Archive for the ‘Online Works’ Category

Pamela Breda

Orders Of Signification 2021

“The Quintessence” is an artistic research project exploring the visual imaginary of outer space, and the con­struction of contemporary astrophysical knowledge from sky observation, in order to discover how images of space tell a story. Developed over three years, the research has led to the development of artworks in multimedia forms, including experimental films, photographs, site-specific installations, audio recordings and an artist’s book. The project has been supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council Program, and promoted by Kingston University (UK), Fondazione Modena Arti Visive (IT), La Box/ENSA (F), Boghossian Foundation (BE). A related catalogue has been recently published by a+m bookstore (IT).


Moving forward from the traditional representation of the scientific world as a fixed domain of knowledge, the project presents the domain of astrophysics as an evolving system, which evades the fixity of truth-encompassing statements. Through crossovers and original methodologies of enquiry, visual representations of the universe are approached as complex narratives constructed through the combined agency of technological apparatus and human intervention.

Archival research on visual representations of outer space provides a contextual frame of reference, complemented by a series of theoretical discussions pinpointing the re­search. Audio-visual documentation generates a sensorial representation of highly se­cluded scientific laboratories usually not accessible to the general public, thus providing a first-hand impression that would not otherwise be accessible. A series of audio inter­views conducted with scientists provides an intimate portrait of astrophysicists’ unique background knowledge, ideas and creative intuitions.

The research tests how and to what effect artistic practice can generate new and origi­nal insights on the modalities through which astrophysics represents and narrates itself. The related artworks act as a series of experiments looking at subjects (outer space visual representations, research labs), agents (scientists, technological apparatus) and contexts (theoretical frameworks of reference) and demonstrate the tension between the visible and the invisible shaping the present development of cognitive-visual knowledge about outer space.


My research began at night, the first time I saw the milky rift of stars scattering through the sky. Since that moment, every time I look at the dark vault extending above the Earth, it is like the first time. All my observations blend into timeless pictures of that edge on view of our galaxy. My mind floods with a sea of images and I start wondering about the universe.

Ever since I was a child, I was astonished to think that every phenomenon existing in outer space reaches us through light travelling from incommensurable distances. While I was looking at the night sky, millions of light-years away things were happening. Plan­ets were rotating around their stars and galaxies formed in the darkest regions of empty space.

What is the universe? Is it the expanse between things? Is it emptiness, a vacant stage for our dramas? Is it a material substance? A vessel for our experiences? What is real and what is invented in what we know about the universe? Isn’t it real enough even if it exists only in the configuration of our thoughts?

Thousands of years ago ancient astronomers viewed the sun and the heavenly bodies as celestial gods. They carved tablets into visual tales of the living sun and its compan­ions, stars and planets. Now we view the universe through the scientific gaze and we have different explanations for what we see in the sky. But aren’t these narratives as well?

They say the universe is infinite, it hosts an infinite number of events, an infinite number of planets, maybe an infinite number of sentient beings on those planets. Surely there must be a planet so very nearly like the Earth as to be indistinguishable from it. I admire this infinity. It makes me want to pierce its surface and fall through to its core.

The universe is space. A three-dimensional space we live in and the time we watch pass on our clocks. It is our north and south, our east and west, our up and down, our past and our future. Space is a physical dimension waved through gravitational attraction. The stars, the sun and the weight of our own body all are brought into unison because they all have a gravitational attraction in common. Mass, like an electric charge, creates a field around it in the form of a curved space. Therefore space is a structure, warped in response to the presence of matter and energy, like paper curling in a flame.

Apples fall on the Earth by breaking loose from the pull of the tree, following the path of least resistance along with an invisibly curved space, until the surface of the planet interrupts their fall and forces them to stay still. Planets orbit the sun by following an elliptical path defined by their natural curve. Anybody and any mass takes the path of least resistance along a curved space. We all fall freely without a pull, along this natural, invisible, curve.

This is the space and time we are bound to. We cannot jump off it, or live outside of it. This is our universe, the vast extent of our curved space-time. People always ask: what’s outside the universe? The answer is nothing. There is no meaning to the question of where or when if there is no space or time. The Big Bang is the creation of time itself. There is no sense to the question: how long was it before the Big Bang happened? Time began with the Big Bang. There is no sense to the question: where did the Big Bang happen? It happened everywhere. The Earth is at the centre in a sense, every galaxy is at the cen­tre. The centre is everywhere and is becoming more diffuse as the universe continues to expand and cool.

The universe is inhabited by giant clusters of galaxies, each galaxy a conglomerate of a billion or a trillion stars. The milky way, our galaxy, has an unfathomably dense core of millions of stars. We stand on a small planet inside a huge cosmos. But we’re alive and we’re sentient. Many centuries ago we began to observe the sky and wonder about its secrets. We built instruments to look into the depth of the unknown, we sent telescopes orbiting around the Earth and we captured the signal of the cosmic background radia­tion, bearing information about a time before organic life.

