There is now a window of opportunity for artists to send important messages to the world, re-imagine a new normal, one that is kinder and more community minded. A society that treasures its people and its environment.
Like in an athletic relay race, each artist worked in solitude then passed on the ‘baton’ for the next artist to continue. The baton was in the form of a journal, a metaphor for team effort: artists were expected to engage with the whole process of Relay, connect and support their fellow residents.
At the end of each residency there was a presentation day and artist talk, all set within Covid-19 safety guidelines. A final exhibition will be organised in 2021.
ROOM 6.6 Relay is the first time I will be turning my practice towards my local area for an extended period of time. Iʼve been based around Peckham/New Cross also for almost 5 years and though I have been taking images in this time it was always a scattered exercise.
During the residency I would like to highlight the characteristic features of the area surrounding the space, survey and represent local residentsʼ ties to the neighbourhood and current state of mind within the community ‘s well as bring members of the public together in the context of the exhibition space. Through conducting interviews and making portraits I would like to engage in a conversation about the present moment. I hope to seize a portion of reality in the form of a documentary body of work that will overall show how the area was observed and experienced.
I would like to bring the public together in the space by engaging with different aspects of the local community. This would be done in two immediate ways : by engaging with peers and connections I already have that in the local community both in situ and off site ; and by portraying members of the public I will encounter on the streets. These encounters will be collected and exhibited in the space. Over the three weeks the space will be a development studio, progressively filling with images and evolving towards a final install’tion to be on display over the last weekend of the residency. Mixing different images of varied subjects in order to paint a cross section of the visual landscape and socio-economic context of the location. The presentation will consist of prints, slideshows, video and sound.
The final installation will be somewhat based on the idea of a collage. I will be balancing different image based expressions together in the space through creating several short series. Black and white 35mm and colour medium format will be my roaming partners, gathering sound recordings as I go. I will also use transparency and video for portraits which will be a bit more studio like. This patchwork will represent the different elements I would like to document and discover in the course of the show. Over the course of the final weekend people that have been photographed will be invited along with other members of the public to encounter each other in the space.
For Relay 6.6 WhittyGordon plan to engage with the local community, particularly women 50+ to produce a moving image and photography installation.
We want to generate broader discussions on loneliness, isolation and the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown. We will be asking questions such as…
How are they coping with the ‘new normal’ in a positive way?
Do you suffer from isolation and loneliness?
What are the best and worst impacts of COVID on your life?
What does the future hold?
How have Black Lives Matters and recent global events affected you?
We will be interviewing women from all backgrounds to get a broader picture in hARTslane and the local community (observing social distancing guidelines at all times). The aim of the project is to collaborate with participants to develop a visual portrait of their everyday lives and stories. The stories collected into a moving image film and series of portraits will be exhibited at hARTslane in December as part of Relay Room 6.6 group exhibition.
“Sam Schmitt explore the strategies developed by vegetal life to reproduce in the brick and mortar od the city. If only they were allowed to take over the porous urban infrastructure in waves of ecological succession, plants would eventually transform our neighbouroods into what they used to be: forest. Ruderal Consciousness shown what Sam allowed them to do over the past fours weeks working in the space.
At a time where a majority of people are thinking introspectively amid the traumatisams of 2020, this work focuses on creating a soave of escape and healing. It observes the regenerative potential of nature and invites visitors to a fleeting presentation. The depleted soils used in the show has been enriched and rejuvenated by growing nitrogen fixing cloves, and will be donated to local residents to continue its cycle in the area after the show.” Text by Nikos Akritidis.
BLKBRD is a collective of artists, from different disciplines who work together to create artworks. They are concerned with honouring the sacrifices of migrants to Britain today and through out time. From the transatlantic slave trade, to the contemporary refugee crisis, the Windrush scandal, to the disproportionate BAME death toll for COVID-19. Their aim is to explore the traditionally underrepresented legacies of migration to the UK.
During their residency, they will explore sculptural processes. More specifically looking at recreating characters and stories that they developed during the lockdown period. Their aim is to create large scale plaster figurative sculptures and an immersive sculptural installation that will include a sound scape and some 2D works. BLKBRD will continue to explore themes of migration in the local and the broader context, exploring the forgotten histories and testimonies of the marginalised. Looking at stories of migrants endless journeys, their impossible conviction and the trail of uncertainty. They will collaborate with the local community to curate the finalised installation.
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth
Our foot’s in the door
Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath
Like mycelium the way forward is through creating mutually supportive networks that support the development of radical strategies.
In 2009 I started my ongoing project “The Milky Way”, a project combining utopian dreams with my interest in mycology. Essential to the project is collaboration, taking place as either elaborate or simple mushroom dinners, dialogues, and political interventions. At hARTslane I’ll be working for three weeks on a new installation, “Test Site Two from The Milky Way”. I’ll be growing mushrooms in a pop-up disco/terrarium and experimenting on how to make new materials out of fungi. Guests are welcome to cook some mushrooms and talk about radical new strategies to address current local and global issues.
Diana Puntar is a London based artist originally from New York City. She has exhibited both in the US and internationally including at MoMA, PARTICIPANT INC, and Blackston. Puntar has received grants from The Pollack Krasner Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and The Arts Council among others.
During the ROOM 6.6 Relay Residency interdisciplinary artist Dagmara Bilon will distribute letters to the local residents inviting them to write a letter to a loved person, who they lost and write all the things that one might have wanted to say but were not able to say.
‘Letters to my Un-dying Love’ is a delicate investigation into saying the things we wanted to say but couldn’t, hold space for grieve, loss-and healing.
This call out especially addresses members in the community who might have lost loved ones during the time of the pandemic and due to social distancing rules were not able to be present at the time of death, or other circumstance of death experienced in their life time that still prevails.
The period of the lockdown has been a time for challenging isolation, as well as an opportunity to be closer with oneself, away from outer distractions and closer to feelings present. This is not always easy and especially where difficult feelings emerge.
How to process difficult feelings? How can we acknowledge and heal from loss? What roles can the arts play in facilitating a dialogue about death? How can we open up to empathy and come together to feel with others? Are some of the questions present for the residency at hARTslane.
Letters will be posted and collected at hARTslane Gallery and be a starting point for performance research of new work of ‘My un-dying Love’ with Himherandit Productions to be premiered in the year 2021.
Simultaneously to the 3-week letter engagement, Bilon will enter a process of solitary making looking into rituals of loss and death, investigating held emotions related to grieve in her own body and document processes via photography and video. Content of material will be shared and explored with her physically distanced collaborator Andreas Constantinou through the help of WhatsUp.