Archive for the ‘Online Commissions’ Category

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.

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. 


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.

Cold Protein with Ed Atkins, Malak Helmy & Zadie Xa

Cold Protein is a free, downloadable podcast series of artists’ sound works, conceived to be experienced in specific physical locations.

Bringing together the foundational principles of augmented reality with the digital medium of podcast radio, Cold Protein invites artists to create site-specific sound pieces for places where a physical manifestation of their work may not be likely. In turn, audiences are invited to download the episode and visit the relevant site for the full experience of the work.

Cold Protein is curated by Stella Bottai and Lucia Pietroiusti. This first series is supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation as part of the Site Line digital commissioning programme with Stanley Picker Gallery. The podcast logo was designed by Kingston University Graphic Design graduate Stacie Woolsey.

Don’t know how to get a podcast?

A podcast is essentially a radio show that you can get on the internet, so you can listen any time you want.

You have two options:
You can listen to a podcast through a website (this is called streaming). Or, you can download a podcast, which means you’re saving it on your phone, or tablet, or computer, and you can listen to it anytime, even without an internet connection. Cold Protein is currently available on streaming and will soon be available as a downloadable podcast.

To stream: Visit the episode page you want to listen to, and click the play button.
To download: Get it delivered to your phone or tablet using an app.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cold Protein is not responsible for and does not guarantee your entrance to the locations. Access is at the discretion of each individual site, and subject to their opening hours, T&C and ticketing (if applicable).

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Oreet Ashery

Oreet Ashery’s Revisiting Genesis is a major online commission taking the form of a web-series in twelve episodes. Commissioned through the Stanley Picker Fellowships, the project premiered at Stanley Picker Gallery in Spring 2016 and led to Ashery winning the Jarman Award in 2017. The work is being presented at The Wellcome Trust in 2019 as part of Jo Spence & Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies

Written and directed by the artist, Revisiting Genesis explores the philosophical, sociopolitical, practical and emotional implications of the processes surrounding death and withdrawal, digital afterlives, outsider communities, social networks and reincarnations of women artists. Developed in consultation with Medical and Death Online experts, including researchers at Kingston University, and produced with a range of artistic collaborators, Revisiting Genesis responds to diverse influences spanning from feminist art practice to outsider and minority politics, as well as the emergent online death industry.

Revisiting Genesis follows two nurses, both named Jackie, who assist people actively preparing for death to create biographical slideshows serving as their posthumous digital legacy. The slideshows become a tool for reflection on cultural and social loss, friendships and memory as identity. When a group of friends request this treatment for Genesis – an artist who is dying symbolically and otherwise – Nurse Jackie attempts to activate Genesis’ memory through the making of her slideshow, which draws from elements of Ashery’s own autobiography and explores the disappearance of social and educational structures under contemporary neoliberalism. Jackie concludes that it might not be Genesis who is vanishing, but the structures she had relied on. Presented in parallel with Genesis’ story, the twelve episodes are intercut with improvised interviews between individuals with life-limiting conditions and Nurse Jackie, played here by a practising GP.

Revisiting Genesis was commissioned by the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University and supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Tyneside Cinema, Goldsmiths University of London and waterside contemporary.

Oreet Ashery is a UK based interdisciplinary visual artist born in Israel, whose personally and politically charged exhibitions, performances, videos and writings are highly regarded internationally. Ashery works on public, community, educational and participatory projects that are both politically and socially engaged, and is particularly interested in gender, race and religion, ethnicity and identity. Ashery was appointed Stanley Picker Fellow in 2014 and won the Jarman Award in 2017.

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Fabien Cappello & Rachel Davies

Streetscape is an audio-visual collaboration between filmmaker Rachel Davies and designer Fabien Cappello to accompany Cappello’s Stanley Picker Fellowship exhibition at the Gallery from 23 April – 13 June 2015.

Streetscape  seeks to explore how public furniture inhabits and relates to its surroundings. Taking into consideration the provenance, uses and contexts of existing London street furniture, Cappello has created a series of prototypes that are currently on exhibition in the Stanley Picker Gallery and in use around Kingston town centre.

In a series of long takes, filmmaker Rachel Davies creates a narrative that take a subtly hyper-real approach that places Cappello’s public furniture prototypes in an urban context that could be read as one of many towns around Britain. The soundtrack moves in and out of focus to highlight birdsong, a bike bell and a rollerblader amongst the steady hum of traffic.

Nick Ferguson: The Mobile Landscape

The Mobile Landscape is a slideshow with a documentary-style narrative that describes Ferguson’s journeys around the highways of England. In search of a site for a public art project, the artist takes the viewer along rural stretches of the motorway to inspect a series of roadside advertising hoardings in South East England. They are the type mounted on obsolete transport infrastructure and which are strategically positioned on agricultural land. As the hoardings are surveyed for their potential, there emerges a political history of the view from the road: of a countryside sculpted by the comings and goings of capital; of rural aspirations and anxieties; of clandestine livelihoods sustained by proximity to the road.