Due to technical constraints, we cannot see infinitely far out into space. We can only see as far as light has travelled since the beginning of the universe. While we try to determine the nature of our ultimate end, we slowly decipher our common beginnings. Gravity, matter and energy are all different expressions of the same thing. We’re all intrinsically made of the same substance. The fabric of the universe is just a coherent weave from the same threads that make our bodies. Our bodies are mostly water. Water is mostly empty space. So, by extension, we are space, we are the universe.

This text is an extract from a performative talk presented for the first time at Harvard University, Faculty of Astrophysics, in autumn 2019. The text takes inspirations and some quoted passages from Janna Levin’s How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 2002


The Quintessence – Film

The film explores the production of scientific knowledge through the director’s visit to secluded research centres in Europe and the USA. The title refers to the classic physical description of the universe, which included the presence of a fifth essence or fifth element (in addition to water, air, fire and earth), mysterious but omnipresent, which holds all the others together. Through a three-year journey, the director visited a number of laboratories studying the fundamental laws of the universe, from the microcosm of quantum physics to the macrocosm of the multiverse.

In these research centres, knowledge is developed at scales and distances beyond human perception. But what does it actually means to study the universe? Through a series of intimate dialogue with scientists and a detailed visual analysis of experiments and events taking place inside the lab, the director draws an original picture of scientific research, considering how individual background, cultural frameworks and technological constraints play a key role in the elaboration of scientific theories about the universe and its visual representations.

Heavenly Bodies – Collages

70 x 100 cm each

A series of collages produced with images collected from online and physical libraries, archives, star atlases and scientific publications. The images represent space objects such as stars and galaxies, planets and constellations, superno­vae explosions and black holes – along with telescopes and optical instruments used to observe and study the universe.

Clashing visual combinations bring together old and new practices of sky obser­vation. Shots of scientists and engineers calibrating instruments and conducting high precision experiments are combined with images of ancient rites evoking the cosmic drama of gods and goddesses dominating the Heavens and deciding the fate of humans on Earth. This combination stresses how throughout the centuries humanity has looked at the sky in different ways, generating unique stories and explanations for the phenomena observed in outer space.

Into The Night – Photographic Series

4 lightboxes

70 x 120 cm each

A series of collages produced with images collected from online and physical libraries, archives, star atlases and scientific publications. The images represent space objects such as stars and galaxies, planets and constellations, superno­vae explosions and black holes – along with telescopes and optical instruments used to observe and study the universe.

This artistic process highlights how the knowledge we possess about the univer­se is multilayered, constructed on the observations and theories proposed throu­ghout the centuries by different human cultures. Very much as an archaeological excavation, these artworks bring to light multiple representations of outer space as historical strata sedimented through time.

Mounted on lightboxes, these large-dimension prints act as a charged surface, enabling universal light travelling through space to be re-activated by man-made light. Photons originated from nuclear reactions are captured on photographic glass plates and brought to life by the lightboxes’ tungsten bulbs. whose chemical components are also originated in the dense and hot core of stars. In a neveren­ding circle, starlight generates new light, which spreads images of outer space back to the universe where they came from.

To The Wonder – Photographic Series

10 photographic lambda prints

White wooden frame

50 x 70 cm each

The photographs are reproductions of archival images from Apollo official photo­graphic records. Most notorious among other space exploration programs, Published by NASA on the image-sharing platform Flickr/The Commons, pictures of amazing moon landscapes, details of the space rocket interior and breathtaking vistas of Earth seen from space are combined with photographs presenting er­rors or glitches such as hues, haloes and dots.

From a conceptual point of view, rather than being successful records of the Apollo mission, they stand as me­taphors of how errors can become triggers for new approaches to scientific re­search. Their visual quality resembles that of avant-garde artworks from the early 20th century and contemporary glitch art experiments. These images generate a critical di­scourse on how scientific knowledge is constructed through trials and errors. Fai­lures and mistakes in scientific experiments can lead the way to serendipitous discoveries, as the technical malfunction of the photographic apparatus leads to the development of these aesthetically charged images.

To The Wonder – Video

Found footage

7’42”, 16:9, silent, loop

A silent experimental film presenting archival footage of multiple American and Soviet failed unmanned rocket launches. The archival footage used for this pie­ce has not been widely circulated in the mainstream media and was discovered through detailed online research, after multiple and unsuccessful attempts to contact NASA space agency enquiring about its film archive.

