Repository of the Undercommons – Creative Response

Enough! firmly believes in the use of cultural activism as one of the key acupuncture points to disrupt existing narratives, (re)imagine alternatives and to (re)create cultural codes, messages and values for our future(s). Enough! want to puncture the collective consciousness and provoke questioning, ideas and action.

The creative response commissions six artists (self-identified) through a combination of invitation and open call, to undertake projects that engage with ideas these ideas around degrowth.

How?

We recognise the connection between climate change and our culture of ‘consumption’ isn’t being made to broader intersectional issues within our societies; increased suspicion and competition towards each other, huge debts, the erosion of care and ever worsening living and working conditions.

Artists in residence are supported to lead on a programme of events including talks, screenings, workshops which will highlight the work they are undertaking and explore how current social, political, civic and economic issues can be understood in relation to climate change.

Dedicated time together will consist of explorations on cultural activism/hacking/jamming and decoloniality/degrowth/deep adaptation. It gives selected artists a chance to meet each other and discuss/develop ideas as part of a wider conversation.

This also provides an opportunity for discovering ways in which people and projects can complement each other, and instil a sense of learning and support between artists and communities.

The work from the creative response strand will be presented collectively from 2020.

It is hoped, Enough!’s artists in residence will be able to exhibit and/or tour their contributions as part of a static/travelling exhibition in 2020 and beyond.

Enough! intend that this work will have a legacy and will create a resource pack based on the Repository of the Undercommons, to be made available to anyone afterwards.

Who?

Our artists in residence are invited to find time to reflect, research and/or produce work.

During the Repository of the Undercommons project, the artists in residence are encouraged to dismantle invisible and imagined borders/boundaries and undertake an exploration of their practice which is freeing, provocative and centres collective liberation.

Learn more about Enough!’s artists in residence below.

Fadzai Mwakutuya

I am an innovative woman and artist from Zimbabwe who has a broad career in arts in the UK and Zimbabwe. Embracing a creative outlook on life I have adopted Scotland as my home and creative thinking space.

The process of creating my personal artwork explores unconventional mark making techniques such as charring, using textile resist methods and sculptures. Building my artwork layer upon layer is a cathartic process and allows me to transcend and remove myself from the challenges of daily life. I reuse found objects and natural materials to find new meanings within the layers of colour and texture. Zimbabwean traditional Sadza paste in my artwork reminds me of this food that I grew up eating everyday. It both comforts and grounds me attaching me to my motherland like an umbilical cord.

I use my artwork to advocate for mental well being within the marginalised communities in Scotland. My artistic ‘voice’ campaigns for ‘stolen identities’ and aims to reclaim my own identity as an artist in a society presenting many barriers to integration and professional development. Thinking or ‘creating outside the box’ allows me to challenge the migration conventions and break away from embedded stereo cast roles enhanced by culture shock and migration strongholds.

I was drawn to taking part in Enough!’s artist residency, Repository of the Undercommons as the project resonates with my values and interests. Creating visuals as a strategy to cope and advocate, is close to my heart. Where accountability is in question and needs to be collectively discussed, art activism, for me, is an impactful way to voice, challenge and campaign against injustice or for justice! Whilst collaborating with artists from abroad, I have forged links within some global arts communities. Locally, I have been exhibiting in the UK for the past 14 years and I have established contacts with the creative community in England and Scotland.

I would like to expand an online audience globally to support the climate change declaration. Thereafter I would like to partner with projects, museums and galleries to curate a travelling exhibition showcasing a universal body of work using an activist theme or combination of themes, e.g.: Protest Banner Images using digital technology and handmade artwork.

This research residency will record modern life as we see it, to inform the future, contributing and providing an educational insight into the policies and procedures that govern world politics and will be archived in varied formats for arts heritage.

In the future I aim to assist and encourage young Zimbabwean and Scottish Artists to collaborate in joint cultural exchange by informing, signposting and curating residencies.

Climate Change Creative Collective (CCCC)

CCCC’s agenda will be to visually highlight the climate change crisis. I intend to undertake research, develop and record ideas in response to the climate crisis, focusing on the use of the creative element. I will explore ways to create a simple online library of usable art and design for Artivism against climate change.

This social media platform will invite collaborations with other professionals, primarily young people, to create a visual gallery with images that everyone can access, engaging a global activist resource.

Creating, signposting promoting and managing an interactive creative protest online will require careful and well researched processes and considerations for a successful outcome.

I hope in this way to contribute to campaigns using impactful visuals for print as banners, posters, or online shared banners.

Chris Manson

Chris Manson is a writer and artist based in Glasgow. Originally from Hong Kong, Chris’ work draws heavily from his mixed Scottish-Chinese heritage.

His artistic output is primarily in genre fiction visual storytelling, and he has provided illustrations for investigative journalism pieces where the preservation of vulnerable peoples’ anonymity met the need to provide an insight into their personal stories and cultures.

Chris is an Electrical Engineering graduate of Strathclyde University and worked in the field of renewable energy from his university days up until 2014, including presentation of the benefits of renewable energy vs non-renewable at public events with the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, now known as the Science and Industry Museum (SIM).

Chris has experienced the climate impacts of unrestricted industrialisation first-hand. During the 2010s, industrial expansion around Shenzhou and the greater Guangzhou area caused a visible smog to form in Hong Kong, adversely impacting the health of vulnerable residents of the formerly relatively clean city.

