This year Wigan STEAM selected Cath Garvey to undertake the Natus residency. During the residency Cath worked on a short comic entitled 'Alien Agency', which was written by Cath and her sister Sarah. The story follows Fran, an outspoken nerd who has always been too busy looking for aliens to have any friends; and Dakota, who is an alien disguised as a human.
This exhibition brings together video, photography and sculptural work that explores the effect of Alzheimer’s disease on the way we see, interpret and understand the world around us through the eyes of Martha, a fictional character living with Alzheimer’s disease.
As Martha moves into a care home, she re-experiences moments of her life unfolding within her family house. From moments of personal significance to seemingly incidental memories, the exhibition presents a series of fragmented portraits of Martha’s life with Alzheimer’s, which slowly reveal the disconnect between her perception and reality. Four female figures play out these moments across stark stages that resonate with both domestic environments and care homes, constructed from scaffold, concrete and fabric mesh. These disorienting spaces are at the same time hauntingly familiar: environments in a constant state of flux inhabited by ambiguous figures whose identities are never fully revealed.
The Abyssal Glow is an immersive sound and macro-video installation, which allows you to step inside a living ecosystem of bubbles. Enter an intimate, impossible microcosm that we as humans cannot physically experience, and observe each individual bubble form, grow, pop and collapse. As you float through this universe of bubbles, the space you find yourself in becomes deceiving in scale. The cosmic beauty of these micro-hyperreal happenings enables you to experience the wonders of life at a different scale, and question the boundary between the real and the unreal.
The Abyssal Glow was created from a series of experiments studying the growth of bubbles. The project was supported by Signal Film and Media, Dr Kei Takashina and Dr Andrew Rhead, Chris Ball and Professor Timothy Leighton.
Daniel Roberts’ Distort Displace focuses on the idea that dreams are a snapshot into the inner working of the mind and the unconscious. Using a combination of 3D motion capture, scanning technology, and video interviews of people talking about their dreams, the digital animation and prints presented in this exhibition explore how subtle fluctuations in speech and movement can indicate what lies beneath the public face.
Sound and the electromagnetic spectrum make up much of what you see, hear and perceive. This information is communicated to you through the medium of waves. These waves exist everywhere but we only experience a tiny fraction of them; approximately 0.0035%. This vast and boundless hidden world is all around us - welcome to the lonely sea. Dustin has been fascinated with waves for as long as he can remember but what interests him the most is how and why we perceive them at all. All of our senses are tuned to specific wavelengths within the spectrum, dictating how we experience the world and more importantly allowing us to survive and flourish. Everything you have ever said and heard, the art you have seen and everything you have felt, were sent to you on a wave. This exhibition intends to reveal this hidden world and showcase waves in all their glory.
‘We Fight for The Future of Our Nation’ is a digital video and sculpture installation exploring what constitutes ‘the mob’. The work takes inspiration from speeches given by Keir Hardie M.P. in the 1900s at theatres on King Street, Wigan, which are now night clubs. The installation will feature over 150 Toby Jugs, some of which are being made by members of the local community.
‘We are unfashioned creatures, but half made up’ - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
What will happen after humans are extinct and robots are no longer functioning? What on earth will evolve? Keith Bloody Mary imagines a world where nature claims back the planet, and hybrid creatures grow from the things our species leaves behind. Keith Bloody Mary uses photo-collage to create humorous and often ridiculous pieces of work. Using only images from found magazines and cut and paste techniques, Keith Bloody Mary pieces together new life forms, like a 21st Century Dr Frankenstein.
This exhibition is the culmination of Keith Bloody Mary’s month long residency at Wigan STEAM. During this time, Keith worked on the collages presented here alongside delivering workshops with members of the community - during which participants made work to be featured in a collaborative zine.
Taking its name from the Latin for flower machine, ‘Florum Machina’ presents a number of interactive sculptures, alongside a series of botanical illustrations which informed their creation. Inspired by the machines and contraptions designed by cartoonists Rube Goldberg and W. Heath Robinson, centrepiece of the exhibition ‘The Flower Machine’ is a curious blend of the organic and technological. Drawings within the machine are based on historical botanical illustrations of wild flowers and plants found around the UK - Chapman’s usage of Latin in titling the show pays homage to these original illustrations.
‘Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate’ presents a series of prints which reference our relationship with technology.
Cultural manifestations of technology often outlast their material use. ‘Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate’ is such an example. The phrase was printed on IBM punch card, and became a metaphor for alienation and dehumanisation as part of American 1960’s counterculture.
Clare works directly with nineteenth and early twentieth century coding technology artefacts such as textile jacquards, musical box discs and IBM punch cards. These ‘host’ materials have a presence and a history. Faded and sometimes fragile, often rusted, warped, pungent, ripped and torn, they impact upon the senses and are the ancestors of our digital world.
“I’m interested in the idea of a ‘cultural lag’ in our understanding of advancing technology. It’s easy to feel fear, frustration, and a sense of being left behind, as our lives become increasingly mediated through machines. My work speaks to society’s shift away from manufacturing towards the service, knowledge and information sectors. Obsolescence, loss, and change influence this reflective work.”
These ethereal black and white images disconnect and re-connect us with our bodies and our reality. 'I Shall Walk Softly There' takes it's title from Theodore Roethke's 1953 poem 'The Waking' and features black and white oil paintings that take radiology scans of various cancers as their starting point. Athene explores the devastation of disease alongside the beauty of its imaging. She reveals the emotional charge of scientific imagery by capturing it in her painting, creating new dialogues with taboo and death. Her images have an abstract beauty which seems at odds with their bodily subject matter, but they fascinate by showing the closeness of the living and the abject.