Makers of the Multiverse Multiple, 2017, Paint, Oak Veneer Board, Oak Base (30 x 12 x 9.5 cm).JuneauProjects and Spacex are excited to offer this opportunity to buy a specially produced artwork made by the artists as part of their upcoming project taking place in Exeter this spring.

We are raising funds for Makers of the Multiverse, a sculptural pavilion, that will house a temporary art-market and a series of live events. The pavilion will be located at Exeter Quay between the 13th of May and the 10th of June and will be open every day.

The aim of the project is to help artists, designers and makers to sell their work as affordable multiples and develop a deeper relationship with an audience who may wish to buy their work through participating in live demos, workshops, talks and events. We want to explore new and interesting ways of selling artwork, craft and design and to examine how a DIY art market can help create an income for artists, designers and makers.

An open call to artists, designers and makers from the Exeter area and beyond means we are delighted to be collaborating with people from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience.100% of the profits from sales will go back to the artists, designers and makers, so we’re asking you to help support Makers of the Multiverse by buying one of our new multiples made specially for the project.

To help raise funds for the project Juneau Projects have made a new piece based on the objects that will make up the façade of the pavilion. Each of these multiples costs £50 and is laser cut, assembled, hand-painted and signed by the artists. In addition to this, if you would like to pledge £100 towards the project you can design your own object to be added to the piece: you just need to send us a photo or drawing of the object you would like included. It could be something you have made, your favourite ornament, something your partner or child has made or your dream art object. We will make a design based on your image and add it to the sculpture, creating a very unique version of the multiple just for you.

 

This is a great chance to buy an artwork by Juneau Projects (artist duo Ben Sadler and Philip Duckworth). They have exhibited widely and have had solo shows at venues including The Showroom, London, Tate Britain, London; and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. They have featured in many group shows in the UK including British Art Show 6 and Tatton Park Biennial as well as exhibiting extensively internationally, including shows at PS1, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt; and CAC, Vilnius.

They have work in numerous collections including The Zabludowicz Collection, The British Museum, New Art Gallery Walsall and KPN.

22 April 2017

Juneau Projects (Philip Duckworth, Ben Sadler), Makers of the Multiverse, concept image for the pavilion, 2016 © courtesy of the artists

Juneau Projects (Philip Duckworth, Ben Sadler), Makers of the Multiverse, concept image for the pavilion, 2016 © courtesy of the artists

Spacex is pleased to present Makers of the Multiverse, a sculptural pavilion by Juneau Projects (Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler), located for four weeks at Exeter Quay. The pavilion will function as a shop and event venue, stocked with multiples by artists and makers and hosting live events.

Makers of the Multiverse has been developed with Spacex as a project that aims to expand the way artists and makers can show and sell affordable multiples. It proposes alternatives to more traditional art world structures and hierarchies by considering artists’ engagement with the role of distribution, pricing and accessibility of artwork.

“We are really interested in looking at affordable and sustainable ways that makers can promote and sell the things they produce and do. We have always had a D.I.Y. spirit and approach in our work and, increasingly, it feels like this is a useful quality to have in terms of maintaining an artistic practice. Online methods of marketing have opened wide the possibilities for people to promote and sell their work. We’re really excited to look at how this spirit can work offline too.” – Juneau Projects

The artists will source artworks for the exhibition through an open call, inviting participants from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience to contribute multiples. The project has been developed from the artists’ long-standing interest in the creative impulse that makes people want to make things. Whether this is labeled arts practice, a hobby or a even a survival practice, Juneau Projects see a creative practice as an area of contention, with new systems, structures and value systems required to meet contemporary and future conditions.

In previous projects such as ‘Gleaners of the Infocalypse’, ‘Welcome to Happy Redoubt’ and ‘Animal Spirits’, Juneau Projects have attempted to consider why the urge to create and make things is a fundamental part of the human spirit, how it is inextricably tied to the evolution of society, culture and technology, and how this urge might develop and shift in response to environmental changes and the rapid acceleration of technology.

