Composting Estate 2019 - 2020

a series of seminars examining processes and materials of composition and decomposition of place
Fridays 29 November, 13 December 2019, 10 & 24 January, 7 & 21 February, 6 March 2020
10.30 – 13.00 in Room A002
20 March 2020
17.00 - 19.30 in Room D113

Central Saint Martins
King’s Cross
Granary Square
London N1C 4AA


In Spring 2019 sensingsite at Central Saint Martins organized Approaching Estate. The event sought to examine creative methodologies in relation to an expanded idea of ‘estate’. It was launched with What on Earth is the Ground, a lecture by Professor Tim Ingold, followed at Furtherfield Commons by three days of presentations, performances and screenings by research academics and professionals, artists, activists and students. This new seminar programme, Composting Estate, will present new research generated out of Approaching Estate. 

There will be a Turning by Difference Exchange at the start of each seminar.


Forthcoming presentations

24 January 2020
Pat Naldi (CSM) Who Owns the Sea?
Julie Marsh (University of Westminster) Investigating the Interface between Muslim Prayer Sites and Artistic Interventions
more details

7 February 2020

Adriana Cobo-Carey (CSM) On the negotiation of performance projects for the privately owned Granary Square, KX Estate, 2015  2020
Fay Hoolahan (independent) After the park: reflections on ‘estate’ as site of recollection

21 February 2020

Judy Price (Kingston University) The End of the Sentence
Kate Corder (independent) Composting plot ecology, plant material, earthing and unearthing toads

6 March 2020

Helena Hunter/Mark Peter Wright (Matterlurgy) Water, air and ice: elemental composting across arts and science
John Wild (Queen Mary University) Psychogeography in the Digital City

20 March 2020

Volkhardt Mueller/John Wylie (The Common Line) Testing the Biological-Digital Apparatus of The Common Line

Jérémie Magar (independent) Working on a line: around N17

Previous presentations

29 November 2019

John Hartley (independent) 
Wave as Tool
Stills from Phone on Swimmer's Arm in Walpole Bay

Wave as Tool was a performance lecture given by John Hartley, which shared forms of knowledge developed through making art works in the sea.

The performance presented wave shapes as forms of nested change, which are evident in different materialist contexts and infrastructures including the sea, consumer technology, and knowledge processes including art. The spoken text started with very short snippets, which slowly increased in size, growing more substantial and coherent, before then decreasing in size again. Playing alongside the spoken text was a looped swimming film, made using an obsolete mobile phone strapped to a swimmer’s arm.

Wave shapes were explored as patterns of emergence and collapse nested within each other and encountered in the restless marine environment, technological infrastructures and collective subjectivities including universities and arts practices. They entangled and ‘diffracted’ each other in patterns of complex knowledge.

The text can be found here:    

The film, made at Walpole Bay Seapool using a Nokia 6210 navigator from 2008, can be viewed here 

Susan Trangmar (Central Saint Martins)
From Topography to Topology: a Line of Enquiry
This seminar presentation addresses the question: how can a processual art practice based in lens imaging help us to question representation of landscape as a fixed topographical entity? Starting with reference to a specific geographic, geological and environmental site, usage of a mobile phone camera as the fulcrum of a performative activity produces artwork as itself an unfolding landscape which emerges from a material process of change.   

See also:

For further information see:
Trangmar S., 'From Topography to Topology' in Fragmentation of the Image in the Digital Age, Routledge 2019  and 
Trangmar S.,  'A Twist of Thought' in Journal of Philosophy of Photography (forthcoming) Vol. 10, 2020.

13 December 2019

Steven Ball (CSM) 
Amateur Archaeology

Beirut 1957, Terry Ball - it is possible that the written caption reads 'from Lords...', Lord's Hotel was built in the 1950s and has since been demolished, see here 

In this presentation I return to the work of my uncle Terry Ball to excavate aspects of his life history which formed the development of what was to become his professional work as a reconstruction artist for English Heritage. The presentation is based around a collection of photographs taken by Terry during his time working on archaeological excavations in Palestine and the 'Holy Land'.