There is no clear information about the loca­tion or date of the documented explosions, however, from the certain aesthetic quality, we can infer the footage was recorded between the 1950s and 1990s. No voice­over or off-screen commentary describes the images or tells a story, leaving the viewers to find their own interpretation for what they are looking at.

The footage’s elusive nature generates a reflection on how trials and mistakes are pivotal for the development of scientific research shaped through the monu­mental human effort to bring mankind a little closer to the stars.

The Horizon Behind Us – Video

2020, video FullHD

16’40”, 16:9, stereo, loop

The short film is structured as a fictional meditation on a possible future when artificial intelligence software will have full control of sky observation, data collection and analysis. As a consequence, man-led laboratories will be abandoned. Questioning the possi­ble future development of space exploration, the film analyses the ultimate phi­losophical and ethical implications of human exploration of the cosmos.

While the slow-panning camera wanders around silent rooms hosting telescopes, mechanical tools and optical instruments, an anonymous voice describes how the millennial tradition of sky observation has evolved through the centuries and why it was always important for mankind to wonder about the mysteries of the universe.

The visual focus on observational tools and mechanical instruments suggests how contemporary astrophysicists act as ancient alchemists, capturing the li­ght coming from distant stars and transforming it into a different matter, in order to give it new form and meaning. The camera movements are extremely slow, evoking the long, durational processes involved in sky observation and the huge temporal scales at which universal phenomena unfold.

Pamela Breda is an artist and filmmaker living between London and Venice. She holds a MA in Art History from Ca’ Foscari (Venice, IT), and a MA in Visual Arts from IUAV University (IT). She recently completed a PhD in Visual Arts from Kingston University (UK), where she developed the artistic research presented in this online exhibition.

She was the recipient of several art awards and fellowships, including Cantica21 (MibaC, IT), IMeRa Fellowship (F), Italian Council Award (MibaC, IT), Kingston University Phd Scholarship (Kingston, UK), Moving’Up funding scheme (Turin, IT), Italian Institute of Culture (Moscow, RU). In 2019 she was appointed Fellow Artist in Residence at Pratt Institute (New York, USA).

Her films have been screened internationally and presented at festivals and art venues such as Sheffield DocFest (Sheffield, UK), “ECRA Film Festival” (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), “Revolutions Per Minute Festival” (Boston, USA), “Digital Film Library”, Clermont- Ferrand Film Festival (Clermont-Ferrand, F), Cite Internatinale Des Arts, (Paris, F), “Vision Du Reel” Film Festival, Media Library (Nyon, CH), “Hazel Eye Film Festival” (Tennesse, USA), “The Bomb Art Factory Film Festival” (London, UK), Sohonya Art Center (Bangalore, I), Francesco Fabbri Foundation for Contemporary Art (Pieve di Soligo, IT), Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation (Venice, IT).

She has received many scholarships and fellowships from institutions such as Kingston School of Art (UK), the Italian Cultural Institute of Moscow (RU), Cantica21 (IT), Simultan Prize (RO), Premio Fotografia IED (IT), Coffee Flash Art award – Querini Stampalia Foundation (IT) lo Stonefly Art Prize (IT). She recently presented her work internationally, in particular in the UK, Austria, Estonia, France, Colombia and Switzerland.

In 2019 she received the prestigious Italian Council award granted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. The project “The Quintessence” was awarded the prestigious Project Anywhere prize and will be featured in a series of international exhibitions and screenings.

Ben Judd

Book a timed slot to visit the exhibition.

Ben Judd’s Stanley Picker Fellowship project The Origin reflects on Britain’s island status, both literal and metaphorical, and how islands shape the communities that live there. The Stanley Picker Gallery sits on an island in the Hogsmill River and Kingston Upon Thames historically existed as an island surrounded by marshland. The nearby River Thames is home to many islands and also boats – floating communities.

The Origin brings together the communities surrounding the Stanley Picker Gallery – from Kingston University students and academics to local networks, charities and residents – and asks them to imagine a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership. A temporary community, an experiment in living, a fictional island group. How would this community interact? What would they move, sound and dress like? How would they communicate with the outside world?

Imagining this temporary community felt particularly poignant in the divisive political landscape that the project was first developed in. However, The Origin took on greater significance in 2020 when most people were thrust into social isolation and interactions migrated online. Hope, love, solidarity, care and support are all values central to this temporary community’s identity – but have also manifested in the community spirit of our own islands over the last year.  

Through a series of workshops and conversations, participants have been collaborating with Judd to define different aspects of this imagined, temporary community. A first iteration of the project #TheOriginKingston took place online during the first national lockdown – browse their online dialogue here or search for the hashtag #TheOriginKingston on social media. This collaborative project culminates this summer with an installation at the Gallery, a boat on the River Thames and a series of performances, workshops and events – a rehearsal for an alternative future.