For this project they offer a pragmatic and generous invitation to artists and makers. As well as inviting makers to produce affordable editions in the form of physical objects for the exhibition, Juneau Projects will be asking contributors to consider how they could extend their creative practice to include live events and experiences, reaching audiences and customers via new platforms. In this way Makers of the Multiverse acts as a developmental resource for artists and makers as well as a public artwork.

During the months leading up to the opening of the pavilion, Juneau Projects are working with local community groups, schools, colleges, and artists to create the pavilion, fill it with artworks, and programme a four week series of public events.

Makers of the Multiverse is funded by Arts Council England, Exeter City Council, Outset South West, Exeter Canal and Quay Trust and The Farringdon House Trust. It is supported by Exeter College and The University of Exeter.

For press images, and interview requests please contact martyn@spacex.org.uk

Notes to Editors
Makers of the Multiverse
Dates: 13 May – 10 June 2017
Pavilion Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11.30am – 2pm, Saturday & Sunday: 11am-4pm
Location: Piazza Terracina, Haven Road, EX2 4AR
Free admission (some ticketed events)

Opening Reception: Saturday 13 May 3-5pm, all welcome

Juneau Projects
Juneau Projects are Philip Duckworth, born in Iserlohn, Germany, 1976 and Ben Sadler, born in Birmingham, UK, 1977. Both live and work in Birmingham, UK. Solo exhibitions include Trappenkamp, Tate Britain, 2008; I Went to Woods, New Art Gallery Walsall, 2008; Aggressive Localism, MIMA, Middlesbrough, 2007 and Black Moss, 2006, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, The Model, Sligo, FACT, Liverpool and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, John Hansard Gallery 2013. Group exhibitions include The Witching Hour, Birmingham Art Gallery, 2010, Experimenta Folklore, Frankfurter Kunsterein, Frankfurt, Germany, 2008 and the British Art Show 6, Hayward Touring: Baltic, Gateshead, International 3, Manchester, Bonnington, Nottingham, BCMA, Bristol, 2005. Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler formed Juneau Projects in 2001. The majority of their work includes participatory elements and involves projection, sound, music, animation and installation. They are particularly interested in the rapidly increasing speed of technological development, and its associated obsolescence. Recent work has examined the overlap between performance as musicians, sculpture and installation.

Spacex is a contemporary art commissioning organisation. It was set up by an artist collective in 1974 in a 19th Century warehouse, between the High Street and the quayside. The original purpose was to offer affordable studio space to artists and a venue in which they could exhibit their work. In the early 1990s Spacex became a registered charity and a publicly funded contemporary gallery. Our pioneering programme has received ongoing critical acclaim. In 2016 Spacex moved from 45 Preston Street to a new project base at the Exeter Phoenix in central Exeter. www.spacex.org.uk

Multiples and Editions
Source: Wikipedia
In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate. This may be a limited edition, with a fixed number of impressions produced on the understanding that no further impressions (copies) will be produced later, or an open edition limited only by the number that can be sold or produced before the plate wears. An Artist’s multiple is similar to an edition – a series of identical art objects produced by an artist. These could be multiples of a 2D print, 3D sculpture, or installation piece. The multiple offers artists a way of selling work without compromising their artistic integrity and makes their work accessible to a wider market.

3 April 2017

I am the Warrior - John Hansard Gallery

I am the Warrior – John Hansard Gallery

A-n have a bursary of £150 available to enable a writer to visit and review Juneau Projects: Makers of the Multiverse, in Exeter.

 

This Spring, Spacex present Makers of the Multiverse, a pavilion by Juneau Projects (Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler), located for four weeks at Exeter’s historic quayside. The temporary pavilion, an artwork in itself, will also function as an exhibition venue stocked with affordable artworks by artists and makers from the local area.