Louise Fowler (Museum of London Archaeology) 
Once Upon a Time in the City

Louise is an archaeologist with MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). At Approaching Estate, she co-presented the Dzhangal Archaeology Project with archaeologist Sarah Mallet and photographer Gideon Mendel. This contemporary archaeology of an assemblage collected from the site of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais has since inspired some reflection on more traditional archaeological practice. For Composting Estate, Once Upon a Time in the City traces the ways in which different conceptions of time and place are experienced and made visible through the excavation and recording of a Roman clay and timber building found below an office and wine bar in the City of London.

10 January 2020

Ingrid Pumayalla (independent) Cantos al Agua: Gathering Organic Matter to Fertilise the Land

Greer MacKeogh (Chelsea School of Art) Acts of Hospitality
more details


Steven Ball is an artist and Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins.

Adriana Cobo-Corey Trained as an architect and scenographer, Adriana currently works on critical performance practice for public space in London 

Dr Kate Corder independent artist and researcher is currently exploring micro economies and larger ecologies through human and non-human activity. Global warming of the large object planet Earth has a knock on affect in the allotment garden. Seeds may or may not grow and this is reflected through artistic practice.

Difference Exchange (Ben Eastop, Tim Eastop, and John Hartley)
Difference Exchange helps different worldviews consider flux, disruption and emergence.
By placing critical artistic practice in provocative contexts, we connect participants to share insights and skills with fresh disciplinary, social and geo-cultural perspectives. The resultant outputs aim to progress the role of the arts, strengthen interdisciplinary networks and exchange creative insights and practical applications. 

Louise Fowler MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) is an archaeologist based in London with an interest in field methodology, urban landscapes and borders.
John Hartley is an artist-researcher interested in the shapes and speeds of change in human and more than human contexts.

Fay Hoolahan is an independent artist and filmmaker, whose work and research explores questions of place, landscape, memory and identity.  

Jérémie Magar After having studied History and Fine Arts, I chose the video medium to carry my investigations, creating a hybrid approach between documentary and video-art that I constantly challenge reflecting on methodology. In the productive tension between the limits of the medium and the desire for constructed narratives, I create films and installations looking at collective memory, persistence of conflicts, disputed territories and the relationship between aesthetics forms and political identity.

Dr Julie Marsh is Senior Lecturer and researcher at CREAM (The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media).Through the exploration of real and representational space she investigates how technical machines can perform site, creating critical experiences for audiences that open debate and question social spaces.

Matterlurgy is a collaborative practice between London based artists Helena Hunter and  Dr Mark Peter Wright. Their work critically and creatively explores the intersections of art, ecology, science and technology: operating across multiple platforms including installation, performance and sound.

Greer McKeogh  is an artist-researcher studying at UAL. Her practice-based PhD considers the relationship between the guest and the host in arts practice.  

Volkhardt Müller is a member of Blind Ditch collective and initiator of the Common Line project.

Dr Pat Naldi is an artist and lecturer in MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins, UAL.
Ingrid Pumayalla is a visual artist currently undertaking the Pilotenkueche Arts Residency Program in Leipzig, Germany. 

Dr Judy Price is course leader of MA Photography at Kingston University. Her practice is concerned with how art can produce different ways of thinking about contested landscapes and engage with collective struggles. In ‘The End of the Sentence’ she will talk about current body of work that engages with women and prison and the closure of Holloway Prison.

Susan Trangmar is an artist and Reader in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Her current research  concerns the possibility of an embodied and processual practice of landscape formation.

John Wild has just completed a PhD in Media and Arts Technology (MAT), Queen Mary University of London. His practice investigates the spatial aesthetics that new circuits of digitality are bringing forth within the urban environment. 

Professor John Wylie is Professor of Cultural Geography at University of Exeter; he is interested in the development of landscape theory in geography, and more broadly in geographies of visual art, writing, haunting and performance. 

Composting Estate is organised by sensingsite at Central Saint Martins Winter 2019/Spring 2020

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