A large free-standing structure in Stanley Picker Gallery, built by 121 Collective and Architecture at Kingston School of Art (KSA), will act as a focal point for the community, both imagined and real. The structure will contain objects and images related to the project that are used to substantiate the community’s existence and sketch out its history and aspirations.

A boat will travel along the River Thames in Kingston facilitating meetings, workshops and performances throughout June and July 2021. Informed by discussions with Canbury and Riverside Association, an architectural intervention designed by Interior Design (KSA) and 121 Collective will be fixed to the boat adapting to the needs and aspirations of local people.

Further collaborations include: new instrumental and choral music produced by Refugee Action Kingston and Music (KSA); a choreographic sequence developed by The Grange and Dance (KSA), incorporating elements of the sign language known as Makaton; texts and poetic responses by The Bradbury and Writers’ Centre Kingston that consider the elemental force, locality, and history of the Thames; and adaptable, transformable clothing designed by The Gate and KSA Fashion as costumes for the inhabitants of the boat.

The Origin Events Programme

As part of The Origin, a series of workshops, performances, talks and tours took place at Stanley Picker Gallery, a boat moored in Kingston Upon Thames and online throughout June and July 2021. Watch a selection of highlights from these events:

Gallery: 10 June Collaboration between KSA Fashion & The Gate

Gallery: 11 June 11am-1pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Online: 11 June 3.30pm Performance by Writers’ Kingston

Gallery: 11 June 4pm Walking Tour by Writers’ Kingston

Gallery: 12 June 2-3.30pm The Origin Performance

Boat: 17 June 3pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Boat: 18 June 11am Talk & Workshop by Aoife Donnelly

Boat: 18 June Collaboration between KSA Dance & The Grange

Gallery: 18 June 2pm Talk by 121 Collective

Gallery: 18 June 3pm Talk by Robin Hutchinson, The Community Brain

Boat: 19 June 11am Talk by Elliot Newton

Online: 19 June 12pm Talk by Dani Admiss

Boat: 19 June 1pm Murky Waters Tour

Boat: 19 June 2-5pm KSA Museum & Gallery Studies: Murky Waters Exhibition

Online: 24 June 2pm Talk by Anna Wendy Stevenson

Online: 24 June 2.30pm Chloe Steele: Bann nam Baghasdal Film Screening & Gaelic Singing Workshop

Online: 24 June 3.30pm UHI Land of Our Kin Film Screening

Boat: 25 June 3pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Boat: 26 June 11am-5pm Eel Pie Island & Museum Tour

Gallery: 26 June 2.30-5pm British Sign Language Tour

Boat: 1 July 11.30am-1pm Art Class

Boat: 1 July 1-3pm Lockdown Creativity on Display (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 3-4pm Live Music from The Kingston Academy (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 4-5pm Riverside Design Competition & Winners Announced (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 5-7pm Live Music (no booking required)

Online: 2 July 2pm Talk by Author, Caitlin Davies

Gallery & Boat: 2 July Collaboration between Maria Celina Val & United Response

Boat: 2 July 4pm Sustainable Design Talk

Boat: 3 July 2pm Time Shivers Performance by KSA Drama (no booking required)

Follow @theoriginkingston on social media for the latest updates!

This project is managed with the support of students from Project Management for Creative Industries (KSA) with graphic design by Louis Polin and Jasmine Kelly.

The project is supported by Leeds Beckett University and Nottingham Trent University. The boat is supported with Art Fund’s Small Project Grants and Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.

Ben Judd

Ben Judd is an artist based in London appointed Stanley Picker Fellow in Art & Design in 2019. His work examines collectivity and participation through performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities. Judd has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, recently including ICA, Art Night London, Whitstable Biennale and Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.

The Decorators

For their Stanley Picker Fellowship project Portal Tables, The Decorators reflect on the paradoxical way in which the pandemic has both vilified microbes and prompted a renewed interest in homemade practices of nurturing microbial life. 

Taking the idea of commensality – eating together – and extending it beyond the human, Portal Tables considers how microbial bodies participate in such encounters. Humorous and affective, Portal Tables is a furniture series, a film and an exhibition that explore domestic interspecies intimacy in food-making. The project comments on the contemporary obsession with microbial life, probiotics and wellbeing, and speculates on the possible relations and social encounters (political, tender, economic, friendly) across bodies and species. Portal Tables furniture pieces are flatpack and easy to wash. They can be used anywhere in the house – living room, bedroom or kitchen – or outside. 