Exploring alternatives to the existing structures and hierarchies of the art world, Juneau Projects have worked with artists, makers, local communities and school groups to make the pavilion and develop a programme of events that explore the boundaries of what an affordable artwork can be.

a-n has a Critical Writing Bursary available for a writer to visit Juneau Projects: Makers of the Multiverse in Exeter during the events programme and produce a piece of independent critical writing, which will be uploaded to and published on a-n’s critical writing platform by the writer.

Applications accepted from now and up to 12 noon Wednesday 12 April 2017.

Eligibility: Visual artists, arts organisers, writers and postgraduate students based in the UK with a current a-n membership.

Exclusions:

  • Students on an undergraduate course.

Value: £150.

How to apply: To apply, please email jennifer.picken@a-n.co.uk by 12 noon on Wednesday 12 April 2017 with a short statement of no more than 200 words outlining your interest in reviewing Juneau Projects: Makers of the Multiverse.  [Please note: the events programme for Makers of the Multiverse is an evolving one, and the selected writer will need to research the best time to visit.]

20 March 2017

Juneau Projects working with students at Exeter School of Art, fine art students Juneau Projects have been working with some of our education partners last week. Art students and primary school pupils took part in meetings and workshops to plan and develop content for the Makers of the Multiverse pavilion that will open to the public on 13 May.

Spacex ensures that exciting and inspirational opportunities for children and young people are integral to our projects. We see young people as contributors and build in opportunities for them to work directly with artists on our projects. This involvement provides high-quality engagement with the work of the artists we commission.

Exeter School of Art fine art students with Juneau Projects We aim to share and develop expertise within the field of art education and partner with University of Exeter to contribute to debate and research around all levels Art Education. Spacex also provides work experience placements, and students from Exeter school of Art are currently gaining project management experience and technical skills whilst supporting Makers of the Multiverse.

Related…
Find out more about Makers of the Multiverse 

Find out more about our open call for artists and makers 

16 March 2017

Spacex is pleased to announce the launch of a new project in Cranbrook. This spring Spacex have commissioned Kim Wide Curator and Director of Take A Part CIC Plymouth, to work with members of Cranbrook’s Town Council and community groups to select an artist who will work with residents to produce an artwork for the new town.

Later this month Spacex and Tale A Part are in Cranbrook inviting everyone from the area to start thinking about: if they’re interested in creative projects and what creative opportunities people would like to see in Cranbrook for art to happen. This will be the start of our work developing a programme of arts activities with residents in Cranbrook and drawing on the communities advice, ideas and support to develop an Arts Action Group.

If you want to find out more or are unable to attend but would like to be involved in future events get in touch by emailing mail@spacex.org.uk #CreativeCranbrook

This project follows Spacex’s work in Cranbrook across the last two years, including Margareta Kern and Jonathan Hoskins Residency as well as the Random Spaces for Kindness.

9 March 2017

Claire_Bryson_DSC04590Appointed in December 2016, Claire Bryson (née Bryden) joins Spacex as a member of the Board and will advise on digital marketing and audience development. Claire, who has been working in the area of marketing for over 10 years, returns to Spacex in this new capacity having carried out a digital media internship earlier in her career.

Claire said “My internship with Spacex was one of my first roles in digital marketing and helped me get into the specialist field. For me this links to a bigger story of how Spacex supports early career arts professionals and young people gain experience in the arts. It is a great chance for me to support and give back to Spacex and young people coming into the field today.”

Claire is the National Trust’s digital marketing consultant in the South West. Her role covers one of the largest regions in the country – from Land’s End to Poole and as far north as the Cotswolds. Setting the direction for digital campaigns across the SouthWest as well as being called on for advice from over 150 places and properties, Claire is part of the South West Digital Advisory Board for Heritage Organisations. With its core purpose to share knowledge in the sector and to collaborate.

Mark Waugh and Dom Jinks welcome Claire’s appointment saying
“Claire’s knowledge and experience in digital marketing is an excellent asset to the already diverse skill-set of the Board of Trustees and the ambitions of the organisation going forward. On behalf of everyone of the Board and the staff we would like to welcome Claire.”

