Fernando Garcia Dory, N55, Magdalena Starska, Mikey Tomkins, Caitlin & Andrew Webb Ellis, Julia Wilmott
Urban Organisms examined and creatively explored food sustainability in cities. Working across a range of approaches the project provided a space for conversation and ideas. Connecting up the environmental, socio-economic and political dimensions of urban food production and consumption, the NewBridge Project Space acted as a hub for this activity including film screenings, participatory workshops, walks and talks.
NewBridge Project Space hosted an exhibition on the subject of urban food sustainability featuring work by Fernando Garcia Dory, N55, Magdalena Starska, Mikey Tomkins, Caitlin & Andrew Webb Ellis and Julia Wilmott.
Urban Organisms is a collaborative project developed and curated by arts producer Lauren Healey, and artists Sabina Sallis and Julia Heslop through NewBridge Programme Committee.
Urban Organisms has been kindly supported by Arts Council England; The Institute for Hazard, Risk and Resilience, Durham University; Newcastle University Alumni Association Student Initiative Fund; NPS design, print, web.
Mikey Tomkins works as an academic researcher, artist and consultant in the field of urban sustainability and urban agriculture. His PhD researched food growing in community food gardens on London housing estates. Currently, he is working as a consultant in the US and Uganda, developing urban agriculture projects in under-resourced communities, specifically refugees. Previously, he worked for Sustain as a project officer, developing community beekeeping in London as part of the Capital Growth food gardening project. He has developed the Edible Map project to help bridge the divide between academic and policy work around food and cities, and the everyday lived experience of cities from the viewpoint of the resident.
N55 is a Copenhagen-based art collective founded in 1994. N55’s core message is about freedom and the dissipation of ownership, “but it was also about mobility, about not disturbing your environment, and about not having to own land.” N55’s ‘manuals’ range from topics such as land, rooms, shop, factory, work, to snail shell systems, small fish farms, and hygiene systems. N55 freely distributes these schemes and instructions through their website.
Fernando García-Dory´s (b. 1978) work engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature now, as manifested in multiple contexts, from landscape and the rural, to desires and expectations concerned with identity, through to (global) crisis, utopia and the potential for social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology in Madrid and Amsterdam, and now preparing his PhD on Agroecology. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages such as drawing to collaborative agroecological projects, actions, and cooperatives. He is currently working and preparing exhibitions with Casco Projects Utrecht, Cambridge University, Casa Gallina Mexico City, and HIAP Helsinki. He will be presenting his main current work, INLAND.org at this year Istanbul Biennale, and recovering an abandoned village in the mountains north of Spain as headquarters for the project.
Julia Wilmott (b.1986) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in the North East of England. She has a BA in Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art (2009). Her current work examines the impact of an ever-growing dehumanization of the food industry and investigates the socio-political value ascribed to food by both small communities and the global food market. Previous projects include ‘Rural Export’, which explored the social fabric of a contemporary Lakeland landscape, shaped by tourism and the hospitality trade as much as traditional farming. It was developed over a period of 6 months with the community, and involved the invention of a cheese, made from the iconic Herdwick sheep.
Magdalena Starska was born in 1980 in Poznan, Poland, where she lives and works. Starska is an artist who seemingly works without a plan; open to changeable reality, she is at all times ready to carry out an unexpected project. Starska consiously positions herself as a medium in between what’s internal and individual and what belongs to the social and common realm. The rituals she is interested in come are close to everyday reality, and those she wants to create are city-bound, modern and inspirational.
Webb-Ellis are British/Canadian artist filmmakers working largely in film, installation, and performance. They are currently resident artists at Crescent Arts in Scarborough. Their recent work investigates the problem of representation, the act of perception, and the boundaries between self and other.
Image: Magdalena Starska, For Calming, (c) photograph Dominik Ritszel