Food fermentation gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic years of social isolation, with people sharing home-made recipes through social media. The hormonal joy produced by bacterial communities in the human gut serves perhaps as a substitute for the social joy of IRL human communities? In parallel, a growing area of research has been exploring the bacterial transformation of xenobiotic materials as a means for plastic recycling, opening up ethical questions regarding the use of bacterial life as a solution for human pollution.  Created amidst a pandemic and a climate crisis, the polyurethane inflatable furniture pieces reflect on relations of commensality between human and bacterial communities, and their environmental and emotional consequences. 

In Spring 2021, The Decorators launched their project with Part 1 of the video-essay Portal Tables: Connecting Multiscalar Communities (above). From 18-26 September 2021 a preview of the project is displayed at London Design Festival at V&A with the furniture piece Sofa-Bread, before the project is premiered in full at the Stanley Picker Gallery from October 2021 together with Part 2 of the video essay.

The Decorators Sofa Bread, Portal Tables (2021) activated with the performance Resting (2021) by Laura Wilson, performed by Elina Akhmetova and Piedad Seiquer with costumes by Lucie Kordacova. Photography by Sergio Márquez & The Decorators. Commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kington University. Filmed on location at The Picker House, Kingston upon Thames.

Sofa-Bread is designed to provide moments of conviviality across humans and bacteria during the fermentation process involved in making bread. The form invites a diversity of postures for two people– feet up or down, upright or laying – breaking down the conventional seating prescription of a regular sofa and providing opportunities for affect to develop between bodies (human or not). The two ceramic bowls are for bread dough be aired while users rest on the sofa. On the inflatable two words are embossed – “non-human” and “affect”. Sofa-Bread was activated with the performance Resting (2021) by Laura Wilson, performed by Elina Akhmetova and Piedad Seiquer with costumes by Lucie Kordacova.

The film is directed in collaboration with Sergio Márquez, with graphics and motion design by Stephen McLaughlin, original soundtrack by Maxwell Sterling, and featuring activations by Justina Jang, Laura Wilson and Inês Neto dos Santos. Filmed on location at The Picker House, Kingston upon Thames. 

The Decorators is an interdisciplinary design collective founded by Suzanne O’Connell, Carolina Caicedo, Xavi Llarch Font and Mariana Pestana in 2011. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, spatial design, curation and psychology, they work on spatial design projects that aim to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension. The Decorators’ collaborative cultural programmes aim to expand notions of place, community and commensality.

Online Salon III: Oreet Ashery, Nadia Hebson & Judy Rabinowitz Price

Thursday 18 March 2021

Join us to hear Oreet Ashery, Nadia Hebson and Judy Rabinowitz Price in conversation with each other, for the third in our series of Online Salons to facilitate exchange and dialogue between the creative community around the Gallery. Each of the three artists has created significant bodies of work over recent years that have (re)considered the lives and work of other women artists.

Oreet Ashery is a former Stanley Picker Fellow whose award-winning web series Revisiting Genesis premiered at her Fellowship exhibition in 2016. Nadia Hebson is an artist based in Stockholm, who over the past year has been the Dorich House Museum Studio Resident remotely, and recently published her contribution to Dora: Dialogue’s on Women’s Creative Practice and ThinkingJudy Rabinowitz Price‘s recent exhibition at the Gallery The End of the Sentence presented her research on Holloway Women’s Prison.

The first two Online Salons featuring Larry Achiampong, Maeve Brennan & Erika Tan and Dani Admiss, Ben Judd & The Decorators are now available to watch in full online.

Online Salon II: Dani Admiss, The Decorators & Ben Judd

Thursday 17 December 2020

The Stanley Picker Gallery is delighted to host the second of its new series of Online Salons to facilitate exchange and dialogue between the creative community around the Gallery.

With COVID-19 changing how we operate as a cultural venue, our digital platforms have become ever more vital as ways of engaging with each other and with our audiences. We hope these gatherings will enhance our role as an “expanded studio”, where creative work is shared during its production, by inviting practitioners to gather online to share their working practice in an informal manner.

The second Online Salon features three of our current of Stanley Picker Fellows Dani AdmissThe Decorators and Ben Judd. They will be in conversation with each other about their Fellowship projects which are all collaborative in nature, draw on the Gallery’s locality in Kingston Upon Thames, and engage with our local community in different ways. Each project is at a different stage of development, so this will also be an opportunity for them to reflect and discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on their practices.

Dani Admiss is a curator and researcher working across the fields of design, art, technology and science. Her approach is framed by world-making practices and community-based research prioritising these as lenses to explore alternative forms of curatorial practice. Admiss has curated projects across the UK, Europe and internationally including at the Barbican Centre, Somerset House, MAAT, Lisbon and Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

The Decorators is an interdisciplinary design collective founded by Suzanne O’Connell, Carolina Caicedo, Xavi Llarch Font and Mariana Pestana in 2011. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, spatial design, curation and psychology, they work on spatial design projects that aim to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension.