Claire has already been instrumental in the development of a new digital marketing strategy and in the implementation of a new website development project which Spacex will be launching later this year. This development will offer greater accessibility and transparency in the organisations governance and open approach to partnership and collaboration. Find out more from Spacex’s website and follow them on social media.

For find out more about Spacex, their upcoming programme and more please visit www.spacex.org.uk

For more information and high res images please contact martyn@spacex.org.uk

Notes to Editor
Spacex enables access to contemporary visual art in the South West via a programme of projects and events. The organisation works with artists to realise ambitions, pursue new directions and take risks. Through investment in artists at a critical stage in their career, Spacex progresses emerging talent. As an educational charity Spacex has an excellent record of delivering innovative and accessible learning projects.

Claire Bryson (née Bryden) was appointed December 2016. Specialist Knowledge: Digital & Marketing. Claire is a digital marketing specialist who has worked for a variety of cultural organisations in London and the South West. She is currently working for The National Trust as Digital Marketing Communications Consultant South West. Claire completed a marketing internship at Spacex at an early stage in her career and she is keen to support Spacex to develop a Digital Strategy. www.twitter.com/shinyshoeclaire

9 February 2017

After a period of major organisational change which has seen Spacex move from its old gallery space to deliver a new and ambitious public programme, the organisation is pleased to announce the receipt of a major grant from Arts Council England.

The Arts Council have awarded Spacex £66,000 from their Grants for the Arts programme. This will invest in a programme of activity and audience development over the next 12 months.

The programme includes a playful and participatory project by Birmingham-based artist duo, Juneau Projects to reveal the breadth and ambition of professional and amateur creative practice. Entitled Makers of the Multiverse, Juneau Projects will work with artists, students and community groups and will create an evolving pavilion for performance and as a display space that will be open to the public next May.

Running throughout will be a series of Art Talks presented with education partners, University of Exeter and Exeter School of Art. The series will enable students and the public to engage with the best in contemporary art practice. These events will begin conversations with the invited artists about future projects in Exeter.

As part of this programme South Korean artist Young In Hong will present new artworks and a performance in Exeter and work with Spacex to continue developing a vibrant cultural offer for emerging neighbourhoods around the city.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:
‘We are very pleased to be supporting Spacex through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme. The award will help Spacex to develop participatory work with their local comunities, providing more oppertunities for engagement and extending networks. I look forward to seeing the results.’

Mark Waugh, Head of Research and Innovation for DACS and the Chair of the Board of Trustees explained:
‘Spacex is committed to supporting the breadth and ambition of professional and amateur creative practice in Exeter and beyond and are excited to be working with Juneau Projects to make this happen through a public Pavillon space.

Dom Jinks (Executive Director of Plymouth Culture) and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees added:
‘We are thrilled to have the continued support of Arts Council England. This funding ensures people from Exeter and the wider region can access Spacex exciting projects and activities.’

For more info about upcoming projects and events included in our programme please visit our website, Facebook and Twitter.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor
About Spacex

Collaboration lies at the heart of Spacex. It brings together artists and audiences, initiating dialogues and partnerships to develop projects and commissions. Spacex enables access to contemporary visual art in the South West via its programme of projects and events. Rooted in the locality of Exeter, the programme aims to contribute to a wider critical debate, regionally nationally and internationally. Spacex finds new ways to capture the interest of a wide range of people, inspiring engagement with and participation in contemporary art. www.spacex.org.uk

About Juneau Projects
Juneau Projects was formed in 2001 by Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler. The majority of their work includes playful, participatory elements and involves projection, sound, music, animation and installation. They are particularly interested in the rapidly increasing speed of technological development, and its associated obsolescence. Recent works have evolved from an exploration of the role of artists through fictional depictions of societies experiencing the aftermath of technological break down. www.juneauprojects.co.uk

