What art have I seen? We are Compost

Posted in Exhibitions, Producing by chrisfremantle on August 5, 2022

We are Compost at the Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow, part of the programme put together for the World Congress of Soil Science.

The exhibition features the first UK showing of Asad Raza’s work Absorption, in which cultivators create and nurture 60 tonnes of artificial soil created from recycled and other waste materials. This neosoil is then offered freely to visitors to use for their own domestic and community projects. Gaia Glossary, a research installation curated by Alexandra Toland and Lea Wittich brings together literature, resources, tools and objects encouraging a composting of knowledge into the soil for the growth of new ideas. Finally, Eating the Ancestors, is an interactive installation by artist Désirée Coral following her Colonial Seeds research with the Glasgow Seed Library, focusing on what we inherited from generations past to further understand what can be generated from what already exists and what we can do for the collective WE.

Over the week being an interpreter for Newton Harrison’s On the Deep Wealth of this Nation, Scotland, also had a chance to check out documentation of Soil and Soul, a project by Propagate across seven communities in Glasgow. This really sets a standard for engagement by a major international environment conference – very different from the usual ‘fly in fly out’. The team from Propagate working with the British Society of Soil Scientists engaged and connected with communities across Glasgow on the importance of soil, making compost, seed bombing, etc.

Newton Harrison’s On the Deep Wealth was really well received by the Congress attendees. The responded to the maps and the text often reading the whole work. Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, interviewed Newton in advance of the Congress and that recording plus more information on the work is available on The Barn’s website.

Reflections on Health Hackathon

Posted in Arts & Health, News by chrisfremantle on April 29, 2014

Hacking health in Glasgow (tempted to make a joke about smokers).  Sunday evening 6pm.  After 48 hrs at The Hub on the banks of the Clyde.  Lots of very dried out sandwiches, empty red bull cans and laptops.  Blog posts are always better with pictures.  Sorry I didn’t take one of empty pizza boxes.

But seriously, ten really interesting and pretty diverse approaches to making a difference to health in Glasgow through playing with data. Ten teams all hoping for £20k to get their project off the ground.

The presentations that really worked showed us something in prototype – it was more compelling and somehow we believed that they could deliver. And WOW was the pitch important! Paint a picture in the mind, show us something that looked plausible. Don’t get lost in the tech.

The point was to use open data to innovate. Sometimes that’s making a connection that no-one else has yet made, a bit leftfield. So my two takeaways were:

  • once you have an idea, look again at all the datasets available and see if there is a way to add value.
  • don’t forget the physical environment that you’re focused on – the smartphone isn’t the only interface with the city.
  • and it may seem really obvious but definitely ask the people involved what their challenges are. It’s very compelling when you see the challenges faced by professionals, communities and interest groups being taken into account.

There were strong arguments to support at least half of the pitches, and if you didn’t win it doesn’t mean we weren’t impressed. Some of these projects would make my life better, so I really hope they come through.

This is part of the TSB Future City Demonstrator, You can find my blog in preparation for the Health Hack blog-for-open-glasgow-health-hack-v2.

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