Virtual Studio Visit
IIn these times of Covid-19 when studio visits seem like a thing of the past, this is a virtual studio space for discovery. Like while visiting an artist studio, this space is full of gestures and ideas that are slow cooking, slowly gathering depth of flavour. This is a virtual space for curators & friends to dream possibilities and offer their knowledge.
Blunt Blades at The Higgins – Bedford –
I will produce a new body of work for exhibition at The Higgins Museum from November 2021 until August 2022 (if Covid permits). Inspired by a cache of knives confiscated by the police, this project will explore the cultural, social & historical significance of knives as weapons, status symbols & highly specialized tools. It represents a sustained engagement with these profoundly resonant objects, drawing on every aspect of my practice to broach sensitive questions about our relationship to knives, their role in violent crime and domestic abuse, and their impact on social structures.
This body of work will be displayed at The Higgins’ House. By using the house as the context, these artworks will become a site-specific intervention, where the different layers of meaning of the objects will be magnified by placing them inside the domestic space of the home. And they will create a stronger emotional connection with the viewer.
The Higgins Bedford unites on one site three previous cultural venues: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford Museum and Bedford Gallery. Bedford Museum was formed in the 1960s from the collections of Bedford Modern School and Bedford Borough Council. Its social history, archaeology, natural history and ethnography collections tell the stories of the people and places that have shaped Bedford, and its relationship with the wider world.
The overall project will comprise different elements to be set as an intervention within the current house displays including photographs of confiscated utensils, stainless steel rings (from melted knives), audio work from domestic abuse sufferers, drawings made with the same stainless steel powder and a display of historic knifes from the Higgins Bedford collections with short stories written by contributors.
I have also been working with the art organisation Quiet Down There, on an exchange of rings (made out of melted knives) and stories with females from vulnerable backgrounds. Please see BLUNT BLADES EXCHANGE to learn more.
I’m interested to explore the transformative potential of objects and meaning.
Toxic Waves. Research Fellowship at SECP
January 25, 2019, Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine, east of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil. A tailings dam belonging to Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer collapses and tones of toxic mudflow are released into the valley killing 272 people. The remains of Eliane, the sister of engineer Josiane Melo, who works for Vale mining company, were found 68 days after the catastrophe. Eliane was five months pregnant and had just started working for Vale thanks to a recommendation from her sister.
Prosecutors said in a statement that there was a relationship of “pressure, collusion, rewards and conflict of interest between Vale and the german company TÜV SÜD”. They alleged that Vale hid information about the dam’s instability to avoid hurting the company’s reputation, and TÜV SÜD issued reports saying it was safe.
The rest is history, 272 people dead.
“Exploring Empathy – mind and body must be incorporated into ritual systems in order to facilitate healing, as well as transform and motivate the individual and the group towards a different behaviour, a much more empathetic one with nature“
I have now been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at SECP, University of Brighton, to work on this project.
“A Visiting Fellow in SECP for the next few months, Arabel Lebrusan is a Spanish-born artist working in sculpture, drawing, jewellery, and site-specific interventions. Focusing on materials and material culture – such as metal from knives confiscated by police, or mercury used in small-scale gold mining – her work investigates wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality, and her artworks function as social commentary.
Arabel is currently exploring notions of extractivism, ecofeminism and ecological grief. During this fellowship, she will research how art-making – drawing, sculpturing, performing, moving, acting – can help us engage with ecological and social tragedies happening thousands of miles away. That is, objects and materials have the potential to hold memories (Object Reminiscence framework), or be “vibrant matter” (see Jane Bennet, 2010, “Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things”) and in both perspectives, handling the material plays a crucial role in unlocking those narratives.
Arabel asks: can art-making activate our empathy at a deeper level than our rational understanding of events, and urge us to act?“
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Toxic Waves I @ Brighton CCA
28 Sep 2021
4.00 – 6.00pm Book Now
As part of her research fellowship at the University of Brighton, Arabel Lebrusan is inviting guests to take part in a drawing performance at Dorset Place, both as physical attendees of the gallery space and via an open Zoom call.