About Yong In Hong
Young In Hong is a South Korean artist now living and working in the South West of England. Young In develops site-specific installations, performance, embroidery paintings and drawings, with collaboration as a crucial part of her artistic process and practice. She holds a PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College London and has been been exhibited internationally, notably ICA London (2015), Gwangju Biennale (2014), Plateau Museum, Seoul (2014), Museum of Art and Design, New York (2011), Saatchi Gallery (2010), and a special exhibition at Liverpool Biennale (2008). www.younginhong.com

10 January 2017

Feed Me, Rachel Maclean, 2015. Image courtesy of FVU

Feed Me, Rachel Maclean, 2015. Image courtesy of FVU

Modern life feeds us the line that happiness comes when we follow our desires. If you have a dream, then chase it. If you have an itch, then scratch it. If you have an urge, then satisfy it. But what if what made us happy only ever left us wanting more, or simply created an ever-bigger hole to fill? Instant gratification – the holy grail of our superficial, accelerated age – is increasingly only a click away; and yet, as we are liable to discover, its effects are frequently over just as quickly – bringing a feeling of emptiness and further intensifying the original craving. Will the next bite of the apple be enough? Is this appetite for consumption becoming addictive, even destructive? Can one have too much of a good thing?

British Art Show 8, Edinburgh. Feed Me, Rachel Maclean, 2015. Image courtesy of FVU. Photo: John McKenzie

British Art Show 8, Edinburgh. Feed Me, Rachel Maclean, 2015. Image courtesy of FVU. Photo: John McKenzie

Rachel Maclean’s Feed Me is a parable of the pleasures and perils of indulgence, and a wicked, waspish skit on a world where greed is good, and it’s OK to give in to every temptation and whim. Extravagance and excess, those seductive ugly sisters – whispering to the avarice in our soul, always eager to tickle the sweet spot of the contemporary cultural palate – are, one can hardly fail to notice, also signature features of Maclean’s artistic palette; evident in her obvious love of dressing up and in the multi-layered digital confections with which she drapes and decorates her work. Although these colourful computer-generated effects apply a fantastical candy-coated surface, Maclean lays it on equally thick with make-up, costume and prosthetics: older tricks of the theatrical trade that enable her to appear as multiple characters in a parade of show-stopper performances. These characters, in turn, run the gamut of current fashions, fixations and tastes: the pre-teen social media fanatic, and the silver-fox media entrepreneur; the starry-eyed child entertainer whose golden ticket to fame and fortune is also the meal ticket for the behind-the-scenes mentor, fairy godmother or industry svengali. Feed any of these creatures a line, and they know exactly how and when to act – and how to convey themselves in the best possible light. This frenzy of self-regard (and barely-concealed self-interest) is all frivolous sound and fury but its froth of sweet nothings has a dark and bitter aftertaste, as Maclean lambasts the commercialisation (and sexualisation) of childhood, and deftly skewers a corresponding turn towards infantilisation in adult behaviour. As we continue to feed the monster of contemporary consumerist desire, Maclean’s film is an indelible reminder of all the little monsters that are born in its wake.

FILM: Feed Me Rachel Maclean 18 February
3.30pm £4 (+ £1.50 booking fee)
Studio 74, Exeter Phoenix

Spacex presents artist Rachel Maclean’s film, commissioned by FVU and Hayward Touring for British Art Show 8. Supported by Arts Council England and Creative Scotland. Modern life feeds us the line that happiness comes when we follow our desires. If you have a dream, then chase it. But what if what made us happy only ever created an ever-bigger hole to fill? Inspired by fairytales, horror films and TV talent shows Feed Me offers a sharp critique of contemporary culture.

‘Feed Me, with its hideous cast of bestial men and half-human creatures got up in kids’ clothes and smiley badges, is an unforgettable satire on the commercialisation of childhood, with sinister sexual undertones – coruscatingly creepy and astute.’ THE GUARDIAN

‘Exhilarating, funny, and frequently frightening’ ARTSY

9 January 2017

 

Irish artist Sean Lynch in his County Limerick studio

Irish artist Sean Lynch in his County Limerick studio

Sean Lynch represented Ireland at 2015’s Venice Biennale with his installation Adventure: Capital. The piece, which combined video, sculpture and graphic prints to trace a journey around Ireland and Britain, is typical of Lynch’s multimedia practice. Much of his work concerns forgotten histories and tends to be the result of years of research. Adventure: Capital is currently on tour in Ireland. Lynch’s new exhibition, The Weight of the World, at Phoenix Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, is informed by the museum’s artefacts, such as their recent acquisition of a hoard of Roman coins.

