Fion Gunn, Displaced no 8, 2020, mixed media, 51.5x25x35cm
It always pains me when I see plastic toys dumped on the side of the road, they can't be burned, when broken they're difficult to repair or to recycle (depending on what your local council can do) and so they just add to the growing heap of plastic rubbish. I try to wage war against this - well, in a very small way. If I find a discarded plastic toy boat I take it back to my studio to transform it.
In this case I started with the hull and covered it with raw linen which I had dipped in paint. I removed the deck, masts and other bits and pieces to use in another imagined vessel, then I built an underwater landscape and the surrounding rocks.
The transformed vessel with its inland sea has a mast made from cinnamon which supports the last piece of green vegetation to be seen in a world which has been totally flooded. A boat with the remnant of humanity floats on water which covers a deluged city teeming with fish and algae. I wanted to capture that nightmare scenario to which climate change could lead, poetically and in miniature. The viewer is scaled up and becomes a giant with a different perspective - one in which they have power.
I have never exhibited this piece! I completed it just before the outbreak of COVID in 2020 and the exhibition in Paris in which it was to feature was cancelled.
On World Environment Day it feels like the right piece to feature in this Blog and here's the link to website's Beat Plastic Pollution page.
Looking towards land
Returning or leaving
Day becomes night
Reptilian rocks shift
Mottled greys pause
Dying light - Through
Particles of dust
- ochre, sienna, lapis
Maureen Kendal 2023
Through this artwork, which is one of a series of drawings, Maureen is asking psychological/ philosophical/ logical/ poetic/ personal questions around how we as humans, (as distinct from human-mediated machines ) experience ‘place’.
‘Place’ is a location which is experienced by a human- framed at a specific time/location - historically mediated through perception and memory whereas ‘Location’ is defined by computer defined coordinates.
Maureen asks about how we journey and migrate across places to survive? Migration can be motivated by the necessity to flee oppressive regimes and a lack of opportunity for growth and creative becoming? For her, the question around migration and who should be ‘allowed across borders’ is not one that distinguishes between economic or political necessity. Historically many revolutionary / religious/ ideological thinkers have sought equality, the right to freedom and emancipation from physical and mental slavery and all forms of oppression, access to knowledge and the right to roam.
In my project, I would like to begin my research from local people and local grocery stores, so local food would be a great point to begin with. As I originated from China, I always think about the relationship between food and cultural identity. Food plays a significant role in shaping our cultural and personal identities. The dishes we eat, the ingredients we favour, and the recipes we cherish are all integral to our sense of self. Our food choices reflect our heritage, traditions, and upbringing, acting as a culinary roadmap to our past.
By exploring the connection between food and the local area, hopefully, I can discover ways of expressing myself and connecting with audiences on a deeper level. (Shoran Jiang)
Back in 2018 Pinghub UK, Pinghub Malaysia and Dreamstudio.io held an exhibition 'Silk Route through the Ages - Past Present and Future' a livestreamed VR collaboration between artists at Winn's Gallery, Walthamstow and Keeni Kessler Gallery Penang.
This was the first time Maureen Kendal, Alan Hudson and Fion Gunn worked together on an event and their interest in blended art projects was informed that experience. (photo above at the exhibition in Winn's Gallery)
Subsequently, they have been written a number of papers about how artists' practices are affected by immersive and other new technologies.
Below is a description of the first paper presented at
EVA London 2019, Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
Kendall, M., Mulla, M., Thomazi-Freitas, E. (2019) How Artists Can Develop Their Artwork, Its Market and Deliver Their Creative Content for Virtual Reality Environments?
Held annually in July, EVA London is one of the international Electronic Visualisation & the Arts conferences. It focuses on the development and application of visualisation technologies to various domains, including art, music, dance, theatre and the sciences, covering the burgeoning creative uses of digital media for works of art and creative productions. It is a networking event for groups and projects, including European projects.
