Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
FAB is Bath's only visual arts festival, we actively promote and celebrate contemporary art in the Bath area and beyond, showcasing early career artists and curators, and those who find it difficult to break into (or prefer to operate outside of) the gallery based art scene.
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Utopia:Dystopia

Curated by Geoff Dunlop and Sophie Erin Cooper
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Submission deadline has now passed.

We are still looking for people and organisations to get involved in our floating meadow project. Register your interest at utopiadystopia@fringeartsbath.co.uk

Saturday
May212016

utopia:dystopia EVENTS

FOWL by Ruby Tingle, performance artist, Walcot Chapel, Saturday 4th June
 

utopia:dystopia in conversation
Saturday 28th

Walk ONE: Open the conversation, stretch minds and legs
11am - 1pm
Meet at reception, Bath School of Art and Design
Out of the enchanted city, over the fields, up the hill and back again down the road.
Approx. 3 mile walk. 

The celebrated walker artist, Richard White conducts tours through Bath, uncovering hidden dystopias in this most utopian of cities. Walkers are invited to consider, share thoughts and generate resonances on some of the dystopian aspects of Bath and the people who made it - not least its ambivalent relationship with slavery.

Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe
1.30pm – 5.30pm
Bath School of Art and Design Lecture Theatre
Free admission

A free and open conversation where artists, writers, thinkers and anyone else who wants to join in can engage with themes that correspond with the best of our aspirations and the worst of our nightmares.

Speakers include writer and critic Rachel Withers exploring how utopia and its opposite have manifested themselves in history and culture since the time of Thomas More. Joined by Kate Rigby, author of Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe and newly appointed Professor of Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, shows just how relevant the concepts are to the crises we face in modern times.

Walk TWO: Wayfaring in the Enchanted City
5pm – 7pm
Following on from Bath School of Art and Design Lecture Theatre

The conversation continues with Richard Wright in the café, online and on foot walking through the heart of utopian Bath, approx. 7pm arrival at "Bath’s Artisan Quarter" to visit the exhibitions, commencing at The Bell, in Walcot Street.

www.walknowtracks.co.uk

 

 

EXISTENTIAL PET SHOP with Marc Parrett, kinetic artist
Saturday 28th - Monday 30th May
Throughout the day
Walcot Chapel
Free admission

Join us throughout the opening weekend of Fringe Arts Bath and step in to the wonderful world of kinetic artist, puppet maker and pupperty director Marc Parret. Founder and former Artistic Director of Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company, Marc has worked with BBC3, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Green Ginger, Ardman Animations and Travelling Light.

LIBERATED WORDS presents Poetry Films along the themes of Utopia/Dystopia
Thursday 2nd and Thursday 9th June

7.30pm
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Tickets: £5/£3 Concs

Commemorating the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's Utopia and as part of our Poetry Film + special events Liberated Words is proud to present an international selection of films from top international poetry filmmakers.

FOWL by Ruby Tingle, performance artist
Saturday 4th June
Presentations throughout the day between:
12pm – 5pm
Walcot Chapel
Free admission

With devised sound works and spectacular costume, multidisciplinary artist Ruby Tingle will be presenting a live art piece inspired by birds of paradise. Exploring the notion of ‘utopian’ creatures and environment her performance draws on the ever present topics of habitat destruction, conversation and the environmental issues we currently face.

 

 


ADDICTION
by Duncan Shaw, Marie Lister and Alexandra Fraser
Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June

Presentations throughout the day between:
12pm – 5pm
Walcot Chapel
Free admission
 

'We propose that dissatisfaction is part of the human condition, alongside the unhealthy pursuit of pleasure, greed and longing for status. Thus as technology and quality of life moves our world towards a superficial utopia we personally and in isolation find ourselves falling into a lonely dystopia.'

Singer and visual artist Marie Lister, classically trained actor Duncan Shaw and visual and performance artist Alexandra Fraser present ADDICTION. Merging music, performance and visual arts to collaborate in a multidisciplinary happening.

 

utopia:dystopia artists and public discussion
Sunday 5th June
3 - 4.30pm
Walcot Chapel
Free admission

A free-ranging discussion involving artists and visitors with poetic interventions by award winning eco-poet Helen Moore.

