Composting Estate 2019 - 2020

a series of seminars examining processes and materials of composition and decomposition of place
November 2019 - July 2020 
Central Saint Martins
King’s Cross
Granary Square
London N1C 4AA

Steven Ball, Adriana Cobo-Corey, Kate Corder, Difference Exchange 
(Ben Eastop, Tim Eastop, and John Hartley), Louise Fowler, John Hartley, Fay Hoolahan, Greer MacKeogh, Jeremie Magar, Julie Marsh, Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright), Pat Naldi, Judy Price, Ingrid Pumayalla, Susan Trangmar, John Wild

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. 

The Composting Estate seminars consisted of presentations of research that had arisen as a development of Approaching Estate. 

Each seminar was prefaced by a Turning by Difference Exchange which is currently being prepared for online publication. Difference Exchange (Ben Eastop, Tim Eastop, and John Hartley) helps different worldviews consider fluxdisruption and emergenceBy 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. 


The presentations were documented, all recordings can be found here, links to abstracts, images and individual presentations can be found below.

29 November 2019
John Hartley and Susan Trangmar
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

John Hartley
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.

John Hartley is an artist-researcher interested in the shapes and speeds of change in human and more than human contexts.

Susan Trangmar
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.   

usan 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.

13 December 2019
Steven Ball and Louise Fowler
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

Steven Ball
Amateur Archaeology


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'.

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

Louise Fowler
Once Upon a Time in the City

At Approaching Estate, Louise 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.

Louise Fowler MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) is an archaeologist based in London with an interest in field methodology, urban landscapes and borders.

10 January 2020

Ingrid Pumayalla and Greer MacKeogh
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

Ingrid Pumayalla
Gathering Organic Matter to Fertilise the Land

Ingrid uses performance, photography, moving image and installations to address migration and diasporas, and how the loss of home re-structures and transforms identity. Her work explores the role of art in transforming and repairing loss. Ingrid is a recent graduate of MA Fine Art at CSM and has recently completed residencies in Norway and Germany.

Greer MacKeogh
Acts of Hospitality

Greer explores the relationship between the guest and the host in her project called The Hotel. This site-specific project takes place in two communities in Roscommon, a county in the midlands of Ireland, where the actual ‘hotel’ represents a contested space of hospitality. Through dialogues, exchanges, texts, films and photographic works, The Hotel focuses on everyday practices of hospitality and building relationships over time, exploring the historical and cultural conditions that lie beneath or behind her Irish identity of hospitality, against a backdrop of increasing anxiety in Ireland around hosting and welcoming ‘others’. Greer is an artist-researcher studying for her PhD at UAL.

24 January 2020
Pat Naldi and Julie Marsh
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

Pat Naldi
Who Owns the Sea? 

Pat engages with the [art] practice of site-specificity as contexts for and as research. Her works interrogate the politics of power and its symbolic and active enactment – aesthetic, spatial, social, economic. Who Owns the Sea? is the second in a trilogy of projects that investigate territorial ownership. In Who Owns the Land? (2016) the ownership of the UK’s most valuable asset is made transparent. In Who Owns the Sea? attention is turned towards the political contestation of territorial waters. 

Pat Naldi is a lecturer in MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins.

Julie Marsh
Assembly at Old Kent Road Mosque

For the approaching estates seminar series Julie presented Assembly at Brick Lane Mosque, a site-specific performance made with and for the mosque community. Since April 2019 Assembly has now moved to a new site; Old Kent Road Mosque renovated from a former pub in Southwark. Old Kent Road Mosque is due  for demolition/redevelopment in March 2020 to build a new Islamic centre for the community. It has been recognised by Historic England that the built heritage of marginalised and minority communities is under-represented in the heritage landscape of the nation. This research is now working with the V&A to build a digital archive of this site and community.  

Julie Marsh is an artist filmmaker, researcher and senior lecturer at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster. Julie studied at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, completing a PhD in 2017.