To the beat of a metronome with 272 different movements, the participant will be invited to draw waves, using charcoal and the movement of their body. Whilst 5-10 of these participants will do so in the gallery space, the rest will join remotely via Zoom. The collaborative performance will last around seven minutes, with additional time allocated beforehand to set up and cover explanations, and afterwards to discuss the performance as a group.
Around 1200 copper components, copper cable, fused plug.
Symbols: Traditional Viana’s heart – Knives featuring Laidlomycin & Tylosin, antibiotic formulas to treat beef cattle and chicken respectively.
Waximus Propietary Formulae. Wax apple
Disaster capitalism. Politics of food. Ecological grief. Feminism
“Be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”…“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.” The Bible. Old testament. Genesis 1:28
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” The Bible. Old testament. Genesis 3:6. The Fall
“For many years now, giant retailers have been putting local farmers out of business in their drive to increase profits. Policies such as flying English apples to South Africa to be waxed and polished before returning to the supermarkets to be sold as “local” English produce are commonplace in supermarkets and mock the “food miles” debate”. The Guardian
“The materials used to wax produce depend to some extent on regulations in the country of production and/or export. Both natural waxes (carnauba, shellac, or resin and petroleum-based waxes (usually proprietary formulae) are used, and often more than one wax is combined to create the desired properties for the fruit or vegetable being treated. Wax may be applied in a volatile petroleum-based solvent but is now more commonly applied via a water-based emulsion. Blended paraffin waxes applied as an oil or paste are often used on vegetables. ” Wikipedia
mercury & silver/ Mercury & gold amalgam explorations
Supported by Professor Mark P Hector
Dean of Dentistry and Boyd Professor of Dental Surgery. School of Dentistry
University of Dundee. Scotland
“Much of the mercury released into the environment is the result of small-scale and artisanal gold mining (ASGM). Mercury used in the gold separation process (known as “amalgamation”) results in the discharge of an estimated 1,000 tons of mercury annually, representing about 30% of the world’s anthropogenic mercury releases according to United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)… Once mercury pollution reaches waterways, it is transform into methylmercury—one of the most toxic organic compounds and a powerful neurotoxin. According to UNIDO, as much as 95 percent of all mercury used in ASGM mining is released into the environment.”
Tiles, made out of broken crockery plaster and ash
‘Domestic Homicides’ is a wall piece of 81 tiles made from broken crockery that are rooted in plaster with concrete. They represent women deaths from domestic crime from year 2019 to April 2020. As an indexical sign, the broken plates are a signifier of being abused. Each tile is made of different broken china with varying designs to personify the uniqueness of the individual victims. Emotionally, the paradoxical beauty of sharp edges reinforces a sense of malice while serving as a reminder of the marks that trauma leaves on one’s psyche.
Reading & Listening
LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS!!!
e-flux . Journal #55 – May 2014
Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery
The patterning Instinct
The energy‐extractives nexus and the just transition. Conflict minerals.
About intangible cultural heritage. UNESCO
Minería Artesanal Ancestral Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de Colombia (MIAA)/Artisanal mining and intangible cultural heritage in Colombia.
Talking & Brainstorming With
Neila Castillo. Antropologist. Colombia. “Artisanal mining and intangible cultural heritage in Colombia.”
David Hargreaves. Chartered Mining Engineer, Fellow of the Geological Society and the Institute of Mining, Minerals and Materials, and a member of the Royal Institution. He was a representative to the House of Commons Select Committee on Strategically Important Metals.
Marlene Melo, Josy Melo, Joanna Melo, sisters of Eliane Melo, killed in the dam disaster in Brazil (see project above).
We have created a chat to see how they can support me with knowledge and materials.
Quiet Down There. Art organisation.
Facilitating conversations with Women Support Centre Surrey and Brighton Women’s Centre.
For the “Blunt blades Exchange” project. See above for info on the project.
Charlie Levine. Curator.
Online Short Course. Central Saint Martins. Sara Shamsavari
Want to keep in touch?