28 June — 23 August 2009
Townley and Bradby, Helen Stratford and A Kassen showed work and documentation in the gallery Wysing from their residencies as part of the Communities Under Construction programme.
Communities under Construction was a three year programme of residencies at Wysing Arts Centre in which the selected artists worked within and in response to the villages and communities surrounding Wysing Arts Centre.
During the early part of the year, and throughout the summer, artists A Kassen, Helen Stratford and Townley and Bradby were in-residence together at Wysing, living and working at the Centre. The exhibition was formed entirely of work produced by the artists during their residency period and developed in collaboration with individuals and groups in the village of Bourn and in the new settlement of Cambourne.
After having researched Wysing and the surrounding villages the artist group A Kassen, who are based in Copenhagen, developed a spectacular artistic idea in collaboration with Bourn Airfield and which resulted in the work Minus Roof. Visitors to the Centre on 18 July were taken to Bourn Airfield and flown over Wysing to look down into the gallery space from the air, aided by the fact that one third part of the gallery roof had been taken off for the purpose. Other visitors experienced an open gallery with a section of roof removed with the Cambridgeshire sky and flight activity on view from within the space. These two places and viewpoints were brought together in the double projected film shown in the gallery, also entitled Minus Roof. In recent years A Kassen evolved their work into a collaborative playground for projects that seek to re-imagine the encounter between artwork and public; realising projects that have a comic book quality and in fact even producing a comic book of their ideas.
During her residency Helen Stratford used site-specific and audio-based interventions to make visible the practices that produce and maintain public space in the nearby settlement of Cambourne. Gathered during her residency, which continued through August, these practices include the voices of local residents, teenagers, groundsmen, road sweepers, light scouts, planners, and people working on their allotments. A table in the centre of Wysing’s gallery space worked as a meeting point for talking and discovering what Helen uncovered during her residency. Her research revealed both the heavily maintained, and the overlooked and un-noticed public space in Cambourne, and proposed alternative uses for them. Through her residency Stratford drew on the practices of on performance, architecture and writing to explore how places and identities are produced and performed through every day objects and activities.
Townley and Bradby’s work functions primarily as a framework through which others can reflect on their surroundings. This reflection is often playful and invites participation. For their residency, Townley and Bradby spent three months living at Wysing with their children. Often working in collaboration with their children, they created an intimate portrait of the landscape and the communities around Wysing Arts Centre. They developed and tested out a variety of tactics to inhabit open spaces in and around Bourn and Cambourne, as well as making journeys across South Cambridgeshire. One event involved chalking out the swift, complicated and coordinated patterns of car parking outside the village nursery at drop-off time. In another event Townley and Bradby took a 1.5 metre wide inflatable red ball to the edge of Cambourne. They used the ball to measure and activate fields that will be covered with houses within the next few years. Townley and Bradby left their giant red ball in Wysing’s reception to be used in the grounds of Wysing. Please ask if you would like to borrow it!