The Present as the "Space" between the past and future: Video document of artwork commissioned by SciArt while in collaboration with Nicole Dewandre

Jill Townsley (Artist), Nicole Dewandre (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


This 24-min video outlines the year long research collaboration between Jill Townsley (artist) and Nicole Dewandre (scientist).

Jill is a SciArt Artist in Residence for the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC), and her collaboration with Nicole began in 2018, through their connection at the SciArt Summer School. In their earlier collaboration, Jill was inspired by Nicole’s academic work on Hannah Arendt, which led to the creation of a large sculptural installation that is prompted by the interaction of viewers within the sculptural space to trigger short videos to play related to work, labour and action – creating a relational sculpture with infinite combinations, which are only activated through public engagement.

During the Covid lockdown, Jill and Nicole began working together on a new collaboration, exploring transformative literacy in relationship to change, particularly relating to the climate change crisis. The conception centres around the idea that external change can only occur stemming from changes within one’s self (is my broad interpretation!). The work draws on Richard Serra’s verb list – where verbs are actions related to the self, and verbs are pivot points of transformation – which makes people co-authors of this transformation of materials, place and process across matter. The interplay between interiority and exteriority, how this relationship applies to all human beings, and is rooted in conceptions of time/future, are all themes which feature in their joint work.

Jill’s current project, draws on these themes and centres on a new artwork, still in development, that relies on public engagement to share authorship with the viewers of the artwork. There will be 4 stages of materiality to this work – 3D sculpture that changes as people approach and engage with the artwork (data sensors will interpret the human action to control the action of the sculpture); this can then be replicated across different sculptural stations – so the data moves across space; it can then be reproduced live (e.g. smartphones) so that it replicates across time. The additional steps would involve producing physical representations of the artwork via 3D printing, and further on from that, would involve making replicas by hand in materials that overtime return to the earth (e.g. ice).
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Size24 mins
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


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