Motivated by this experience and with the weight of his education behind him, Chris has found himself drawn towards projects that raise awareness of climate change – particularly those that encourage action on both the personal and corporate levels to minimise the impact human existence has on the world we share.

Red Threads of Fate

The Red Thread of Fate (variously translated as The Red String of Fate or the Red Thread of Marriage) is an old Chinese legend that has propagated across many East Asian cultures.

The legend says that two people, destined by the Gods to become partners, are connected by an invisible string that may stretch or become entangled along the way, but will never break – ultimately leading them together.

The proposed art piece, named “Red Threads of Fate”, plays with this idea – that no matter how various interests may manipulate or even conceal information from the public, it is undeniable that we can link human actions to climate events.

The piece will take the form of a walk-through installation, where stories are told by cards strung along the titular red paper ‘threads’, connecting large-scale events to stories of communities impacted by these events via scientific data points.

There will also be corresponding “Blue Threads”. Due to the artist’s belief that positivity and hope is also required to make change happen, these Blue Threads will connect actions and effects that have had a healing or otherwise positive effect on the environment.

The threads will be accompanied by a companion backdrop, where representations of the continents hang above the exhibit, with areas of land vulnerable to rising sea levels hanging down further still – the intended effect being that the disappearing land will be closer to eye level, and harder for attendees to ignore.

It is hoped that with the warnings of the Red Threads and the successes of the Blue Threads, this exhibit will spark critical thought on the causes of climate change, and provide a feeling of encouragement – specifically, that even though there are many issues at hand, we are more than capable of successfully doing something about them.

Jamie Temple

Jamie is an artist-printmaker and educator whose practice is rooted in printmaking and woodworking from which he creates architectural and landscape inspired works on paper and site specific installations. His work draws from a fascination with the built and natural environments we inhabit and transform, taking inspiration from architecture, landscapes and the environment, and experimenting with process and materials.

Recent projects and residencies have seen Jamie exploring themes centred around climate and the environment, our relationship to land and the horizon, understanding our climatological past, and unknown futures that lie ahead.

The sharing of knowledge and skills is also important to Jamie and his creative practice. He regularly delivers workshops and courses across print studios, museums, galleries and art centres in the UK and internationally; recently including the British Council, Barbican Centre, Camden Art Centre, Bow Arts Trust and House 33 in Nigeria.

He is committed to broadening engagement in the arts and introducing new audiences to varied traditional and contemporary approaches to making.

Exhibiting regularly Jamie encourages engagement through workshops and discussion to explore the themes and concepts informing his work, and invite the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

Shifting Sands, Lost Horizons, and Marram’s Curse

For this project I am researching historic climatological events that, due to centuries of exploitation of the landscape together with extreme weather events amidst a changing climate, led to the disappearance of a number of farms, homes and communities along the North East coast of Scotland.

Scattered along the Moray Firth and Aberdeenshire coastlines there is little to remind us of these disappeared settlements, communities and farms devastated by historic climatological events, remembered for the most part through fragmented legends, myths and ruins. Stories of drifting sand dunes, witches’ curses, environmental disaster and card games with the devil.

The focus of my research is on gaining an understanding of the human activity that contributed to these environmental catastrophes, with a view to developing new ideas and expanding concepts that will inform a body of climatologically engaged work.

I want to find out more about how people explained these events and changes in the climate and landscape over time and how a desire to find explanations and meaning often led to rumours pointing to accusations of curses by witches or the devil.

Having grown up around these places I am interested in how these have become the prevailing stories we remember locally; histories that are inextricably connected to the landscape as it has shifted and been reformed by natural forces and human hands.

During this project I am also continuing to explore and experiment with approaches to making prints, developing on from work made for previous residencies and exhibitions inspired by the environment, climate, materials and process.

I am making sketches and audio and visual recordings from these places, keeping a record of the project while engaging with local residents and historians to deliver workshops and discussions; all of which will inform my research and development of new artworks.

Verbena Blue Collective

For the Enough! residency we would like to introduce ourselves as Verbena Blue Collective; a collective of theatre/arts related professionals whom after working on dictated and closed projects, have decided to create an original, experimental and more open path, which will allow us to create works aligned more closely to our beliefs, convictions and taste.

Verbena Blue Collective aims to break establishment boundaries and seeks alternative options which will respond and address social/political/environmental challenges.

Current members of Verbena Blue Collective are: Leonor Estrada/Co-Director, Paul Kennard/Composer, Coach Anton Vasiliadis/Sound Designer, Dani San Roman & Marta Aspe/Costume, Daniel Stote/Lx Designer, Zane Gray/Stage-Words and Ruben San Roman/Concept-Set Design.

Junk Age

The main aim of our project Junk Age, will be to create a small theatre piece able to address how our current actions as a society are scrupulously linked to the climate change crisis, and, actually will have a knock-on effect in the future.

Hence, we are (re)imagining a time not too far in the future, as a dystopian group who are (re) inventing how human lives have been adapting their direction(s) on a completely collapsed and chaotic surrounding environment.

We have found ourselves drawn to creating awareness of the climate crisis through our research and the mix of music/soundscapes, theatre and storytelling in our practice.

For this reason, Junk Age will engage all sorts of audiences to provoke an immediate response, social action and critical thought.

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