Fion Gunn was Artist in Residence for the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, with an exhibition (Arrivals/Departures) at the Victoria Gallery and Museum in 2022. One year on, Fion’s involved in an artist collective in the south. Working with new diaspora groups, her work still focusses on connection and linkages. Below, the new exhibit is outlined, along with the panel talks the collective will host.
Boundless: Transitions – exhibition and online talk series
Thurs 5 Oct-Sun 29 Oct 2023, open 12pm-5pm Wed-Sun at APT Gallery, Deptford. This exhibition is a project run by A-Maze Artists Collective.
Boundless: Transitions is an immersive multi-media exhibition. It features a range of live and streamed satellite events, including panel discussions (see below), guided tours, presentations to schools and an interactive local arts trail.
The project explores intertwined environmental and sociological themes. It poses questions such as:
- How we can address the energy crisis?
- How can we reenvisage and reshape our urban landscapes?
- How do we engage with migration and diaspora communities on a planetary and a local Deptford level?
Fion Gunn, co-lead artist, describes the exhibition as “a sensory journey of exploration, where narratives of the natural world and human world coincide and collide”.
The artists will co-create with visitors and partners to present stories of displacement and trade. These include tales of migration; legacies of exchanges of ideas and beliefs across borders and multi-perspective histories of Empire.
A-Maze Artists Collective want to make a difference and demonstrate -to the communities engaging with the project- that the environment is not simply something external to us, but something of which we are all part.
Maureen Kendal, co-lead of the Collective said
“from the outset we have included schools, universities, and community groups in the planning of the project. They will be active participants, mentored by our team so that all visitors to our exhibition can gain skills, insights, and have a transformative experience”.
The artists -Chen Mei-Tsen, Fion Gunn, Alan Hudson, Ardern Hulme-Beaman, Shoran Jiang, Maureen Kendal, Audrey Mullins, Nazia Parvez and Freddie Sanders– will present interactive installations (both 2D and 3D), which feature embedded electronics, AI-generated elements and sensory soundscapes. The exhibition will include AR pop-ups accessible (via free downloadable apps) and a local arts trail, which uses What3words geocode.
Boundless: Transitions is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and sponsorship from Greenwings Project. For more, visit: www.worldsinflux.com
A-Maze Artists Collective panel discussion briefs
All discussions will run from 6pm-8pm on the date shown. They will be facilitated by Fion Gunn.
Sat 7 Oct – 1st panel discussion: ‘The City & The City – Transitions & Diasporas’
Urban environments need to adapt to changes in industry, technology, culture and climate. Our ‘work from home’ culture has been encouraged by COVID, but this is existing and not new technology. COVID increased the take up and continues to affect the way we work. Urban landscapes need to adapt to these changes or be left behind.
Deptford can be seen as an area which has changed as a result of empire and diaspora. A fishing village changing into a naval port and now cultural changes brought about by immigration. The area has seen some funding supporting creative industries. The residents can and should be involved in shaping their environment. How will and should Deptford adapt for the future?
Panel Speakers: Thomas Picard who is a Paris based expert in ‘Global Industry Initiatives & Standards strategy’; Chen Mei-Tsen, Taiwanese artist based in Taiwan and member of the collective and Nazia Parvez, British/Pakistani artist and service user expert based in the US – all confirmed.
Thurs 19 Oct – 2nd panel discussion ‘The Future of Exhibiting’
Current traditional galleries work hard to encourage the public to visit, but still tend to present exhibitions as a series of rooms holding 2D and 3D objects and short text descriptions. Some include video.
To encourage a wider public interest there now exists cheap digital technology to create a more exciting and engaging experience. With GPS, mobile phones and social media we can extend the exhibition outside the physical gallery into surrounding streets and across the internet. Technology enables the nature of exhibitions to be immersive, the public can become part of the exhibition. Avatars can interact with viewers, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality can create novel experiences, exhibitions can be based in a number of physical locations and connected across the internet.
Panel Speakers: Professor Jonny Freeman, Goldsmith’s University, Alexandra Steinacker-Clark – All About Art podcast; Joris LeChene, Franco-British social communicator focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion; Jacob Deakin, creative technologist and graphic designer; Verity Babbs, arts writer and critic and presenter (to be confirmed).
Sun 22 Oct – 3rd panel discussion ‘Deptford: Legacy of Empire’ – Urban Transitions driven by population
Mapping has evolved over centuries as a wonderful tool for us to understand our world. However, it has also evolved as a driver and sustainer of Empire expansion, greed and war. Some give a pictorial suggestion of the world, while others have specific purposes e.g., navigation. They have played a pivotal place in exploration, discovery and exploitation. They are used to bias our view of the world, to educate us and often to stop us from thinking about the impact of Empire -and the Age of Discovery- in general. Technology has allowed us to refine our view of the world and navigate our way through streets and through space. Accessible technology such as GPS, Google maps and What3words is now used widely both commercially and personally, however now we can view private properties and face a future of surveillance and a diminution of the right to privacy. We are in effect being colonised by the ‘Empire of Technology’.
Panel Speakers: Shoran Jiang, Maureen Kendal & Fion Gunn (A-Maze artists) and others, to be confirmed
Sat 28 Oct – 4th panel discussion ‘An Ecological Vision for the future – Presenting our Co-creators’
We all have to change. Greenwashing is everywhere, e.g., fossil fuel companies claiming to be green, Qatar claiming to have a carbon neutral Football World Cup. Meanwhile climate change is happening faster than predicted, people are dying in forest fires and floods. Even Wall Street has flooded. Individuals, corporations and governments are keen to point the finger at others and do too little themselves. We can all change the way we live to help our futures and the futures of our children.
Panel Speakers: Chen Mei-Tsen, A-Maze artist, Professor Jonny Freeman (Goldsmiths), Esther (Deptford Green School), Lois Ghillie (Stoke Newington School), Alan Hudson (A-Maze artist), Rep from Cockpit Studios and others to be confirmed.
Boundless: Transitions is an immersive multi-media interactive exhibition with a range of collateral events.
The project explores the theme of diaspora, in a planetary and a local (Deptford) context. It provides a sensory journey where narratives of the natural world and human world coincide and collide. Stories of displacement include those of human/animal migrations; the movement of ideas and beliefs; the multi-perspective histories of Empire with its complex legacies and impacts.
Displacement/diaspora have shaped the mapping of our world culturally, socially, politically and philosophically since the dawn of the Anthropocene (migrations of plant/animal life on the planet predate human existence by millions of years).
Our exhibition and events will promote deep engagement with the ideas and technologies used by the artists, a space where co-creation is encouraged, where outcomes will be exciting and evolving.
Our artworks/installations will feature interactive embedded electronics, an immersive soundscape, 2D/3D works, projected films and olfactory elements. Alongside the physical exhibition we will create a virtual exhibition which can be accessed online, leaving a legacy of the project going forward.