Ben Judd is an artist based in London. His work examines collectivity and participation through performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities. Judd has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, recently including ICA, Art Night London, Whitstable Biennale and Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.

Online Salon I: Larry Achiampong, Maeve Brennan & Erika Tan

Thursday 26 November 2020

The Stanley Picker Gallery is launching a new series of Online Salons to facilitate exchange and dialogue between the creative community around the Gallery.

With COVID-19 changing how we operate as a cultural venue, our digital platforms have become ever more vital as ways of engaging with each other and with our audiences. We hope these gatherings will enhance our role as an “expanded studio”, where creative work is shared during its production, by inviting practitioners to gather online to share their working practice in an informal manner.

The first Online Salon features three of our current of Stanley Picker Fellows, Larry Achiampong, Maeve Brennan and Erika Tan, who will be in conversation with each other about their Fellowship projects and how COVID-19 has impacted their studio practices.

Larry Achiampong is an artist whose solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. Achiampong is a 2018 Jarman Award-nominated artist and a 2019 Paul Hamlyn Award recipient (for Visual Arts) and has worked with major institutions on commissions, residencies and exhibitions with spaces including Tate Galleries, the Venice and Singapore Biennales, Somerset House and Transport for London.

Maeve Brennan is an artist based in London. Her practice explores the political and historical resonance of material and place. Working primarily with moving image and installation, she develops long-term investigations led by personal encounters. Brennan has recently had solo exhibitions at Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Finland (2019); Jerwood Space, London; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin (both 2018); The Whitworth, Manchester; Spike Island, Bristol and Chisenhale Gallery, London (all 2017). She was the recipient of the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018.

Erika Tan is an artist and curator whose work is primarily research-led and manifests itself in multiple formats such as moving image, publications, curatorial and participatory projects. Tan’s work has been exhibited, collected and commissioned internationally including: The Diaspora Pavilion, (Venice Biennale 2017); Artist and Empire (Tate Touring, National Gallery Singapore 2016/7); Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You (NUS Museum, Singapore 2014); There Is No Road (LABoral, Spain 2010); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); Around The World in Eighty Days (South London Gallery / ICA 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London). Recent curatorial projects include Sonic Soundings/Venice Trajectories.

Artist Talk: Judy Price in conversation with Mo Mansfield and Mandy Ogunmokun

Wednesday 21 October 2020

To coincide with The End of the Sentence at Stanley Picker Gallery, artist Judy Price hosted an online conversation with Mo Mansfield and Mandy Ogunmokun about the issues affecting women in prison and the impact of the pandemic on this sector.

Since the closure of Holloway Women’s Prison in 2016, Price, Mansfield and Ogunmokun have been involved in the coalition group Reclaim Holloway, which has been actively campaigning for a Women’s Building to be included in the redevelopment of the former prison site. Reclaim Holloway have been working closely with Islington Council, the Community Plan For Holloway (CPFH) and grassroots organisations on the Women’s Building – a service hub helping vulnerable women stay out of the criminal justice system, a transformational space for the local community, and a positive legacy for the thousands of women held in Holloway prison over its 164-year history.

Mo Mansfield is a community organiser, advocate and feminist campaigner for prison abolition.  She has over 15 years experience working in the voluntary sector in both front-line and management positions at organisations such as Women at WISHWomen In Prison and the Women’s Resource Centre and currently works on Family Participation at INQUEST. Much of her work has focussed on providing independent support to criminalised women from a social justice perspective.  She is member of the Reclaim Justice Network; Reclaim Holloway; and is co-founder of the Holloway Prison Stories website. Mo was also part of the organising committee for Abolitionist Futures: the International Conference on Penal Abolition held in London in June 2018. Mo recently completed a MSc focussed on improving services for people with personality disorders. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative at the Open University.

Mandy Ogunmokun joined the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust in September 2005 as a CARAT worker in HMP Holloway offering support in all areas of social issues as well as substance abuse. She became a senior worker within three years organising her own team of staff. Mandy has used her own journey of drug addiction and prison to inspire and motivate others and became an ambassador for both the Rapt Carat Team and the Phoenix Futures Interventions. In 2012, Mandy was awarded the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch to the Guildhall Hall and in 2013, she earned a Commendation from the Butler Trust for her dedication and skill in addressing the needs of women prisoners with substance misuse problems, going “above and beyond her role” to provide guidance and help for the women at HMP Holloway. In 2011, she established the Treasures Foundation to aid women with substance misuse issues and housing needs. Three years later, her tenacity and vision created three connecting houses in East London that are staffed day and night to provide continuous individual support for up to nine women. Mandy continues to connect with women’s prisons and help women find the treasures in themselves.