I get up at 7am. I’ll often have a thought or idea pop up as I’m trying to get to sleep, and the work I make often requires speaking to other people – you can’t always find answers just by googling things. So the first thing I do is plan who I need to call that day.

My studio is 20 paces from my front door. I live with my wife and baby daughter on the outskirts of Askeaton in Limerick, by the Shannon estuary. We live in what would have been the lighthouse keeper’s home and his office next door is now the studio. There’s room for storage, and a black and white darkroom. I share the studio with my wife, Michele Horrigan, who’s also an artist. We studied together in Frankfurt in the mid-2000s.

Adventure Capital Credit: Sean Lynch

Adventure Capital Credit: Sean Lynch

I imagine I’m tidy but I’m not sure Michele would agree. Seamus Heaney once said something about how you don’t want your studio to be too nice, because you’d never get anything done.

We have an open door policy. We run an artist residency in the town and artists come from all over the world. Often they’ll be using the studio, too. It’s a friendly place.

I used to listen to Punk tapes while I worked, and Fugazi and Mogwai, and a really good local band called The Poke. But but I got a bit sick of it. Now it’s a pretty quiet space.

Lunch gives me a chance to socialise with other local artists. It’s part of our rhythm. We talk about our work and help each other out. The other day, they were helping me shoot a video and we had to pop a bottle of champagne as part of it, so we were left with an open bottle at 11.30am. That disappeared over lunch.

I use my walls as workspace. When I’m working on pieces that involve slide projections, the walls are covered in photos to help me sequence them. But when I’m making sculptures – which usually happens on site – the walls are bare. The studio has to be flexible, so that it can used for anything.

People are always coming in and out of the studio. They’re not assistants, exactly: one friend helps with woodwork, another is a whiz on the computer and is great at video-editing. We have a communal way of working. I like to give over control: it’s not about being a genius, it’s about a meeting of minds and a meeting of different skills.

 The DeLorean In progress Credit: Sean Lynch

The DeLorean In progress Credit: Sean Lynch

I often revisit old pieces. They might need to be reformatted for an exhibition, or I might have learned a new piece of information through exhibiting them. In 2010, I made a piece about the DeLorean motor car factory being shut down, and whenever it’s exhibited people tell me they knew someone that worked there. It would be boring if an artwork knew exactly what it was. It’s much more exciting for it to change over time, so that its personality develops in the way ours do.

I work on multiple pieces at once. Sometimes I’ll be researching something for years, but sometimes I’ll make works in just a day or two.

I feed my inspiration by discovering untold stories. I’m interested in the role of history – especially forgotten history – in our lives. One of my projects is about two brothers from Oxford who carved monkeys onto the city’s museums. I wanted to encourage people to look up and see how they changed the cityscape.

When I get artist’s block, I get on with the practical stuff. Making work is a long term process, so it’s not necessarily about producing art every day. If I can’t get my ideas going, I can work on publications for my exhibitions, or some of the organisational tasks.

Installation view of the piece The Irish House Credit: Sean Lynch

Installation view of the piece The Irish House Credit: Sean Lynch

I‘ve also found it to be true that you don’t always have to start with a good idea: the bad ones can turn out to be much more interesting – and I’m pretty good at those.

I write notes on my hand. I’ve started using my mobile to take pictures of things I want to remember, too, but I like the idea that I can write a note on my hand and look at it later in the day – sometimes it doesn’t make sense at first, but then the memory will come.

I never really finish work. The studio door is always open, so if there’s some little thing I didn’t finish during the day I’ll pop back in at 11pm, after we’ve put my daughter to bed.

