Sunday, 12 May 2019

It's all getting a bit Soylent Green

First things first - robotic cats, dogs and seals in care homes? With fur or without? Be prepared, because 'research tells us' that the robots are coming! What's more, I bet they'll be cost-effective too. No need to pay pesky humans to interact with people, or worse still, bring real flesh and blood animals into care homes. Researchers from the University of Exeter assessed 900 care home residents  observing how the robopets increased social interaction between residents, family members and staff. Though, as the the researchers note: 'Not all residents liked the robots, and staff may require specialist training on how to help them get the most out of their robopet.' I used to love taking flowers into hospital. Big, bold and beautiful - and my mum loved them. Only they present a 'health & safety risk' so inevitably were banned. Although there are different dynamics at play, this short film from Equal Arts and their HenPower project is a lovely alternative to Stepford Pets.

Arts Catalyst 
Artistic Director/Joint CEO  
Arts Catalyst is looking to appoint a new Artistic Director/Joint CEO, to develop its programme and establish the organisation in Sheffield, where it will be relocating from its current home in London over the next two years. This is an exciting opportunity for an ambitious, imaginative individual to take one of the UK’s leading art and research organisations forward into the next phase of its development and to take an active role in shaping its artistic future. Over 25 years, Arts Catalyst has established a reputation for commissioning bold and experimental art that expands art practice into domains commonly associated with science and specialist research, and for its unique curatorial model of transdisciplinary co-inquiry that brings together artists, scientists, communities and interest groups for long-term, thematic programmes. Arts Catalyst supports artists at pivotal stages in their careers, providing opportunities to develop projects and create ambitious new artworks. Full details of this amazing opportunity HERE.

So - out of the blue I stumble on this extraordinary and timely song and film. Sublime and troubling...

Birth Rites Collection Summer School 15-19th July 2019
Birth Rites Collection Summer School is a unique 5-day programme of lectures, workshops and exchange. It is generated through engaging directly with the artworks in the collection which are installed across the historic Guy’s campus, King’s College London, and hosted by the Faculty of Midwifery .

If you are a midwife, academic, artist, medic, health professional, art historian or policy advisor, you will arrive on the course with your skill set and leave with a bespoke multi-media pack of visual, textual, auditory and filmic material of your own responses to art on birth, to be used thereafter in your own future work. Birth Rites Collection Summer School will introduce you to the art collection and facilitate a dialogue between you, your practice and the artworks. The course will be led by Helen Knowles, BRC Curator and New Media artist and Hermione Wiltshire, artist and lecturer in photography at the Royal College of Art. We will encourage you to curate your own responses to the artworks in the collection, through a variety of media, exploring the themes addressed by them, introduce different perspectives from special guest speakers and chair in-depth discussions that address aesthetics, ethics and practices of the visual discourse of birth. 

Workshops will include the chance to shoot short films on everyday devices, create a podcast/ sound work and reflect on the themes through visual and written responses which will then be edited into an imaginative PowerPoint. There are 20 full-price places on this course and 5 concession rate places. We are also offering one bursary place on the course. For more information please click HERE.

Thank you for the intrigued, bemused and terrified comments about Cold Dark Matter, posted last week. For those of you who asked or have an inclination to delve into the text and footnotes, you can find them HERE or by clicking on the beautiful image above from the 1922 Swedish film HÄXAN which featured in this work.

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