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Exhibitions and Events in Gallery North

Gallery North

Woon Painting & Sculpture Prize – 10 Shortlisted Artists 2018
2 July – 6 September2019
Kara Chin – 2018 Winner of the Woon Painting & Sculpture Prize
19 September – 5 October 2019
Sentient Home Devices

Sentient Home Devices is a series of physical and digital sculptures, reimagining the legend of Tsukumogami in a contemporary setting. In Japanese folklore, Tsukumogami is the collective term for once inanimate household objects that gain sentience after 100 years of service. The objects sprout limbs, faces and personalities, their temperament determined by how well the object was treated in the years leading up to it's transformation. Mishandled objects foster vengeful spirits determined to wreak havoc on their careless owners, while properly maintained and respected objects harbour friendly, mild-mannered dispositions.

Today’s inanimate household objects are gradually evolving into smart objects. In 1990, the first toaster was connected to the Internet, and has since been followed by a cascade of fridges, coffee machines, dishwashers, watches, ovens, and even the humble salt and pepper shaker. Growing lists of domestic appliances are all joining the fray; objects increasingly aware of their physical surroundings, wirelessly connected in a digital map across the Internet of things. They interact across physical and virtual worlds, remotely controlled by their owners and communicating in regulatory cybernetic feedback loops for a perfect household equilibrium.

After 100 years of smart technology service, the smart home devices gain sentience. Run away AI programs travel down through networks of interconnected objects, infiltrating all their little microcontroller CPU brains, transforming them into Tsukumogami. The sentient home devices become vessels for autonomous selves, each with a disposition determined by the treatment it received in the years leading up to the transformation, their feelings corroborated by 100 years worth of human data they have monitored, collected and transferred across the web. Those human lodgers who treated their appliances ethically may befriend their sentient home devices, and their homes will establish harmonious kinships of human/none human beings. Meanwhile, disgruntled sentient home devices will reject their streamlined functions and transform their automated physiology in protest. They sprout new sensors and limbs, morphing themselves into hybrid contraptions cobbled together from various household materials around them, following their own individual whims and fancies, and rebelling against their appointed roles.
Exhibition of work by Northumbria University Technicians
10 – 31 October 2019
Claire Pencak
Re- reading the RSVP Cycles: Scores in a Climate Emergency
6 November 2019

A cross -disciplinary symposium that brought together artists, academics and students from performing and visual arts, especially dance and choreography; from planning, architecture and landscape architecture; and those interested in sustainability and in particular Deep Adaptation theory.
The starting point was the RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment (1969) by Lawrence Halprin which brought together his practice as a landscape architect with the choreographic practice of dancer Anna Halprin. RSVP is an acronym for Resources, Scores, Valu-action and Performance. It describes a process for civil participation rooted in a concern for environmental issues and social justice. 50 years on from its publication the need for scores for change are even more urgent today. This symposium revisited the RSVP Cycles to consider what scores might offer at this time and how might they contribute in particular to the Deep Adaptation Agenda of resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation. Just over one year since the publication of ‘Deep Adaptation: a map for navigating climate tragedy’ by Jem Bendell (July 27th 2018) and the paper has been downloaded more than half a million times. So, this symposium is simultaneously a looking back and a looking forward
Daniel Laqua and James McConnel
The Living Legacies of the First World War: The North East and Beyond
11-22 November 2019

During the centenary, Northumbria academics in the Department of Humanities have led a series of innovative AHRC-funded projects that have uncovered hitherto unexplored stories of how the lives of people from the region were changed by the First World War. In collaboration with the HLF-funded ‘Tynemouth World War Commemoration Project’, McConnel ran a citizen history project on the 7,000 North East men who served in the dominion armies of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada during the war, telling the story of their pre-war migration, wartime service, and post-war lives in the context of Britain’s evolving empire. In partnership with the Workers’ Educational Association and the National Union of Students, Laqua’s project investigates the war generation’s entry into higher education in 1919, which was facilitated by new scholarship for ex-servicemen. A key emphasis has been on the international ties that students sought to forge, including connections to young people from former enemy states. These themes have been explored through a focus on specific case study institutions in London, Durham and Newcastle.

As a key priority of both projects has been public engagement, they have generated high-quality exhibitions in collaboration with their key project partners (McConnel’s exhibition was hosted by the Discovery Museum for three months, while Laqua’s project exhibition has been on display at both NUS and the Durham Records Office).

We propose bringing these exhibitions together in order to showcase Northumbria research but also to highlight the important point that for many people in the region, the war had long-lasting and complex legacies. The exhibition will also be complemented by an event (combining presentation and performance features) that Laqua’s project generated as a contribution to the ‘Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience’ Festival in Bristol.
Lucas Ferguson – PhD Student
Norman Cornish Revealed
5 December 2019 – 22 February 2020 (closed two weeks over Christmas)

An exhibition showcasing research by Lucas Ferguson into the materials and techniques of Norman Cornish
Sian Hutchings – MFA Student
Quietly Beneath
27 February – 19 March 2020

Part of a body of work from the film ‘Quietly Beneath’ as part of a residency with Tyneside Cinema
Will Hughes 7 Robbie O’Keefe – MFA Students
2 – 16 April 2020
I’m a Solder to my, Own Emptiness, I’m a Winner

It passes through me, an invisible energy, that touches what cannot be found. I search in this moment for why i feel this growing desire. I look for you under moon light, as the beat returns to me. You are tangible in the rhythm but always just out of reach, a phantom in my dreams, a spectre of desire, a ghost in my peripheral vision
Sam Ainsley
23 April – 14 May 2020


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