Exhibition sees artists and academics explore our relationship with changing world
Artists are turning to bees and bananas for inspiration as Brighton’s ONCA Gallery hosts “Experiencing Change | Changing Experience”, a new exhibition supported by Arts Council England and Anglia Ruskin University.
The project sees several artists, from a group known as the e:collective, look at our relationship with change on a social, economic, environmental and personal level.
Devised by lead artist Valerie Furnham in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin University researcher Dr Rosie Robison, “Experiencing Change | Changing Experience” will explore whether we can influence change or whether we simply react to the changes we experience.
The exhibition runs from Wednesday, 27 July until Friday, 5 August, and the work of the artists will be displayed alongside current publications from Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute.
Aurora Sciabarra will be investigating the presence and disappearance of the bee. By making latex bees, and inviting the public to make flowers out of beeswax and then hand-pollinate the flowers, Aurora seeks to unlock what it is like to do what bees have been doing for us for centuries.
Sabine Bolk will be creating a carpet out of recycled masonry and discarded porcelain fragments excavated from gardens in the Netherlands. Sorting the piles into their different components and using these to create a decorative carpet, Sabine will question how we deal with our waste material.
Valerie Furnham will be inviting visitors to think about the truths behind statistics and what gives them presence in our daily lives. Working with data from the Global Sustainability Institute and other researchers, including temperature and sea level rises, she will ask whether we believe what we cannot see.
“Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc Smoothie Takeover” will see artist Mark Vennegoor make and sell banana smoothies, stitch banana skins on vinyl and, from his profits, buy real shares in Del Monte Produce Inc (it’s estimated he will need to sell approximately 65 billion smoothies to take over the company!) Throughout the duration of the exhibition Mark will also be investigating the history of the banana in Brighton.
In addition to these, other works by members of the e:collective will be shown. A digital booklet of the works is available online.
Dr Rosie Robison, Senior Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, said: “The Global Sustainability Institute has been actively involved with artist-led initiatives since its inception in 2011, including the annual Cambridge Sustainability Residency led by Marina Velez and the student sustainability art prize. There is so much we, as researchers, can learn from the different perspectives and working practices of artists.
“Mark Vennegoor’s project is a really engaging take on the ways in which increasingly huge corporations lie behind many of our everyday food purchases. Current Global Sustainability Institute research, led by PhD student Marina Martinez, is looking into how alternative food businesses grow and become mainstream – many of the examples we are looking at are Brighton-based.
“Growing up in Brighton, I’ve seen the fantastic melting pot of such businesses there over the years. And I can’t wait to try one of Mark’s smoothies!”
Experiencing Change | Changing Experience runs from 27 July until 5 August at the ONCA Gallery in St George’s Place, Brighton. Admission to the exhibition is free, and the artists and academics will be taking part in a panel discussion “Can scientific research or art really change anything?” on Thursday, 4 August, (6:30-8:30pm).