Exhibition showcases work by ten PhD researchers including sculpture, video, photography, performance, projects looking at education and community engagement and a video game developed to help people with autism.
The Glasgow School of Art today unveiled an exhibition of work by ten PhD researchers across a range of disciplines. Co-curated by Allyson Keehan (The Glasgow School of Art) and guest curator Viviana Checchia (Centre for Contemporary Arts), the exhibition explores the diverse research practices of The Glasgow School of Art’s international PhD cohort. It brings together researchers from disciplines across the fields of Fine Art and Design and poses a number of questions about the role of arts and design practice in academic research, its unique character, and its particular challenges. The exhibition runs in the Reid Gallery from 15 October until 10 November 2016.
By bringing their work out of the studio and into the gallery, the group hopes to not only shed light on the thought-provoking and innovative research undertaken at The Glasgow School of Art, but to enliven the research through conversation with a new audience.
“For the exhibiting researchers, pinpointing whereabouts you are is about marking a particular moment in the research process, pausing to reflect and take stock of their individual journey so far and to consider the next steps,” explain co-curators Allyson Keehan and Viviana Checchia “In that spirit, rather than deferring the questions posed by the exhibition, they will tackle them head-on through a series of accompanying events organised in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Arts.”
Eszter Biró (School of Fine Art) observers how family photographs and fine art photographs are capable of resonating on a personal level. “Photographs can trigger memories, evoke emotions and stir our imagination, forming narratives that I call confabulation,” explains Eszter. “In my research I observe how these form into oral storytelling contesting truths and collective memory, filling in the space of missing stories and taboos.”
“I am missing family stories from both my maternal and paternal grandparents,” she adds “Through their photographs I am currently exploring the act of erasure, mapping the traces which are left behind, and how these form into my confabulations.”
Her work for the exhibition features photographs which she has partly erased using a rubber together with the detritus from the erasure.
Jacqueline Butler (School of Fine Art) combines photographic techniques developed in the early 19th century - the photogram - with 3D computing technology, creating fantasy landscapes in both print and video formats. Drawing on the qualities of light and shade her work is assembled through a combination of photographic darkroom printing and image manipulation using computer software.
“I am fascinated by the early polar explorations,” says Jacqueline. “My work responds to photography archives of early Arctic expeditions, producing images that map out an unfamiliar terrain, prompting the viewer’s imagination.”
Mirian Calvo (Institute of Design Innovation) explores the role and value of different ways of empowering communities in local development. Her PhD research is associated with Leapfrog, a £1.2 million three-year-funded AHRC project. The research aims to design and evaluate new approaches to community consultation. It is being undertaken by researchers at the Lancaster University and the GSA working in close collaboration with public sector and community partners.
Mirian’s installation takes the form of a series of visuals which illustrate how she has worked on her research project with communities of Mull and Iona. It is also the basis for starting a conversation with a wider public. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to respond to the visuals by answering three questions on a “Leapfrog" leaflet or to provide general feedback on and specially designed feedback form.
In This is not about…, Inês Bento Coelho (School of Fine Art) questions the nature of the work in a symbiosis between performance, sculpture, and choreography. She says, “my research looks at choreography in the visual arts, so I wanted to go back to the essence of this, and direct sculptural movement in the gallery space”. In the work performers stand still, walk, pause, and change direction: a living sculpture that moves across the space and is never the same.
The performances will be staged on Friday 14 October from 5pm – 7pm; Friday 28 October from 2pm – 4pm and Thursday 3 November from 2pm – 4pm. A video Choreographic Actions - a poetic collection of rehearsals, tests, and conversations that happened during the making process is on show in the exhibition. It offers a peek into the backstage of Inês’s work.
In an investigation into theories of the fold by Giles Deleuze and the materiality of painting, Allyson Keehan’s initial propositions are into the potential of folding structures. The process of reducing materials to specific functions has led to a reorientation of construction. In the exhibition she shows large-scale works where hinged movable sections are in direct physical conflict with applied pressure from armatures and stabilizers. These constraints establish the tension and the extent of the movement of each piece.
Fiona Jane MacLellan (Institute of Design Innovation). Fiona’s recent work is concerned with equity in the delivery of education, and points to new schooling systems that recognise geographic diversity. “This is particularly relevant for the Outer Hebrides, with some of the top levels of attainment paired with highest spend per pupil alongside its innovative implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence,” says Fiona.
Fiona will show The Centre of Learning in the exhibition. A short film in Gaelic and English it presents within the context of the current day a short story set in the near future. The vision plays out new perspectives, that communicate ideals which challenge a dominant status quo.
Hanan Makki (School of Simulation and Visualisation) combines art, science, technology and education in a 2D game with a therapeutic purpose - assisting autistic children to communicate with their surroundings and in the activities of their daily lives. In the exhibition Hanan will show the development process of making the game including design concepts, animations, and sculptures. “The design of the game is inspired by the Arabic fairy tale Sinbad from The 1001 Arabian Nights, and combines the Islamic art with the aesthetics of contemporary art,” says Hanan. “Its development mixes artistic and game-engine platforms, such as graphics and 3D software.”
