First are images from some of Rob’s favourite projects and exhibitions, curated and developed by him working with the team at The Arts Catalyst going backwards to 1997.
Rob travelled to the US border to meet Los Ferronautas, Ivan Puig and Andres Padilla Domene and and went with the road-rail vehicle to White Sands Desert. The SEFT came to the UK and was shown outside FACT, Liverpool as part of the AND Festival and at Furtherfield, London:
Here is more about the project:
Beware of Trains and Fracking!
Meanwhile Rob had been working with the artists group Hehe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen to develop the Artists Rail Network) starting with series of site-specific rail vehicles for the Petite Ceinture, Paris and the first passenger Railway line in the world in Manchester:
Rob also worked with Hehe to develop Fracking Futures at FACT in Liverpool:
Declaring the Republic
Cultural attitudes to the moon:
This imagined how artists would not only make work on or about the Moon but about our cultural attitudes to the Moon:
Here is a short video of Rob talking about Republic of the Moon:
Here is an interview by Rob with Agnes Meyer-Brandis about the making of her Moon Goose Analogue:
Artists between Species
Interview with the late Nicolas Primat here:
This series of projects started with a research project with the late Nicolas Primat visiting zoos with Rob around the UK, an exhibition, Interspecies in Manchester and London and the making of the new work Primate Cinema- Apes as Family with Rachel Mayeri, shown in Liverpool, London and Edinburgh. Here is more information about Interspecies in Manchester, and here are some videos from those projects:
The Making of Primate Cinema, Rachel Mayeri:
The trailer from Primate Cinema:
Taking to the Skies
The Artists Airshow took place over 3 editions and was the world’s first airshow by artists. Here are 2 videos of the 2nd and 3rd airshow and an extract from Simon Faithfull’s vehicle number 6, the famous first ‘chair in space’:
Also here was Tomas Saraceno’s Poetic Cosmos of the Breath, inflated at dawn at Gunpowder Park on the edge of London:
Wild Science in India
In 2007 Rob was curator in residence at Srishti School of Art Design and Techology. He initiated the first Space and the Arts Conference in India here and the first SymbioticA bio-art workshop in India here as well as running a student course entitled Wild Science.
In 1999 Rob was the first curator to fly in Zero Gravity. He was given a week’s notice to get to Russia and jump on the Ilyushin MDK 76, invited by Dragan Zhivadinov and Marko Peljhan. Here he is looking worried (left below). The Arts Catalyst went on to fly 50 projects by artists and scientists, including by the Turner-prize-nominated Otolith Group (Anjali Sagar right below, from Otolith 1). Here is his video compilation of these flights, made for the Free Enterprise exhibition in 2013:
This was one of the larger-scale projects done by The Arts Catalyst, as the opening event at the re-opening of London’s Roundhouse, featuring “Gravity by Aleksandra Mir, ‘Spacebaby by London Fieldworks and a Mars analogue by N55 and Neal White as well as appearances by Laurie Anderson, Jerry Dammers and Alan Bean, artist and fourth man on the Moon. You can find out more here: Space Soon: Art and Human Spaceflight
Taking place at London’s Natural History Musem and Gallery Oldham, this featured Gina Czarnecki, Neal White, Brandon Ballengee and Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa. You can find out more here: Clean Rooms, London.
It was just before Steve Kurtz was wrongly arrested by the FBI, triggering a worldwide campaign for his innocence. See an interview with Steve Kurtz here.
Rob spent 3 months working in the Scottish Highlands on Marko Peljhan’s Makrolab project, ferrying supplies to the artists and scientists living there, in another of The Arts Catalyst’s more ambitious projects here.
Heading for Atomic City
In the first major project Rob worked on at the Arts Catalyst, he headed to Hanford, Washington with founder Nicola Triscott to find the worlds first ‘Atomic Artist’ , the late Jim Acord. This project was a formative project which inspired author James Flint to go ‘Looking for Acord’ and continues to this date with fellow associate curator Ele Carpenter’s project ‘Nuclear Culture’.
Jim Acord at Hanford, the only artist to own nuclear fuel rods, carrying out an inspection:
Here is material from the more distant past, some projects Rob did from 1987-97.
The Incident, Belluard Bollwerk Festival 1995, Switzerland and The ICA, London 1996. Tracey Warr describes The Incident Conference in Switzerland here.
At the ICA James Turrell’s Gasworks was shown, creating long queues along The Mall:
Here is a very early website designed by Sholto Ramsay about The Incident at The ICA (Beware flashing!)
Publicity for the Incident in Switzerland and the ICA:
Earthwire was a radical event in the heart of the North-eastern countryside in the UK that featured outdoor lucid dreaming experiments, live séances, robots and dark matter. Curated with Tracey Warr it featured Bruce Gilchrist (pictured below), Kathleen Rogers, Jozefa Rogoki and Rena Tangens.
The EDGE Biennale happened in 1988, 1990 and 1992 founded by Rob. Taking place in a festival format, it took place in London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Madrid and featured many international artists now celebrated in the mainstream artworld.
Artists included Stuart Brisley, Carolee Schneemann, Helen Chadwick Mona Hatoum, Ulrike Rosenbach, Alastair Maclennan, Rose Garrad, Silvia Ziranek, Jerzy Beres, Zbigniew Warpechowski, Isaac Julien, Mike Parr, Guillermo Gomez Pena, Guillaume Bijl, Ria Paquee, Mike Henson, Richard Wilson, Marina Abramovic, Cornelia Parker, Stelarc, Cesare Pietrousti, David Cerny, Muntadas, and many others.
Pictured is Blood Hyphen, by Helen Chadwick, curated by Rob and shown in at the Clerkenwell Medical Mission in 1988.
Blood Hyphen. Copyright Locus+ Archive
Previous to the EDGE Biennale Rob curated a series of performance events at the former AIR Gallery called At the Edge, including performance/installations by Mona Hatoum and many others, including work by Bow Gamelan Ensemble, who also featured in Performance Magazine’s event Art in Danger at the Diorama, when Rob was Editor.
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