Judy Price is a London based artist who works across photography, moving image, sound and installation. A focus of her work is how art can create new perceptions of the experiences of individuals and social groups and arts’ effectiveness and relevance to collective struggles. Her practice involves extensive field research where she often draws on images and sounds from archival sources as well as from a sustained study of a place to explores sites and locations that are interweaved and striated by multiple histories, economies and forces. Palestine was an enduring focus of her work from 2004-2017.  She is course leader on the Photography (MA) at Kingston School of Art and is a senior lecturer in Moving Image (BA) at the University of Brighton. Solo exhibitions include Mosaic Rooms, London; Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London; Wingsford Arts, Suffolk; Stiftelsen 3,14 and USF Centre, Bergen, Norway. Group exhibitions and screenings include Delfina Foundation, Imperial War Museum, Barbican, Curzon Cinema Soho, Curzon Cinema Goldsmiths, ICA, Whitechapel Gallery. Price is an active member of Reclaim Holloway.

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Judy Price

As part of The End of the Sentence at Stanley Picker Gallery, artist Judy Price presents an online viewing of The Good Enough Mother (2020).

Originally conceived as a moving-image installation, the piece was commissioned in collaboration with Dorich House Museum and features a bronze sculpture of a baby by Dora Gordine (1895-1991) acquired for the first Mother and Baby Unit at HMP Holloway in 1948. The soundtrack to the film explores the incarcerated pregnancy, drawing on interviews by midwife Dr Laura Abbott, as well as the field work and research of forensic psychotherapist Pamela Windham Stewart. The script, developed with artist & writer Andrew Conio, is re-voiced by actors from Clean Break, a women’s theatre company that uses theatre to keep the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar and whose members have lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Anonymous, HMP Holloway (date unknown). Postcard courtesy Pamela Windham Stewart.

The material and spatial elements of the installation reflected those of Holloway Women’s Prison: the door height, the bench dimensions, and the carpet tiles appropriated from the prison itself. A single photograph of a small yellow fire hose plug is installed at navel height at the entrance of the installation at the Gallery and offers a close examination of some of the less obvious traces of prison control – in the event of a fire in a cell at HMP Holloway, the small yellow plug was removed from the door and a hose inserted blasting water into the cell, before allowing the inmate to evacuate.

Judy Price, Fire Plug (2020). Colour photograph.

For the duration of the exhibition at Stanley Picker Gallery, the original bronze sculpture by Gordine, on loan from the National Justice Museum, will be on display at Dorich House Museum in Kingston, Gordine’s former studio home. Installed in the upstairs gallery of the Museum, its reflection is visible in a convex mirror sourced by Price and Conio to resemble those used with the prison environment. The intervention, titled Reverie, cites psychoanalyst Wilfred R. Bion’s notion of reverie, in which the mother holds and ‘digests’ the baby’s trauma, love, hatred, and reflects back containment. The mirror, a captivating cold glass eye, does not hold, it gives back nothing. Instead, it surveys Smiling Baby and the space as a whole.

Judy Price Reverie (2020) Installation view at Dorich House Museum, Kingston University

Judy Price Reverie (2020) Installation view at Dorich House Museum, Kingston University

Judy Price Reverie (2020) Installation view at Dorich House Museum, Kingston University

One narrative that has emerged about the Gordine sculpture is that it was originally commissioned by a visitor to Holloway Prison, Rosalie Holmes. A surgeon’s wife and art enthusiast, Holmes campaigned for better conditions at the Prison during the 1930’s and 40’s. Paying for the sculpture out of her own pocket, she described the prison as a place “hungry for beauty”. The sculpture installed in the Prison’s Maternity Unit in 1948 was a second cast. The model for the sculpture appears to have been Jasmina Hamzavi (born 1946), the daughter of Abdul ‘Abdy’ Hossein Hamzavi, the Press Attaché for the Iranian Embassy in London. According to Jasmina in an interview with Dr Jonathan Black at Kingston University in 2011, her father asked Gordine to make a bronze figure of his 9-month-old daughter. The Unit was redeveloped in the 1970s and eventually closed in 2013 “due to under-occupancy”. From accounts by staff who worked at the Prison, the sculpture was not on display in the later Mother and Baby Unit but lay forgotten in an administration block until the Prison’s closure in 2016. The sculpture now forms part of the collection at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham.

Film Credits
Judy Price, The Good Enough Mother (2020). Script: Judy Price & Andrew Conio. Filming: Nelson Douglas & Judy Price. Video editing & colour grading: Nelson Douglas. Sound editing: Judy Price & Andrew Conio. Sound sweetening & design: Ben Hurd. Voice actors & scripting: Clean Break (Terri-Ann Oudjar, Edith Emenike & Jennifer Joseph). Duration 26 mins

Laura Abbott, The Incarcerated Pregnancy: An Ethnographic Study of Perinatal Women in English Prisons, unpublished thesis (2018) and Pamela Windham Stewart in various unpublished writing and recorded conversations between Stewart and Price.

