Organising an exhibition of this scale requires team work and to take the germ of an idea through to the hanging and opening involves hours of work for many people. However our Exhibition Convenor for DIS/rupt is Sarah Burgess, well known as an artist and tutor and it has been her role, amongst many others, to maintain an overview of all the details and keep the project moving forward. As well as the organisation Sarah has also found time to produce work for the exhibition. At our recent weekend meeting Sarah spent a lot of time discussing with various members different aspects of the work needing to be done to have the exhibition open as planned. So I was really pleased that despite her busy schedule Sarah was able to sit and tell me about her piece for DIS/rupt. I started by asking her which area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring?
I am working with ideas about global warming and the disruption that will result due to rising sea levels.
Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt?
I am making two pieces of work to reflect the likely effect of a 2 degree and a 4 degree rise in global temperatures and the resulting increase in sea levels on ten world cities.
What are the materials and processes that you are working with?
I am using the differing properties of fibres in a range of hand stitch threads to wick dye up into a piece of stitched cotton organdie so that it gradually turns blue drowning in dye and picking out the white stitching so that the words and statistics become more visible before they disappear into the cloth. The results are unpredictable it all depends on the temperature and the dampness of the fabric. But this reflects the risk and uncertainty of global warming and the unpredictable nature of the flooding.
One piece of cloth is being dyed now but the other will be dyed during the course of the exhibition, changing its appearance during the exhibition.
Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?
I expect there to be two pieces about 140 long by 54 wide – but we will see!
Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?
Mounted away from the wall on brackets – I think
What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?
I hope the work will bring a difficult scientific statistical subject to life and demonstrate the literal flooding process. I cannot be sure what will happen with the dye, it is risky and full of uncertainty – as is the risk of burning of fossil fuels and ignoring the danger of global warming.
You are one of the TSG tutors running workshops during the DIS/rupt exhibition, briefly, what can your students expect from the class?
I am running two half day workshops entitled Lost and Found – disrupted which will give students a chance to build a collection of mono-printed papers and fabrics. We will cut and piece the papers, disrupting and overlaying cut-outs on cloth to build a collaged piece of work and beginning to stitch into the piece to secure and develop the design. Students can either bring their own found objects to work from or use the items I provide.
Students will be able to complete the piece in their own time.
That sounds very exciting Sarah and I am sure visitors will be fascinated to see how your piece changes during the course of the exhibition. Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to talk to me.