cambridge and 7pm in Basrah. The work is precarious due to uncertainties of weather, internet, political unrest….

Artist Sally Stenton is working with Dr. Nawrast Sabah Abd Alwahab (University of Basrah, Department of Geology) and Dr Matthew Bothwell (University of Cambridge, Institute of Astronomy) to create the walks.

The Mind Journey – Shaima al-Sitrawi

This work is a reflection of the thoughts and memories which I have been living with most of my adult life after living through war in Iraq in 1990 and coming to the UK seeking asylum with my family as a teenager. Iraq never left my mind and my only way of expressing this past is through art. Drawing my memories on paper and using colours of pain and joy. Writing and singing also provide ways for me to visit the past and Iraq.

إعادة بناء  RE-CONSTRUCT Josepa Munoz

This work comprises of a series of photographs taken during visits to the homes of refugee families from Syria who are settling in Bedford. This is phase 1 of an ongoing work involving a series of conversations with the families and follows ‘OBJECTS’ at The Higgins Museum (Bedford) as featured in ‘VOICES: Different Pasts, Shared Futures’ for Refugee Week 2017. ‘RE-CONSTRUCT’ aims to zoom into individual stories with special attention to their places of origin in Syria.

The Archive and the Contested Landscape is approached through the sub-theme ‘Crossing, transformations and utopian drives’ for its relation to the brutally uprooting experience of families displaced from Syria, as they try to reconstruct their lives elsewhere, accompanied by a strong sense of nostalgia.

Beyond Borders – Amanda Addison

I propose to submit a piece of literary cartography which explores our notion of mapping geographical/geological borders and the way that people/animals/weather do not always adhere to these constructs. I ask the question, how could a map track both space, place and time? A map traditionally looks at things from above and at one point in time, but could an archive hold a piece of literary cartography which reveals space, place and time.

Humans create borders. Beyond Borders will add to the archive of the Contested Landscape by drawing our attention to notions of human borders and boundaries and how time and landscape do not always conform to this.

Sedia Fuori (Chair Outside)Pina Santoro

I propose to reinterpret this project which originally entailed the creation of a brick chair especially designed for outside use in a public garden area of a community centre. The chair was purposely made to look like a kitchen chair from my great grandparents’ home in Sicily. My memory of using these chairs both inside and outside in everyday life is still very vivid and an important part of my research into how we can feel settled by objects in both indoor and outdoor environments. The chair is a symbol for immigrant displacement and an exploration of how this object was related to by the regular members of the community centre.

I would now like to re think this idea by either, creating a new chair from found materials and again exploring the outdoors with it, or by exploring a readymade chair in outdoor spaces.

Looking for Clues – Sean Baker

This piece of flash fiction started life as a 75-word story for the website I then expanded it for a flash competition run by, where it was originally published in summer 2017 and has since appeared in their first anthology ‘Barely Casting a Shadow’.

Brain Computer Music Interfacing (BCMI) with Meditation – Krisztián Hofstadter

This interdisciplinary, practice-based PhD research develops BCMI that reinforces brainwave patterns linked to meditative states of mind by giving auditory feedback. The interface employs the therapeutic benefits of neurofeedback (NF), gaming, music and meditation in order to be effective in helping users understand their cognition. The software’s effectiveness will be investigated in training programmes and demonstrated in presentations and concerts with consumer-graded electroencephalography (EEG).

How is this related to the theme ‘The Archive and the Contested Landscape’? Auditory feedback given is in the context of sonic landscapes, soundscapes that interact with live EEG readings. The soundscapes should help the user to reflect on their own mental archives, habits in order to gain better understanding of their connections to internal and external realities.

In the Darkness – Sanprapha Vudhivorn   

To children, their fear is something they can see and feel, and sometimes they have to face their fear alone because adults do not understand or ignore think that children’s fear is nonsense as adults cannot see it. For children, it is not an imagination. It is real, real enough for them to be scared. And they need someone who understand to be with them and help them get through. This series of illustrations will explore the landscape of darkness in the eyes of children.

Beside the seaside today – Meria Palin

This illustration shows how you can try your best to collect lids and bottles beside the seaside, to make sure that the lids won’t be eaten by fish, seabirds or even whales and also that the landscape looks good. The idea of walking by the sea trying to find beautiful sea shells or pebbles in the beach can today be seen in many places as replaced by collecting colourful lids and bottles. The romantic and beautiful seaside landscape is available to more people than previously but at the same time the sea itself suffers of how we take care of it and the rest of the nature.