Thinking with agency: Barcelona

Thinking with agency – towards a materialization of a new materialist politics, Santamònica, Barcelona, 20-22 November 2017

I am pleased to be participating as an artist in a training school organised by COST Action IS1307, New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’. With a focus on political activism, “this training school looks for materializing affects that can conform new experimental changes  to transform classical notions of politics into new platforms for agitation… The political potential of New Materialism remains to be actualized. In light of the turbulent times we live in, environmentally as well as politically, such new patterns of politics urgently need to materialise.”  With opening dialogues between Maria Tamboukou & Iris van der TuinFelicity Colman & Brigitte Bargetz, Gala Pin & Whitney Stark.


Art & Deep Time Radiation: Umeå

Roundtable Discussion, Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden, 19 November 2016

A discussion about art and the deep time of radiation to accompany the Perpetual Uncertainty exhibition. Short presentations by artists and nuclear scholars will take place in the Bildmuseet Flexi-hall, followed by a series of small roundtable discussions bringing together a range of disciplinary perspectives on the nuclear, including artists and people working on the long-term storage of radioactive waste in Europe. The event is inspired by James Acord’s roundtable that he built in his Hanford studio, USA 1999, to bring together environmentalists and people from the nuclear industry to discuss the clean up of the Hanford site.

Introduced by Ele Carpenter and chaired by John O’Brian, with Roundtable facilitators in Bildmuseet and HumLab: Thomson & CraigheadDeep Time Consultation, Jantine SchröderRemote Sensing Radiation, Susan Schuppli; Nuclear Anthropocene, Peter C van Wyck; Intergenerational responsibility, Johan SwahnCamera Atomica: Radiation and Photography, John O’Brian; Deep Time Microfiche, Dave Griffiths.

Invited participants will include artists, film-makers, activists, policy makers, professionals engaged in nuclear research and radioactive waste management. In addition members of the public with an interest in nuclear issues, deep time, art and radiation will be able to buy tickets online.

Perpetual Uncertainty: Umeå

Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden, 2 October 2016- 16 April 2017

Perpetual Uncertainty / Contemporary Art in the Nuclear Anthropocene brings together artists from Europe, Japan, the USA and Australia to investigate experiences of nuclear technology, radiation and the complex relationship between knowledge and the deep time.

The artworks explore how nuclear weapons and nuclear power has influenced our interpretation of concepts such as archives, memory, knowledge and time. How can we understand and visualise the ungraspable timeframe of radioactive half-life? How can we archive and communicate knowledge about radioactivity from generation to generation, hundreds of thousands of years into the future?

Curated by Ele Carpenter (Goldsmiths/Arts Catalyst), with artists: James Acord, Shuji Akagi, Lise Autogena & Joshua Portway, Erich Berger and Mari Keto, Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Don’t Follow the Wind, Finger Pointing Worker, Dave Griffiths, Isao Hashimoto, Erika Kobayashi, David Mabb, Cécile Massart, Eva and Franco Mattes, Yelena Popova, Susan Schuppli, Shimpei Takeda, Kota Takeuchi, Thomson & Craighead, Suzanne Treister, Andy Weir, Robert Williams and Bryan McGovern Wilson, and Ken + Julia Yonetani.

The exhibition includes a programme of films, open discussions and talks by researchers and experts. The film programme presents art films, documentaries and feature film by Todd Chandler, Jeff Stark, Eva and Franco Mattes, Merilyn Fairskye, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, Peter Galison and Rob Moss, Karen Kramer, Akira Kurosawa, Fredrik Oskarsson, Cécile Massart, and Jane and Louise Wilson.

The exhibition is accompanied by The Nuclear Culture Source Book, a collaboration between Bildmuseet, Arts Catalyst and Black Dog Publishing.

Film Material: Supernormal

Review by Mary Stark: Film Material was delighted to be invited to take up residence in the all new Vortex stage at Supernormal Festival, 5 – 7 August 2016, presenting expanded filmic performances, screenings and projections that animated the space throughout the weekend.