To relax, I watch Keith Lemon on TV. I like any kind of trash television. I play snooker, too, though badly.

I get about six hours of sleep. Although since we’ve had our baby, I’m ready for a power nap at any time of day.

21 June 2016

Opportunities for both institutions and artists to collaboratively reframe themselves happen rarely; structures and practices shift into patterns over time, manifesting into certain forms, truths, that are difficult to shift. Collaboration is a point of departure and discovery, offering challenges that if embraced impact on the way that ideas and processes can take form in future work.

img_5675__largeThroughout October and November 2015, Trevor Pitt undertook a residency at Spacex that explored collaboration, focusing on its use as a strategy for artists making ‘things’, and ‘making things happen’ and shifting the focus from discussion to active engagement. Pitt’s practice builds platforms, his previous work ‘Cannon Hill Art School’ manifested a project that offered 72 Birmingham residents the opportunity to study a subject that is for many increasingly out of reach.img_5751__large

These works are underpinned by the deep sense of fascination Pitt holds for the approaches and iconography developed in Black Mountain College by Josef and Anni Albers, and the transformational nature of study through experimental practice. Albers danced through Pitt’s residency, his electric engagement projected through a short video alongside an installation of platforms for collaboration and furniture developed from Albers’ designs by Pitt and made by Malcolm Robertson, Spacex’s Technical Manager. The gallery space was transformed through these acts into a place in which Pitt tested ideas through educational collaboration. School children came to curate exhibitions alongside PGCE students, FE Art and Design students discovered a DIY aesthetic in BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) then shared and tested the results through an event they held out of college hours.

img_5857__largeCentral to Pitt’s concerns at Spacex was the creation of Preston Street Union, in which Pitt invited fifteen artists local to Exeter to join him throughout his residency, to form an association through which they would actively collaborate. Preston Street Union was informed by a series of guest speakers, all artists who Pitt has previously collaborated with. Juneau Projects, Claire Thornton and Emily Warner each visited Spacex to introduce their work through presentations and direct activity. I fleetingly manifested the collaborative projects that focus my practice via Skype. This element of the residency was given its own visual identity by designer Keith Dodds, another of Pitt’s long- term collaborators.

img_6034__largeAt the core of Preston Street Union are ongoing direct questions for both the participants and Spacex that focus on the relationships they can build together and how these then can be sustained for future work. Within the spaces in which artists are brought together there are undeniable opportunities to collectively support diverse individual practices, through the fostering of critical engagement with the contexts and connections that form innovative work. Artists, spaces and projects are strengthened through critical engagement, gaining the confidence to see beyond the context of their immediate surroundings for a greater sense of connectivity. Associates’ schemes set up by Castlefield Gallery, Eastside Projects, G39, S1 Artspace and Spike Island continue to offer artists unique opportunities to expand and develop their creative (artistic, curatorial and written) networks through the offer of direct participation and exchange. Each associates’ scheme shares the dynamically ambitious local/international ecologies which they continue to forge, engage and inform through cross regional residences, callouts and projects.

img_6091__largePreston Street Union have been selected for mentoring by Visual Arts South West and continue discussions as to how they can evolve and work together as collaborators and peers. As these dialogues are undertaken there is an opportunity for reciprocity. The strength of Spacex has been its commitment to supporting risk in artists’ practices. This is a critical moment for artists both regionally and nationally to support Spacex as it engages with new aims to pioneer itself as a resilient organisational structure in the visual arts, and to work with projects that focus the institution beyond the gallery into embedded engagement with local populations. Spacex’s support has been galvanised through Pitt’s residency, which has focused how the institution can maintain a reputation for excellence at a national level, while increasing its participation and engagement with regional audiences. Situations born out of flux offer opportunities for imagination and re-creation. As projects shift they call in turn for us to respond, to work with them and see them anew.

Text by Cathy Wade
Published by This is Tomorrow Magazine

16 March 2016