Drawing on both nineteenth and twenty-first century photographic practice, School of Fine Art researcher, Catherine Weir’s work for Whereabouts you are sees her turn the camera on herself for her first self-portrait. Combining the long exposure times of early Victorian photography with the constant refresh of today’s digital screens, Weir’s portrait, taken in natural light, is animated by the recorded beat of her own heart, captured by an LED pulse sensor which she wore on her ear. Somewhere between photograph and computer program, her work probes the still-evolving forms of digital photography, whilst also raising questions about the role and visibility of the artist in the research process.
The idea for Dawn Worsley’s artwork came from the fact that she also works with the GSA exhibition teams as a technician but had been invited to be part of this show as an artist. He installation – a triptych comprising text made from laser cut ply wood, vinyl text and a visitors book – text aims to communicate the experience of an exhibition through five voices. Voice 1: the artist is expressed in the artwork; voice 2 (the silent voice) is the technician without whom the exhibition could not be installed; voices 3 and 4 the critic (the more challenging opinion) and curator (the more supportive opinion) in a dialogue which is made of the vinyl generally used for exhibition interpretation text. The final voice is the visitor whose free opinions are invited to be recorded in the visitor book that forms part of the installation.
School of Simulation and Visualisation researcher, Polina Zioga’s, interdisciplinary background in Visual Arts and Health Sciences has influenced her creative practice, which combines art, technology and science. For more than 10 years her work and interest has centred on the field of arts and the brain, leading to her PhD research on the use of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) in audio-visual and mixed-media performances. In her earlier works, Zioga started from an autobiographical point of reference, using medical images of her own brain, MRI scans and digital angiographies, in order to create imaginary landscapes, where she often inserts the image of herself. She explores themes like metamorphosis, transformation, time and decay, while gradually shifting from the personal to a social/ - which refers to a personal and political entrapment - a network/web of fibres/arteries gradually appears and grows silently, shutting her off from the outside world.
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Notes for Editors
The researchers exhibiting are:
Eszter Biró (School of Fine Art) was born in Budapest in 1985. After finishing her studies in photography at the Budapest Service and Handicraft Vocational School on Práter Street and at Novus Art School, she enrolled at the photography department of Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art in 2008. In 2009, she spent a semester at the San Francisco Art Institute as an exchange student. In 2012, she received her master's degree from the Glasgow School of Art, where she then continues her studies as a PhD candidate in 2015. She worked at the Art and Relics department of the Petőfi Literary Museum for several years. Between 2012 and 2014 she taught photography at Minerva Graduate High School. As a member of the Studio of Young Photographers, she attended many international workshops both as a participant and as a team leader; she gave two talks in the FFS Wednesday lecture series. She was one of the curators of Photo/Book exhibition, June 2015. Between 2013 and 2015, she received the Pécsi József Fine Art Photography Grant.
Jacqueline Butler (School of Fine Art) works with photography, video, artist book, and writing and has a particular fascination with archives and collections (both public and private). Currently undertaking a PhD at Glasgow School of Art, her research considers what constitutes photography in the 21st Century, combining pre- photography principles with traditional and new print technologies. Jacqueline’s arts practice explores themes associated with analogue photography, of loss and melancholia. She is a coordinator of FTN (Family Ties Network)) and is a Principal Lecturer in Photography at Manchester School of Art, MMU. Jacqueline is an Executive Board Member of Open Eye Photography Gallery, Liverpool, England.
Mirian Calvo (Institute for Design Innovation) holds a Masters in Architecture and a Masters in Urban Planning and Urban Design within the School of Architecture, University of A Coruna, in Spain. After working as an architect and urban designer in several architectural practices, she moved to Glasgow where she did a Masters in Design Innovation and Environmental Design within The Glasgow School of Art. Currently she is conducting a fully funded PhD research that aims to analyse the impact of participatory design approaches in community development, at the Institute of Design Innovation, The Glasgow School of Art. It is associated with Leapfrog, a £1.2 million three-year-funded AHRC project that comprises collaboration between Lancaster University and GSA, alongside public sector and community partners. Her past experiences let her acquired a knowledge base that complements her academic and professional formation. She has participated within a team in a user-led project that aimed to enhance and to strengthen the networks among 12 communities operating in the Gorbals area of Glasgow.
Inês Bento Coelho (School of Fine Art) is a visual artist and researcher based in Glasgow. She is currently a PhD Candidate at The Glasgow School of Art supported by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. Her doctoral project, entitled ‘Choreography as a visual arts method’, focuses on creating a new methodological framework to produce installation work through choreographic strategies. In her practice, Inês explores space awareness and perception through installation, choreography, video, and performance. She has received several awards and honors, including the Postgraduate Welcome Scholarship (GSA, 2014), and the Inov-Art Grant (Portuguese Ministry of Culture, 2009)
Her work has been exhibited internationally since 2008. Inês holds a master in Fine, Art from Central Saint Martins supported by the AHRC (2013), and a BA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts Lisbon (2007).