Vortex, Supernormal Festival, 2016

We were pleased to feature work by artists Mary Stark, Nick Jordan, Lord Mongo, David Chatton Barker and Sam McLoughlin, plus screenings from Chris Paul Daniels, Clara Casian, Joe Duffy, Dave Griffiths, and a short film programme curated by Nick Jordan (Back Roads to Far Places).

Lord Mongo ‘MERZMONGO’ – a film by Nick Jordan

Kicking off proceedings on the Friday night was Lord Mongo, with The Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers, presenting an improvised electronic and vocal performance to the expanded version of Nick Jordan’s film MERZMONGO (2016), originally made for ‘Film is Dead, Long Live Dada’ festival at the ICA. Featuring stream-of-consciousness vocals, Babylonian masks, and one forlorn, masticated, bug-eyed ferret marionette, the stupefying/electrifying Lord Mongo kicked off the residency with wild and deranged abandon.


Mary Stark & David Chatton Barker’s 16mm performance encompassed three separate works: Boing – springs sourced from abandoned film projectors transform into 16mm photograms with optical sound and live spriinngggg action. Then Solar Spell – saluting the sun through fogged and scorched film with optical sound, pre-arranged soundscape and live lens based light play. Finally, Bread – a filmic ritual giving thanks to tactile magic and domestic alchemy, the craft of making bread. Premiering at Supernormal, the 16mm performances were made only this year at Film Farm in Ontario, Canada, and were shown at Film Farm as well as at CineCycle in Toronto.

00266.MTS_7.jpgMary Stark & David Chatton Barker

 On Saturday, following film screenings from Film Material artists Chris Paul Daniels, Clara Casian, and Dave Griffiths, Mary Stark’s Film as Fabric performance summoned the obsolete industries through 16mm film projection with optical sound, mechanical noise and sounds associated with the production of cloth. Incorporating audience participation and live stitching into 16mm film stock, the work made great use of the dramatic, triangular Vortex space, with multiple projections and light.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mary Stark Film as Fabric

Following Sunday’s screening of experimental short film programme, Back Roads to Far Places, curated by Nick Jordan, collaborative duo David Chatton Barker and Sam McLoughlin enacted their Cognitive liberation happenings and ritual instruments performance. A mysterious, exploratory, alchemical, visual and sonic transformation of everyday objects, rudimentary electronics, instruments and natural elements.



In partnership with BEEF (Bristol Experimental Expanded Film), Mary Stark concluded the weekend festival residency with Your Cup of Tea,  a 16mm film with original soundtrack, plus live sound including a whistling kettle and clattering tea cups, and of course freshly brewed cups of tea, served to the audience in BEEF’s Cephalopod space, located in the Supernormal woods…


Mary Stark, Your Cup of Tea (photo courtesy BEEF)


Nuclear Cultures: HADES

Arts Catalyst & Z33 House for Contemporary Arts, Belgium, 11 – 13 July 2016

A field trip to HADES, Belgium’s underground research lab in Mol, for geologic disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Organised by Nuclear Cultures project in with Z33 (Hasselt), and ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgian agency for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials), artists Kota Takeuchi, Andy Weir, Dave Griffiths and curators Ils Huygens and Ele Carpenter spent 3 days visiting Z33 and meeting Christoph Depaus, Maarten Van Geet and Jantine Schröder at SCK.

I organised Deep Field [Club Golf Nuclea Mol] – an art-science golfing dialogue reflecting on time as underground moles in the HADES research bunker, and re-enacting leisure pursuits of post-war nuclear workers. I’m collecting thoughts and feelings on future mattering of time and space implied by burying, and co-existing with, nuclear waste. I’m producing content for Deep Field [Unclear Zine], a microfiche fanzine collaging poetry, drawing, data, photographs and interviews that attempts to translate the contemporary radioactive waste repository for far-future readers, as a folkloric site of conflict and unknowing. 

The HADES lab was constructed in 1980, at 255 metres underground, to research possibilities of geological disposal in deep clay strata. Like underground facilities in France, Sweden and Japan, the research lab is not intended to be used as a final repository for radioactive waste. Hades is also the Greek god of the underworld.