Aspen Art Award – winners!

The Contemporary Arts Society and Aspen Insurance run an annual competition for a £5000 commission. MA Fine Art Digital students were amongst 8 people shortlisted, Jack Addis and the art collective ‘su_’ which is a partnership between Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa. All 3 are current MA Fine Art Digital 1st year students.

blanca-virginia

On the 18 June 2015 at Aspen Insurance’s head quarters Virginia and Blanca were announced as the winners! You can read more about their proposal here.

Ben Vickers — Curator of Digital at Serpentine Galleries and one of the judges said, ‘I am delighted to have been involved in awarding su_ this year’s prize. Their work has a vitality and sensitivity to context that is rarely seen in younger artists, together they bring an energetic and thoughtful dynamism that I am compelled to follow into the future.’

Lumen art prize exhibition

The Lumen art prize international tour of prize winners came to London. MA Fine Art Digital students worked as curators with Course Director Jonathan Kearney. This lead to a lot of interesting discussion and a challenging installation in London’s Crypt Gallery.
Despite initial fears, the unusual space didn’t overwhelm the work and instead seemed to give it an open platform, space to breath, allowing unusual juxtapositions to collide and new dialogues to emerge. Put it another way the colour looked great on the old brick walls and the sound bounced around a lot!

Two students, Clara Duran and Jack Addis were selected to take part in the symposium and presented their ideas and in a curated conversation with Jonathan. Several students contributed short curatorial statements, Yvonne Opalinski (online student based in Toronto), Anqi Zhou and a joint statement by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm and Trystan Williams, see the PDF below.

Lumen_Prize_curatorial_statements

1 day show and performance

25 March – a quick pop-up exhibition of current work in the studio and a performance in the corridor outside.

Low Residency 2015 day 9

The final day finished with a great discussion but before that we started with a presentation from Hannah Breslin covering all the activities of SEE Student Enterprise and Employability. This part of the University of the Arts London is very proactive in exploring innovative support for students and Hannah explained a wide range of funding and advice options.

Next was a group tutorial exercise which built on the experiment tried last year. This lead to some in-depth conversations with students sharing and challenging each other.

The final event of the day was a real highlight as Dave White, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of the Arts London, led a fascinating and challenging discussion. Dave has developed a very useful way of seeing online engagement called ‘digital residents and digital visitors’. After a mapping exercise we then went on to discuss issues around ‘post digital’. Dave challenged the students to do the work of making visible the dominant ideology that is ‘hidden in the code’ of a digital environment, to find and reveal the cracks, the glitches, to critically dig up the fast disappearing space. In many ways this ‘digital revolution’ is no different to the many previous technology driven changes, but maybe this is faster than ever before. Dave suggested that much of what is happening culturally is hidden under the surface anyway but maybe now it is even more hidden due to the speed of change, leading to the dominant ideologies getting buried in the code and almost disappearing. An artistic critique of this environment is both a valid and important job to be done.

(If you are reading this and like the sound of what happens on this MA course, or simply have some questions about it all, do get in touch. We run regular open days at Camberwell and read here for information on funding and the more than 100 bursaries available.)

Low Residency 2015 day 8

After 2 days based at Camberwell College of Arts doing workshops day 8 was full of visits around London. First was the Stanley Kubrick archive held at London College of Communication one of the other colleges of the University of the Arts London.

Two of the archivists had pulled out some highlights from the archive to illustrate the vast range of material available. Kubrick was known for incredible depth of research a great example of which was some of the preparation for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick produced about 300 files of correspondence with a wide range of companies. He had made contact asking for their vision of what the future would be like in their industry. The files included, letters, telegrams, notes, plans and images and not only from the obvious places like IBM and NASA but also from furniture and make up companies. We also saw a few items from some of the other significant archives such as an extensive comic book archive.

Next was the White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey for the the Christan Marclay exhibition which included a live re-perfromance of a Fluxus event from 1965. A real highlight of this show was the Surround Sounds installation of 4 silent synchronised projected animations.

We finished the day at the Whitechapel Gallery and specifically their exhibition, Adventures of the Black Square. This was an impressive presentation of significant work through the history of abstract art with a focus on the social and political context and impact of the work. The ground floor was full of inspiring and challenging work that still seemed revolutionary even with the passage of time. The second floor felt bit more confused although there was some work that pushed the national boundaries of the usual western European and North American sources, showing work from Iran, Mexico and China amongst others.

Low Residency 2015 day 7

Camberwell College of Arts provides a range or resource centres all staffed by amazing artists and designers in their own right. The digital media resource centre was the focus of todays workshop. The students were given only 6 hours to create a collaborative film using as many of the resources as possible.

The workshop was co-ordinated by Matt Edwards, one of the technicians and also a former student on MA Fine Art Digital. Initially he gave the students 30 minutes to come up with an idea for a film, he suggested they split their focus into 3 areas, film, animation and sound but other than that it was completely up to them what and how they created.

The digital media resource centre includes a large suite of computers, some camera kit, animation facilities, sound recording, mixing and editing, a range of scanners, drawing tablets and some amazing technicians. Students were introduced to hyper lapse, live trace and 3D camera tracking, all potentially fascinating creative tools.

Within 20 minutes an idea had emerged and the rest of the morning was spent gathering material to create the film. In the afternoon everything was edited together and finally an impressive film was produced. Not bad for 6 hours work with 21 people contributing various elements. Some of the animation was taking too long to render so couldn’t be included but could appear in a later edit.

Low Residency 2015 day 6

Today was a full day of experimenting with arduino boards and a wide variety of input sensors, including light, pressure, movement, temperature etc. The morning was a step by step introduction with some challenges like trying to remember stuff about electrical circuits at school! The workshop was expertly led by Romain Meunier and the afternoon included lots of experiments with each group of students managing to produce some effective interaction.

For most students this was simply about exposure, exploring something outside of their normal experience. For other students these lessons will feed directly into their practice as their MA course develops.