Allyson Keehan (School of Fine Art) graduated from Byam Shaw School of Art (University of the Arts London) in 2004 with a MA in Fine Art, after completing a BA(Hons) Fine Art Painting in 2002 from Limerick School of Art and Design. Keehan has exhibited widely including London, Berlin and extensively through Ireland, including solo shows ‘Further Complications of Hybrid Notions’ at the Claremorris Gallery 2014 and Queen Street Studios Gallery, Belfast 2012. Recent group shows include the Annual Show Royal Hibernian Academy, Lonely Plant Luan Art Gallery 2015, Periodical Review#4 Pallas Contemporary Projects 2014, Winter Open RUA Red Dublin 2014. Keehan was awarded the Merit Prize in The Golden Fleece Award 2012, and the Arts Council’s Bursary 2012. Recent residencies and fellowships include Cill Rialaig 2014, Ballinglen Arts Foundation 2013, the RHA Studios 2012 and Takt Berlin 2010.
Fiona Jane MacLellan (Institute for Design Innovation) has studies at Glasgow School of Art, Köln International School of Design and ENSCI, Les Atelier, Paris. At present she is based at Glasgow School of Art's new Creative Campus beginning a PhD on the role of design in the future of education. With experience in participatory action research, digital prototyping, service design, future fiction and innovation; her method of design is human-centered with a touch of fairy- tale.
Catherine M. Weir (School of Fine Art) is a visual artist and researcher based in Glasgow. She holds an MFA in Computational Studio Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London; and a BA (Hons) in Photographic and Electronic Media from Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University. In 2014, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) awarded her an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Studentship to undertake PhD research at the Glasgow School of Art, where she is currently in her second year.
Dawn Worsley (School of Fine Art) is an educator, curator, writer and flâneuse. She writes about self and maneuvering within landscapes: urban landscapes - with their grey strata of otherworlds; rural landscapes - where the soil and rocks are infused with millennia of human toil and travel; and interior landscapes - domestic spaces with their own micro-geographies and private histories. Dawn has contributed to BBC Radio Cymru, discussing art history in context and commentating on current cultural issues.
Polina Zioga (Digital Design Studio), based in Glasgow, UK, born in Athens, Greece, is an award- winning multimedia visual artist, researcher and educator with teaching experience at University level. She is affiliate member of national and international organisations for the visual and new media arts and PhD Candidate at the Glasgow School of Art Digital Design Studio (DDS) in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield School of Art, Design & Architecture and the University of Glasgow School of Psychology. Her interdisciplinary background in Visual Arts and Health Sciences hainfluenced her creative practice, which combines art, technology and science. Her doctoral research, awarded with the Global Excellence Initiative Fund PhD Studentship, focuses on the use of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) and application development in real-time audio-visual and mixed-media performances and is supported by MyndPlay. In 2014 she was awarded the NEON Organization Grant for Performance Production for ‘Enheduanna – A Manifesto of Falling’ Live Brain-Computer Cinema Performance (premiered in CCA Glasgow, July 2015), while in 2016 she embarked on a new artistic research project in Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), awarded and funded by the SGSAH.
Hanan Makki Zakari (Digital Design Studio) is a visual artist, was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She was exposed to art from young age through the art of pottery making and Arabic calligraphy. She completed her first degree with a distinction at the Islamic Arts Education of King Abdulaziz University in 2007. During her graduate study, she explored different art techniques and methods in drawing, printmaking, sculpture and textile. Early 2008, she moved to London to enhance her skills and knowledge in digital art by studying animation, graphics and illustration courses. She awarded scholarships from King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program in 2010 for postgraduate degrees as a result she studied a Pre-Master at University of the Arts London and an MA Design Innovation at De Montfort University and recently she is a PhD student at the Digital Design Studio of the Glasgow School of Art. She aspires to combine art, science, technology and education to achieve her goal. Which led her to do a PhD in video game for educational proposes.
Co-curator Viviana Checchia
Viviana Checchia works as Public Engagement Curator thanks to the generous support of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Prior to joining CCA, Viviana produced a range of international projects. Most recently, she curated the Young Artist of the Year Award 2014 (YAYA) at the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, which took the form of a long-term project that extended beyond the parameters of the exhibition space to include a series of online workshops and panel discussions. This collaborative spirit also informed her work as a curator on the 4th Athens Biennale, which won the 2015 European Cultural Foundation Princess Margriet Award for Culture. Her programme bridges the gap between exhibitions and communities and operates in the wider social context of the city. Under her direction public engagement projects will reach beyond CCA’s walls to initiate research groups, community garden activities, food and environmental projects, and urban re-imagination workshops, among other initiatives. Such activities not only draw upon the vibrant culture of our city, but also aim to link art and artists to local movements for social change. Such alliances can contribute immensely to the daily experience of life in Glasgow.