Details on the conference can be found at:
More details on the project can be found at:
This is a first sketch for 'Fleet' an interactive installation by Fion Gunn which will feature in the Boundless: Transitions Exhibition @ APT Gallery in October. The fleet of imagined ships, space vessels & aircraft will emerge from suspended clouds and feature all kinds of interactivity - lights sound and movement triggered by visitors as they move around it. Some of the vessels will carry spices so the smells of cloves, cinnamon and coriander will add to its immersive feel. Images of the work in progress will be posted over the coming months.
Microprocessors and sensors are now widely available and inexpensive.
Alan Hudson is experimenting with this technology to make small pollution monitoring units. He is building units which can monitor common pollutants and send this information over WiFi to an online database allowing us to see how pollution varies by location and time of day.
The results of this will be shown during the APT Gallery exhibition.
A-Maze Artists Collective is delighted to have been selected for an exhibition in October at the APT Gallery in Deptford. The beautiful space has a history of showing innovative and exciting artworks and is an important creative venue in Lewisham.
Abstract for paper : 'The Evolving Collaboration - AMazed!: The AMaze Artists investigate Immersive Technology to create Imagination and Artifice', for EVA conference 2021, British Computer Society
AMaze team: Artists - Fion Gunn, Maureen Kendal, Chen Mei-Tsen, Nazia Parvez, Terri M. Broughton, Cleon Grant.
KEY WORDS: artificial imagination, VR, tool-kit, navigation, cartography, curatorial, public engagement, art, artists, virtual worlds, migration, lockdown, maze, storytelling, metaphor.
Virtual Cultural Heritage; Museums and Collections; Music, Performing arts, and Technologies; 2D and 3D Imaging, Display and Printing;
This paper examines step-by-step construction of an artificial edifice, a navigational architecture which connects AMaze Artists’ world, related projects and development of tool-kits for artists to enhance their working practice.
The cross-generational culturally diverse AMaze artists use a transdisciplinary approach, mutual interviewing techniques, insights from online meetings, continuous evaluation, iterative design-decisions, critical challenges and questioning. AMaze artists, benefitting from inter-connectivity, investigate their working practices, share visual imagery and symbolic language, identify differences, shared interests or consensus.
Within these conversations, the artists have been reconsidering, shifting their ground and transforming their practice and vision in response to their co-collaborators.
AMaze have reached out to bring in artists from other regions e.g. Mei-Tsen in Paris, France & Taipei, Taiwan; Nazia in Texas, USA & Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Previous research by AMaze artists explore virtual technologies by artist-practitioners, identifying issues around ideas of ‘natural’, ‘random’ and ‘uncanny’; access to technologies; ethical frameworks and digital regulation. Today AMaze includes artists with diverse skill-sets: architectural and service user design; 3D character animator; 3D developer; cartography; curatorial, public engagement animation and cyber/virtual eco-landscapes.
AMaze artists’ build on their histories of migration and lockdown, perceiving their role as ‘Artists-Makers and Breakers’, using virtual tools and/or visualisation to realise these interconnected immersive worlds to present: ‘Boundless: Worlds in Flux’. Within these worlds, visitors-audience-participants experience multiple perspectives and shifting perceptions as they visit interconnected immersive multiverses of visual imagery, sound and text.
Fion Gunn contemplates the impact on her own work from curating other artists in large-scale exhibitions, creative journeys experienced through migration, displacement and transformation. Through the AMaze and Freetown Heritage projects, Nazia Parvez focuses on a process of dialogue and collaboration to create shared histories, evolving narratives, and a collective virtual cultural heritage. Chen Mei-Tsen experiences time, space and memory as an urban nomad, in resonance with the diverse architectural strata of her hometown, Taipei, which witnesses over time and under influences of different countries. Maureen Kendal offers a vision of migration, trauma and joy. Cleon Grant develops 3D structural, coherent and elegant virtual worlds. Terrri M Broughton explores the significance of community through the lens of aquatic food chains and species survival.
From our age of the Anthropocene, AMaze imagines Virtual Worlds. Transposing ideas from landscape to virtual-scape. Exploring narrative navigation through use of maze, game, cycle, metaphor and avatars. Evolving participants’ space to enable community engagement and out-reach. Embracing co-creation in a meaningful way through imaginative and inventive curation.