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Ben Judd

The Origin considers the importance of community within a large city and facilitates meaningful exchanges between strangers, aiming to reconnect people both to each other and to their environment. Britain’s island status, both literal and metaphorical, has always been at the heart of its identity; The Origin will mirror those concerns by creating a miniature floating community that will act as a microcosm for the ways in which we co-habit, communicate and solve problems. A temporary community, an experiment in living, is exciting and relevant because it embraces the propositional; the ‘what if’ – it can be seen as a rehearsal for an alternative future. The idea of a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership feels particularly poignant within the current climate. The Origin aims to reconsider ideas of hope, love, solidarity, care and support – values that will shape this community’s identity. 

#TheOriginKingston

In Summer 2020, Stanley Picker Fellow Ben Judd collaborated with local residents, community groups, students and academics to develop ideas for an adaptable floating structure The Origin which will travel along the River Thames. Due to COVID-19, this project took place online. Participants were  invited to contribute to aspects of the community such as costume, narrative, movement, music, engagement with the local environment, and use of the boat.

The online version of the floating resource ran for six weeks throughout June and July on these pages.

Each week is dedicated to a specific subject area at Kingston University and a local community group. Both groups use the online space to develop a particular aspect of the project’s community, identity and legacy by uploading content onto these pages, developing a dialogue and collaboration between the two groups. You can also follow the activities at #TheOriginKingston on Instagram & Twitter.

Week 1 (1 – 7 June) Fashion & The Gate

Week 2 (8 – 14 June) Creative Writing & The Bradbury

Week 3 (15 – 21 June) Dance & The Grange

Week 4 (22 – 28 June) Music & Refugee Action Kingston

Week 5 (29 – 5 July) Sustainable Design & Mill St Residents’ Association

Week 6 (6 – 11 July) Interior Design & Canbury and Riverside Association (CARA)

Ben Judd

Ben Judd is based in London. His work examines collectivity and participation through performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities. Judd has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, recently including ICA, Art Night London, Whitstable Biennale and Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.

MSc Project Management for Creative Practitioners

Collaborating with Ben Judd is a team of four students from the postgraduate course MSc Project Management for Creative Practitioners at Kingston School of Art. They are project managing the initial online phase of The Origin; each student using their strengths to manage unique elements of the project:  Sofia Torres – Social Media, Ching-Fang Wu – Online Content, Oshan Fenlon-Wilson – Events and Charlotte Addy – Project Integration.

Artist Talk: Judy Price in conversation with Pamela Windham Stewart

Wednesday 19th February 2020

The End of the Sentence presents artist Judy Price’s research into the history of Holloway Women’s Prison. The exhibition reflects on the impact of the criminal justice system on women and features new work by Price, archival material, and artists and writers invited by Price including Erika Flowers, Hannah Hull, Nina Ward, Katrina McPherson, Carly Guest and Rachel Seoighe. The project draws on networks, collaborations and relationships developed through Reclaim Holloway, which has been actively campaigning for a Women’s Building on the former prison site since 2016.

As part of The End of the Sentence, Price presents a new moving image installation in collaboration with Dorich House Museum, which features a bronze sculpture of a baby by Dora Gordine (1895-1991) commissioned for the Mother and Baby Unit at Holloway Women’s Prison in 1948. The soundtrack to the film explores incarcerated pregnancy, drawing on the writing and fieldwork of midwife Dr Laura Abbott and forensic psychotherapist Pamela Windham Stewart. The script is re-voiced by actors from Clean Break, a women’s theatre company whose members have lived experience of the criminal justice system. For the duration of the exhibition at Stanley Picker Gallery, the original bronze sculpture, on loan from the National Justice Museum, will be on display at Dorich House Museum in Kingston, Gordine’s former studio home.

Pamela Windham Stewart has worked for over twenty years as a psychotherapist in several prisons, including HMP Holloway, where she has developed and facilitated therapy groups for mothers and babies who are incarcerated. Pamela lectures widely and is the founder of the Saturday Forensic Forum. She has a private practice and is a clinical supervisor. With Jessica Collier, she co-edited The End of the Sentence: Psychotherapy with Female Offenders (Routledge, 2018) from which the title of the exhibition is borrowed. This seminal book documents the rich and varied psycho-therapeutic work undertaken by dedicated specialists in HMP Holloway, and the often difficult environment where attempts to provide psychological security were often undermined by conflicting ideas of physical security.

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