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Class of 2022: Reconstruct Dialogue

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Person with headphones on in distorted photograph set in red lighting
Person with headphones on in distorted photograph set in red lighting
Connie Virdie, BA Fine Art
Written by
Catherine Yuhui Li
Published date
29 July 2022

On Central Saint Martins: URL you'll find a collection of projects that look at participation and interaction. Here, the curator of the collection Catherine Yuhui Li introduces a few of those works, from an audience-activated installation that samples the experience of racial abuse to a multi-sensory walking tour for visually impaired children and their families.

Focusing on participatory practices and interactive installations, these graduate works are about shared experiences and collective narratives. We see different methods, whether it is the interactive game, storyboard or collective performance, being used to create participation and make exhibition space a living archive. The artworks and audience become one inseparable entity, allowing a reconstructed dialogue to emerge.

The reconstruction in these works happen in a beautiful and natural way. By creating a participatory environment, these works expose and reclaim individual narrations, communal senses and unspoken differences that lurk beneath the surface of daily life. In these shared spaces, the artwork can get away from traditional exhibiting mechanisms and spectators can be emancipated from a passive to an active process.

Table laid with food that's made from textiles
Marine One, MA Fine Art

Marine One, MA Fine Art

"My work often focuses on surveillance, and explorations of discomfort, both physical and emotional, through engaging the audience in a performative exchange, creating reciprocity between the gaze of the audience and the artworks. I create a heightened sense of tension by placing the mundane into unusual situations. Running through my practice are feminist concerns around power and the male gaze. My final work is an interactive installation, which invites the audience to join a dinner table filled with fake squashy foods. The installation includes a telephone, which plays a series of sound files adding to the sense of unease."

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    Bella Si Hyun Lee, BA Jewellery Design
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    Bella Si Hyun Lee, BA Jewellery Design

Bella Si Hyun Lee, BA Jewellery Design

How can a recycled material evoke memory? Bella’s collection explores this question by using fibre, gathered from the sweaters of family, friends, even her own garments. In carefully grooming these items, she allows the lint to carry memories of its former wearer. The fluff, which is now reminiscent of gemstones, is then set in metal, and given a new life. Bella’s work is a tender repurposing of materials into slow fashion that not only pairs an intimate perspective with sustainable action but potently reminds us to embrace our belongings.

Text written by Bojena Sabin, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation

Person with headphones on in distorted photograph set in red lighting
Connie Virdie, BA Fine Art

Connie Virdie, BA Fine Art

"Exhibiting as part of Motherlandcausal(£3,720)fun is an audience-activated sound installation, sampling a personally experienced incident of racial abuse. Blended with using my vocals, the audience are taken through a soundscape that comments on the impacts of assimilation as survival and cycles of oppression, laying bare the necessary processes of learning and unlearning. Melody being situated within the gallery space, causal(£3,720)fun exists to challenge the boundaries of perception between art and music.

Suspending headphones within cylindrical lighting rig hanging from the ceiling using deconstructed torches as spotlights, causal(£3,720)fun is activated upon audience entry into the space. Hidden beneath the flooring platform, a switch is triggered by the body weight of the participants, activating the lights and sound. These elements consider the optimum listening conditions for the piece, ensuring each participant is granted the opportunity of experiencing the narrative from start to finish."

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    Molly Simpson, MA Innovation Management
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    Molly Simpson, MA Innovation Management

Molly Simpson, MA Innovation Management

"Deep narrative change is being increasingly recognised as a disciplinary approach that can inform and accelerate the transition from sustainability to regenerative practice.

This research highlights the potential of targeted experiences which elicit narrative immersion and transportation to activate regenerative principles in design and innovation communities, at the level of the mindset of practitioners. The research question to guide this exploration is: How can targeted interventions informed by deep narrative change approaches contribute to the regenerative potential of design and innovation practice?"

Animation of child with white stick and adult approaching kiosk named 'Step Sensation'
Emma Brohan, MA Narrative Environments

Emma Brohan, MA Narrative Environments

"Step Sensation is a multi-sensory walking tour experience that creates a playful outdoor activity for visually impaired children and their families and friends. Step Sensation is for visually impaired children between the ages of 7 to 12 years old. The featured pilot event took place at the Merchant Line, More London, on the Thames near London Bridge. The visitor embarks on a tactile journey through London’s maritime history, discovering places and finding treasures.

This project responds to the lack of accessible activities for visually impaired children. The objective is to develop a more inclusive city where everyone can be included in cultural activities."

Explore the entire Reconstruct Dialogue: Participation and Interaction collection.

Catherine Yuhui Li is a London-based curator, painter and alum of MA Culture, Criticism and Curation.