Found in: What we do Projects
Soil Futures, Spring Residencies Showcase
Image created by Jessica Noble.
BSL translation

Soil Futures, Spring Artist Residencies Showcase

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Please note: This event took place in July 2021

Join us for a free and in-person Artists showcase event to experience the work in progress created by Watershed’s Spring Artists in Residence – Katy Connor and Lukus Robbins.

From interspecies collaborations and the sounds of soil, to the practice of hydroponics, our artists have explored possible futures with and without soil. So come and see the new work created by Katy and Lukus and talk to them about their learning and process. We will share some short project films, the artists will introduce prototype works and have informal conversations around the ideas they've generated.

The Spring Residency programme focussed on supporting Bristol-based practitioners interested in environmental emergencies, technologies and possible futures.

Access information:BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters will be present at the 15:30 and 16:45 events.

Here’s a bit more about our Spring Residency artists and their projects:

Katy Connor – Hydro-Poetics: Hydroponics as an Experimental Poetic System

Visual artist Katy Connor will present her explorations around the practice of hydroponics: the art of growing plants in a chemical solution without the use of soil. Katy has constructed a number of living hydroponic systems, that offer a fresh way of engaging with the ecologies of food production, technological arts practices and community engagement with nature. Using a live video link to her artists’ Studio in Spike Island, Katy will take you on a guided tour of the experimental systems and artworks she has created. Discover what she learned from her experience of working with living materials and what she plans to do next.

Katy says:

"This idea grew from a residency at BrisSynBio where I was exposed to the ways in which synthetic biologists wish to re-engineer aspects of nature. This, together with my experience of lockdown at my Bristol allotment, led me to reflect upon the narratives surrounding synthetic biology, soil degradation, use of finite resources and the precarity of fresh food in urban environments. Through my Spring Residency, I have begun to creatively reimagine hydroponic systems in the current moment of the Anthropocene as highly mediated yet vital living processes - growing plants, produce, fruits and food - through a specific focus on ecological practices of care. After beginning this project in March, I have now established five different systems in my studio at Spike Island. I look forward to introducing these works and exchanging ideas."

Lukus Robbins - UnEarthed

Lukus is concerned that our capitalistic abuse of soil is having a devastating effect on our connection to land, food and health, and that access to green space is increasingly a privilege. With 54% of the human population living in urban areas, most of us have little to no functional interactions with soil, apart from the potted plants in our homes.

Lukus wants this to change. Starting from the ground up, Lukus has spent time observing soil ecosystems and looking at how they’re adapting to human impact. His experiential work questions how and what we can learn from the world beneath our feet and gives hope of a sustainable future that we can collectively cultivate. Join us for an exclusive delve into his explorations.

Lukus says:

“Watershed’s Spring Residency has given me the valuable opportunity to explore our relationship to soil ecosystems in the face of the environmental emergency. Under the project name UnEarthed, I have spent time thinking about the behaviour and communication of self-organising ecosystems and the importance of regenerative narratives. I’ve also tested methods of observing, recording and editing soil sounds and considered ways in which these experiments can inspire playful, sensory engagement with environmental issues. I will share my findings in the showcase. I will also discuss plans for what's next, including a series of imagining ‘sessions’ and the beginnings of an audio experience using soil sounds, spoken word and a tactile sound device.”

Tickets are free but you must book them in advance.

More Art & Environmental Emergencies

We are busy planning a short season of Autumn events to coincide with the run up to COP26 including a range of online talks, conversations and outdoor artworks concerned with art and environmental emergencies. We will be publishing more details about this very soon so please keep checking back or join our mailing list to keep in touch.

About Watershed Talent Development

Our annual Residency programmes support artists to experiment, make and think. We work with creative practitioners from varied disciplines, career stages and backgrounds, who have ideas for projects that blend art and technology. We will be releasing an open call for our next round of residencies soon.

Watershed's Artist Residency programme is made possible with the support and funding of Arts Council England.

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