Future Knowledge is a thought-provoking exhibition exploring the role of visual culture in continuing to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. Building upon last year’s inaugural edition (20 May – 25 June 2017), this exhibition brings together artworks, prototypes and projects by artists, designers and thinkers from a range of different disciplines, in order to showcase fascinating and diverse creative responses to environmental concerns.
This dynamic show begins with an aerial performance of loop (commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh) by ballet dancer and choreographer Eve Mutso on the evening of the preview party. The marks she makes with her pointe shoes in graphite powder will remain in situ as a floor drawing, as part of the first section of the exhibition, which reflects on the interconnectedness of all living beings over a vast timescale.
Also on display in this first section is American artist Rachel Sussman’s epic visual timeline stretching back 750 million years; Norwegian artist Eline McGeorge’s montage and weaving works symbolising an environmental cycle of damage and repair; and British artist Tania Kovats’ vast sculptures of steel and salt which reflect the theory that Earth has one interconnected, self-regulating ocean.
Moving through the exhibition visitors will be introduced to environmental innovations, revealing new site-specific methods for understanding our domestic and local relationships to systems of production, systematic waste, and inadvertent pollution. Artist and designer Lucy Kimbell displays a fascinating prototype for domestic wallpaper that changes colour over time in response to UK air pollutants, and Andy Owen will present a new conceptual installation that takes a fresh look at innovations in farming domesticated livestock.
In the adjacent room there is a projection of Continuing Bodies, a lung shaped sculpture set in Oxford’s ancient woodland Wytham Woods. The sculpture was created using mycelium, which is being pioneered by bio-fabrication platform Ecovative as a sustainable building material that is grown rather than manufactured, and was made collectively by Modern Art Oxford’s How Nature Builds group participants. The video will be accompanied by a soundscape called Wythamscapes recorded in the woods. The piece brings together a 24-hour cycle of the sounds of the woods juxtaposed with discrete episodes of sound and music, exploring relationships between people, sound, place and nature.
The final gallery space will be used as a public studio, demonstrating ingenuity in the face of climate change as well as hosting events and activities that invite visitors to join in. Prototypes and working models on display include pioneering architectural biomimicry byMichael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture, demonstrating the design and production of materials, structures and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes.
Future Knowledge is part of the nationwide project Season for Change, which invites artists and arts organisations from across the country to explore climate change through creative presentation.
Download the Future Knowledge programme guide here.
Artist, designer, researcher and educator, Lucy Kimbell is the current director of the innovation insights hub at University of the Arts London and associate fellow at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Kimbell’s research-based art practice aims to critically explore the ways in which design can influence policy-making and social innovation. An artist as well as a designer, Kimbell has exhibited internationally, including in the interdisciplinary exhibition Making Things Public (2005) curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel and at TEDGlobal (2011).
London-born Tania Kovats is renowned for her large-scale installations, sculptures and temporal works – often displayed within the public realm - which explore our understanding and experience of the landscape. She is well known for her permanent installation Tree at the Natural History Museum, commissioned to mark the 2009 bicentenary of Charles Darwin. Kovats has held numerous major solo exhibitions, including at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2015); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2014) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2008). Her work is held in numerous collections including the Arts Council, The V&A and The British Council.
Norwegian artist Eline McGeorge’s research and art practice is motivated by enquiries into environmental issues, democratic problems, feminist legacies and science fiction. These themes are brought together through drawing, collage, animation, weaving and artist books. Since completing her Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2000, she has had various international solo exhibitions including at Oslo Kunstforening, Hollybush Gardens, London; Gallery Kirkhoff, Copenhagen and Fotogalleriet, Oslo. McGeorge has carried out residencies at Camden Arts Centre, London and Delfina Studios, Prague.
Celebrated Estonian dancer and choreographer, Eve Mutso is the former principal dancer of Scottish Ballet. Since becoming freelance, Mutso has developed her successful career as a classical and contemporary dancer and as a professional choreographer. She is renowned for taking on the technically challenging role of ‘Blanche’ in the Scottish Ballet’s acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire, which won an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production and a South Bank Award for Dance, receiving critical acclaim worldwide. Mutso has regularly danced and choreographed as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has also performed in various short dance films including Death as a New Beginning (2013) and A Dancer’s Journey (2016). She has been nominated for the Critics Circle National Dance Awards on three occasions.
Born into a rural Shropshire farming community, Andy Owen’s practice explores issues surrounding sustainability and the contemporary countryside. Often constructed from recycled or found materials, Owen’s works seek to engage us with questions about our own actions and the impact we have on our environment both locally and in the wider world. Solo exhibitions include The Long Way Home (2016) at South Street Gallery, Oxford; Fish Island Tree, a commission for Hackney Wicked Festival (2014), and Metorama at Degree Art, Vyner Street, London (2010). In 2006, Owen was a winning finalist in the nationwide Mercury Art Prize.
Rachel Sussman is a Guggenheim, NYFA, and MacDowell Colony Fellow, and two-time TED speaker. Her exhibition record spans more than a decade in museums and galleries in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Combining art, science, and philosophy, Sussman’s critically acclaimed, decade-long project “The Oldest Living Things in the World “resulted in a successful touring exhibition and New York Times bestselling book. In 2014 she began developing new installation work, deepening her explorations of personal and cosmic time, the universe, nature, philosophy, and beauty. With the support of the LACMA Lab, and working with SpaceX, NASA, and CERN, her subsequent work has been shown at MASS MoCA, the New Museum Los Gatos, the Des Moines Art Center, and the forthcoming Taipei Biennial. She is also an artist in residence with the SETI Institute. Sussman is additionally a student of shamanic healing modalities.
Michael Pawlyn is an architect and innovator who has been described as a pioneer of biomimicry. He established his firm Exploration Architecture in 2007 to focus on designing high performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy. Prior to setting up Exploration, Michael Pawlyn worked with Grimshaw for ten years and was central to the team that designed the Eden Project. Regularly booked as a keynote speaker on innovation, his TED talk has had over 1.8 million viewings and his book Biomimicry in Architecture has been RIBA Publications’ best-selling title. Michael Pawlyn jointly initiated the widely acclaimed Sahara Forest Project; the latest version of which was opened by the King of Jordan in 2017.