7 February 2020
Fay Hoolahan and John Wild
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

Fay Hoolahan
After the Park: Reflections on ‘Estate’ as a Site of Recollection

Fay’s work is concerned with the recording of the transient experience of place, investigating the temporal nature of landscape and exploring processes of disruption within ordered functional space. Following on from a performance/workshop which centred on the specific site of Finsbury Park, this presentation will discuss the findings of ongoing research into the making and archiving of ‘projected meanderings’ in the form of moving image content and audio recordings.

Fay Hoolahan is an artist and filmmaker, whose practice engages with questions of place, landscape, memory and identity. Recent projects include Great North Way and Talking Line Walks.

John Wild 
Psychogeography in the Digital City

John Wild will present his research, Psychogeography in the Digital City, which investigates the spatial impact of new circuits of digitality on the felt experience of the urban environment. Psychogeography in the Digital City is conceived both as a method of research and a practice of resistance.

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.  

28 February 2020
Kate Corder and Judy Price
full abstracts and documentation recording of the presentations

Kate Corder
Composting plot ecology, plant material, earthing and unearthing toads

Meanwhile at the plot a continuation of the practice of toad ecology (hunting evidence of lizards, toads and frogs) exists. On unearthing the compost bins (do we) discover who or what lives in them? Is it just the non-human life forms or are we making new earth? The experience of working on site will be discussed with a re-digging. 

Kate Corder (PhD) is an artist and researcher. Her work explores garden plots, place, site and ecologies constructed through human and non-human activity. Her varied methodologies include rural labour using gardening allotments. Previous recent work includes HOW – Heathrow Orchard Walks (2014-2016) and taking part in the Document Alternative project.

Judy Price
The End of the Sentence
Dr Judy Price discusses her current research on Holloway Women’s Prison which reflects on the impact of the criminal justice system on women and makes visible issues around gender, class, race and economy in the prison context. The End of the Sentence draws on individual and collective stories of the prison, through the networks, collaborations and relationships developed through the coalition group Reclaim Holloway, which has been actively campaigning for a Women’s Building on the former prison site since it was decommissioned in 2016.

Dr Judy Price is course leader of MA Photography at Kingston University and is a senior lecturer in Moving Image (BA) at the University of Brighton.. Her practice is concerned with how art can produce different ways of thinking about contested landscapes and engage with collective struggles.

Friday June 26 2020
Jeremie Magar and Adriana Cobo-Corey

Jeremie Magar
Towards Something: Walking on the N17 Line

What am I walking on? 

Is there something here, or nothing?  

Who drew this line? 

What can I say and what can I see on line?
This project was born out of a personal sense of emergency/unease with meaning (of all sorts: politics, biography, family, history, facts, false, etc.). If Tim Ingold establishes the genealogy of writing within traces and drawing practices, I struggle to see lines when I read articles printed on disposable materials or shining on the screen in today's context. 

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.

Adriana Cobo-Corey
Methodologies  for situated research on Granary Square, King's Cross 

I will be expanding on some of the methodologies  used for my PhD research  Taste Untold: Critical Performance Practice and Contemporary Public Space.  The presentation will outline the overall frame of the research, along its  basic aims and objectives, to then move on to discuss some of the methods used for conceiving and delivering performance interventions in Granary Square, the chosen research-practice site.

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

Friday 17 July, 2020 
(documentation available on request)

Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright (Matterlurgy) 
Water, Air and Ice: Elemental Composting Across Art and Science

This presentation followed on from Hunter and Wright’s project Rehearsals for Uncertain Futures, shared during sensingsite's Approaching Estate seminars in Spring 2019. For this session, they pivoted discussions around a new work on air pollution, created during a residency at Delfina Foundation, London, touching upon the relations of sites, bodies and anthropogenic materials, the role of simulation and technology within art and aesthetics and the ways in which experts and non-experts contribute to what an interdisciplinary inquiry is or can be.

Matterlurgy is a collaborative practice between London based artists Helena Hunter and 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.