sensingsite – In This Neck of the Woods was a one-day symposium held at Central St Martins, King’s Cross, London on 4th June 2015. Offering artists and research students the opportunity to explore in an open, collaborative framework, sensingsite presents practise-based research relating to questions surrounding the materialities of site, space and place. sensingsite is led by Susan Trangmar, Steven Ball, and Dr. Duncan White and has been running a regular series of programs since 2012. It considers the agency of site as a force for the production and reception of experimental critical practice and research.
CCW PhD student Sam Burford, who presented his own research at the event, told CCW Graduate School about the day. His research is an exploration into the ongoing influence of computer technology on the production and documentation of sculpture. ‘This year’s symposium comprised of presentations, performances, a small exhibition and screenings in an adjacent space.
Anna Minton (University of East London) and Professor Jeremy Till (Head of Central Saint Martins) presented keynote papers along with MA, PhD and post doctoral researchers from Falmouth University and the University of the Arts London. The morning session focused on topics raised in Minton’s book Ground Control (2012), specifically the threat of the growing privatisation of the urban space and the changing conceptual understanding of private and public arenas. This narrative was then extended by a series of presentations from artists and researchers responding to the immediate surroundings of King’s Cross.
A re-occurring theme that was presented was the relationship the students had with the private institution that controls the space both around and within the college buildings. Students explored how the tensions that arose from this relationship had influenced their practise.
The morning session closed with a lively discussion on the impact that the recent surge of unregulated international capital flows has had on living conditions for people in London.
Some of these themes were picked up in the afternoon session which began with Professor Jeremy Till’s lecture on the ideological production of the notions of scarcity and austerity, and in particular how this idea could be used to drive design innovation by designers and architects. This then led into a series of papers covering a wide range of topics, ranging from ecological surveys into local fauna to explorations of the use of web cameras in portraying the urban environment around Kings Cross. The day concluded with the presentation of two performative artworks exploring the use of field recording and Foley in experimental sound works.
A relational theme ran through many of the artworks presented during the symposium. Other overlapping themes included:
- Control:- Adriana Cobo Corey (CSM), Dr Pat Naldi;
- Trajectories:- Sam Burford (Chelsea), Dr Carali McCall, Maria Papadomanolaki (LCC);
- Narrative:- Maria Fernanda Calderón (Wimbledon), Dr Kate Corder, Dr Nick Ferguson, John Hartley (Falmouth), Kevin Logan (LCC);
- Identity:- Ingrid Pumayalla (CSM).
The closing discussion looked at the possibility of extending the ideas raised by the symposium, with future meetings and potential publications.’
Top image: Susan Trangmar (Reader, CSM) introduces the morning session.