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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Julia Heslop, Dr Edward Wainwright


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Gathering was an architectural installation and exhibition space, commissioned by and installed in the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, from September 2018 - February 2019 as part of the exhibition Exploding Collage. Built from reclaimed, recycled and adapted materials of timber, metal and fabric, the work consisted of seven ‘grottoes’ or ‘pods’, each hosting the work of artists responding creatively to a historically significant, but canonically ignored, female collage artist. Gatheringwas digitally scanned to produce a non-exact digital copy - ReGathering -which was presented in an immersive installation at Newcastle University in mid-January 2020. Placed at the intersection between art and architecture, the work explores material re-use and value through a process of retrieval, improvisation and adaptation. The issue of waste is a key concern within the fields of art and architecture which produce material as a matter of course, whilst the building and construction industry is the industrial economy’s biggest consumer of material resources and the biggest producer of waste.Through Gathering we aimed to explore the material and aesthetic potentials of ‘waste’, examining how disparate materials could be combined, ‘made good’ and refined through a purposeful yet improvised process of rescue and reuse. There are three key areas that this work contributes to: 1. Improvisation:Engaging with Kurt Schwitters’ MerzBau – immersivecollages of found and rescued materials, and Jencks and Silver’s work on Adhocism (2013 [1972]), we explored processes of ‘intentional adhocism’ by gathering and sorting materials and experimenting with their material and structural possibilities. Yet through a process-based approach we explored the ‘gap’ betweenplanning and improvisation, understanding that adhoc processes are rarely wholly spontaneous. 2. Circular material ecologies: Gathering was also influenced by recent work on degrowth (D’Alisa et al., 2014; Oslo Architecture Biennale, 2019), scarcity (Till, 2014) and circular economies (Baker-Brown, 2017), which explore the limits to economic growth in an ecologically finite world. We examined the creative potentials of material limits – an area which is under-developed in practice, and explored how this could offer new improvisational processes, as well as new forms of use value and aesthetic value through the integration of waste materials. 3. Art-Architecture collaboration Collaboration across the boundaries of art and architecture was significant. Through this we challenged the object centred approach to art and architectural production, or as Ingold (2010) terms it the ‘hylomorphic schema’,which imposes finished, predefined form on the material world. Instead, a creative studio process was key to experimentation and improvisation, allowing us to follow a loose plan, but with no predefined object in mind.

Publication metadata

Designer(s): Heslop J, Wainwright E

Publication type: Design

Publication status: Published

Year: 2018

Description: Gathering: part of Hatton Gallery Exploding Collage programme

Print publication date: 29/09/2018

Media of Output: PDF

Publisher: Newcastle University

Place Published: Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

Notes: Heslop J, Wainwright E. Room sized installation, Gathering (part of Hatton Gallery Exploding Collage programme). 2018. Newcastle University: Hatton Gallery.