Parallel to our autumn Ghosts & Apparitions - Online Arts Programme, we welcome a new series that explores the insights into the research and work of Kitty Clark, Paula Albuquerque, Maria Court & Trinidad Piriz and Keiken. This new Artist Spotlight series will detail the processes that form the artists' practice as well as documenting the theories and research material that contribute also. Through this we aim to investigate further into what studio culture entails, the behind the scenes methods to creation and how processes differ when the balance in our worlds shifts around us. To open the series, we first welcome artist Kitty Clark.
Kitty Clark graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art 2011, and lives and works in London. Clark works in a variety of mediums including installation, sculpture and digital media. Recent works inhabit a not-so-far future, neither slick fantasy world nor dystopian nightmare, where ideals, anxieties and aspirations of the present are played out in unexpectedly drab and crooked futures.
The genesis of The Experiment comes from an ongoing research interest Clark has in conspiracy theories and parapsychology. She's often been drawn to the kind ofcommunities that offer alternative ideas and solutions to the status-quo, and tries and suspend disbelief long enough to imagine with them something ‘other’.
The Experiment draws most directly upon a conspiracy theory called The Philadelphia Experiment. The story goes that in the 1940s an alleged military project, in which the US Navy was conducting various tests for cloaking battleships from radar, inadvertently transported one of their ships through time and space. Accounts of the men on board described reaching another dimension, experiencing untold miseries there, and the horror of the crew being fused into the walls of the ship when it reappeared in our reality.
Many of the accounts of the Philadelphia Experiment are highly disputed and can be explained away in various ways, but Clark found the idea that such a thing could happen extremely compelling, particularly the idea of human / object transmogrification, and access to another plane of existence.
Clark wanted to explore that metaphysical other-place in The Experiment, in an attempt to put a voice to something that can’t exist in real life as we know it. Audio as a medium lends itself particularly well to this, because without the restriction of visual specificity you can attempt to depict the impossible.
Over many years Clark has been collecting books that touch upon many strands of her research interests. The following is a text Clark wrote to accompany a selection of these books that were featured in the exhibition Terraformers at The Bonington Gallery in Nottingham in 2016.
"The books in my collection largely relate to topics of alternative ways of living in various forms, from off-grid geodesic dome-homes, to genuine plans towards space colonisation. They proliferate ideas and information that range from the mundane yet practical (where to cheaply buy wholesale grains) to radical and and often politically charged activities. The people who employ and disseminate the ideas contained in these countercultural manuals, whether for social empowerment or purely for means of survival, actively work against forces that encourage consumption and apathy over agency.
These ideas are especially relevant today, particularly in regard to our increasingly controlled relationship with technology, where networks are thoroughly policed and devices are intentionally designed to stop us repairing, reusing or even understanding how they work. This attitude of “othering” technology alienates us from engaging with (or subverting) the systems that massively influence our lives. These books (and their contemporary, digital equivalents) fight against such deskilling - empowering their readers through practical knowledge sharing and open-sourced innovation to stay engaged and recognise the dominating forces that determine the way we live."
Text by Kitty Clark, graphic design by Hugh Frost.
Life on Earth, 2018
Mixed media installation.
Dinner Party Gallery, London
Yuck Yuck Yuck, 2019
Sculptural & Audio installation.
Commissioned for Jerwood Solo Presentations 2019.
Installation view at Jerwood Space.
Photo: Anna Arca.
Spiders Web is a Stage For a Play, 2018
Series of sculptural and text works.
Commissioned by Fungus Press & Turf Projects.
Photos: Tim Bowditch & Kitty Clark.
Drag Me, 2017
Recent exhibitions and residencies include Solo Presentations, Jerwood Space, London (2019), The Shadow Moses Incident, Primary, Nottingham (2018), Life On Earth, Dinner Party Gallery, London (2018), Spiders Web is a Stage for A Play, Fungus Press Commission, Turf Projects, London (2018), Mr Nobody, Phoenix, Leicester, UK (2016).
The next Artist Spotlight focuses on the research of Paula Albuquerque.