Nick Ferguson is a London-based artist and writer, whose research and practice span art, urbanism and political philosophy. His practice examines the political histories of built environments – rural, urban and maritime. Through fieldwork, modelling, building, talking and writing, it engages with the way that territory is acquired, organised and used. There is a concern with landscape, the picturesque (especially as played out in suburbia), and the relationship between vision and possession.

Ferguson’s writing focuses on the role that contemporary art has played in the construction of the built environment more generally: in the aspiration for a more democratic distribution of places through aesthetic forms and social events; in the expectation from art’s state, private and corporate investors of return; in art’s presentation of local histories for scrutiny and interpretation in the public domain. He has recently completed a practice based PhD in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Laura Hypponen

10 Faces of Anna is a playful exploration of the multi-layered nature of identity and perception through a series of ten fictional monologues performed by a single actress. Like snapshots, these portraits invite the viewer to fill in the gaps in the story. Is there such a thing as a reliable narrator or an objective listener? To what extent is our reading of a character coloured by our own prejudice? The series challenges the narrow female stereotypes of fashion and pop cultures by exploring the contradictions and conflicts beyond the polished facades, or ‘Faces’.

The project started in August 2013, when Laura Hypponen and Annarose Cattanach commenced a weekly workshop to discuss morally complex characters from killers to sex workers, with the idea of creating a series of ten filmed portraits, to be written and directed by Hypponen and performed by Cattanach. The goal of the project was to contribute to the existing literature of monologues for female performers using a multi-disciplinary approach, with a particular emphasis on exploring the darker, shadowy side of human existence. The characters and films were created and filmed in sequence; one character leading to another within the space of one year. Viewed together, they form a multi-layered portrait of both the author and the performer.

This special Gallery event marks the denouement of the entire series of filmed narratives which have been created in collaboration with costume designer & stylist Andrew Ibi, hair & makeup designer Lina Baptista, director of photography Malte Rosenfeld, set & prop artist Vana Karamanou, editor Laurent Chinot, composer Martin Bjorck and a further team of artists and technicians.

Laura Hypponen (b. 1980, Kalinin, Soviet Union) is a London based filmmaker. Her work often borrows elements from the fashion industry’s seductive and highly sexualised imagery, and juxtaposes these with an exploration of complex identities and the struggles of outsiders. Her debut feature film ‘Live East Die Young’ (2012), set in East London’s counterculture scene, was nominated Best UK Picture at Raindance Film Festival and Hitchcock d’Or at Dinard, and distributed globally by iTunes. Her fashion films have been screened widely, including at A Shaded View on Fashion at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Vogue Italia, and London Fashion Week.

Annarose Cattanach (b. 1987, Eastbourne, East Sussex) is a graduate of Oxford School of Drama and nominee of the Spotlight Prize in 2009. In addition to her work in front of the camera, Annarose writes her own comedy material and co-runs a media production company, Scanach Media.

Anat Ben David: MeleCh

MeleCh is an audio-visual installation by artist, performer and Chicks on Speed band-member Anat Ben-David, comprising a triptych of screens featuring mythical singing characters in perpetual movement.

The video works presented in  MeleCh  – the Hebrew word for King – are developed using an improvisational method of speaking or singing words into a sound oscillator and observing their rhythmic effects. The sonic patterns created trigger new ideas about what words to utter and how they might be performed. The themes developed are then constructed into visual narratives through choreographed body movements performed for the camera in a process the artist has named  OperaArt. Honed during Ben-David’s PhD research at Kingston University, this working method is based upon biomechanics and performance improvisation that entails a form of subjective bifurcation; the artist split into the two entities of performer and producer by distancing herself from both her body and voice through interacting with digital interfaces.

The original installation and live event was performed in January 2013, accompanied by a 12″ vinyl edition and printed booklet available for sale directly from Stanley Picker Gallery as a standard black vinyl edition ( £15) and special-edition signed yellow vinyl ( £30).

The Last Man: Chapter 1 Improvement

The Last Man: Chapter 1 Improvement was a mass participatory experiment that saw students, staff and others to create new objects for The Last Man that focused on progression and improvement in contemporary product design.

In December 2013, Gallery visitors were invited to borrow an object from The Last Mans collection, make an improvement to it, of whatever kind, and return it the following day. The object was then available to be chosen by another participant, whose improvement could alter previous work. Exactly what constitutes improvement was the fundamental question at play. Individual contributions are anonymous, voluntary and impermanent, but each was documented.

A selection of objects have been published above  as a visual log of The Last Mans solitary yet hopeful acts of labour and imagination.

The ongoing project provides a speculative vantage point to consider issues relating to product design and consumerism, manifested through a series of experiments that call on the views, tastes and skills of multiple participants to produce objects that represent the work of The Last Man.

With thanks to all those who participated anonymously on behalf of the Last Man.