 

Follow us on twitter: @utopiadystopia_

Tuesday
May102016

utopia:dystopia - in the world, in the mind, in conversation

utopia:dystopia
A series of exhibitions and events inspired by the 500th anniversary of the publication of Utopia, Thomas More's reflections on the concept of an ideal society.
In the 1500s England was very far from a perfect society, and Thomas More had his head chopped off by Henry VIII, standing up for what he believed in. And there is still no certainty as to whether Utopia was a satire on the impossibility of perfection, or a dream of what could be.
The title is a pun, based on the contradictory ideas of the Greek words for good-place and no-place. Yet the desire for Utopia, as an expression of the best of what humans can achieve, has never really disappeared. Nor has the idea of its opposite, Dystopia, Greek for bad-place. These words and ideas often seeming inseparable from each other.

The exhibitions and events of FaB16 explore what these twin concepts might mean to us today. At the Walcot Chapel artists respond to utopia:dystopia in the world. Five minutes walk away, in the basement of 94 Walcot Street, artists respond to utopia:dystopia in the mind. Whilst utopia:dystopia in conversation - held at Bath School of Art and Design - offers thinkers, writers and listeners to engage with themes that correspond with the highest of our aspirations and the worst of our nightmares.

On two Thursday evenings there are presentations of utopia:dystopia themed poetry films, live poetry and dance at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square. These events are organised by Liberated Words, in association with FaB16. And a collaboration with the Holburne Museum brings their Gardener’s Lodge group to make and show new work at our Walcot Street venues. Altogether more than a hundred visual and performance artists and other creative contributors make this a rich encounter with a subject that never really leaves us alone.

utopia:dystopia in the world
One of Bath’s favourite venues, Walcot Chapel, is transformed by a floating meadow and a waterfall into somewhere to reflect on visions of the perfect place - and, of course, on places of darkness, disillusion, destruction. Painters, photographers and performance artists reflect on humankind’s confused and contradictory relationship with nature. 
utopia:dystopia in the mind
In a subterranean setting at FaB 2, 94 Walcot Street, the mood is much darker, both literally and metaphorically. The recently departed writer, J.G.Ballard, once said that the true dystopia in the dystopia of the mind. This exhibition explores the unquiet mind, inviting visitors to face the dystopias we carry within us.
utopia:dystopia in conversation
A free and open conversation in the lecture theatre of the Bath School of Art and Design, where artists, writers, thinkers and anyone else who wants to join in can engage with themes that correspond with the best of our aspirations and the worst of our nightmares. The conversation concludes with a guided stroll through utopian bath, wearing dystopian glasses.

Sunday
Feb212016

Join us to create a floating meadow of wild flowers and blossom

The main text related to the utopia:dystopia can be found after this post.

There is no set deadline for this opportunity although those interested are recommended to register their interest as soon as possible.

works by Geoff Dunlop, Rebecca Louise Law

We are looking for people who can commit their time and creativity and/or help us to source flowers, grasses and shrubs. 

Our vision for this installation is a breathtaking meadow and hedgerow to be suspended from the ceiling of the chapel. We wish to create an exciting visual statement, incorporating a utopian beauty and an intimate connection to the natural world.


This inspiring opportunity for people to work together and play with nature requires no previous experience. To take part in the creation of this installation you need to be able to commit some time between May 23 and May 26, daytimes or evening.

 

We are also seeking people and organisations who would like to sponsor the event by donating flowers, blossoms, branches and grasses.  In turn we are happy to include information about both organisations and individuals at the exhibition itself and on our website. The utopia:dystopia website will be a long-term resource, beyond the events of 2016.

 

The installation will be exhibited as an integral element of the FaB16  festival of contemporary, between May 27 and June 12.

To register your interest or find out more please contact us at  utopiadystopia@fringeartsbath.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday
Jan032016

utopia:dystopia is an ambitious series of exhibitions and events planned for the city of Bath during 2016. This creative initiative is inspired by the 500th anniversary of the publication of Utopia, Thomas More's reflections on the idea of an ideal society. Since 1516, the year of Utopia's release, the world has witnessed countless attempts to establish a perfectly ordered community, in reality as well as in print.  Yet the frequent outcome of such ambitions has been the decay of Utopia into Dystopia. From no-place to bad-place. In modern times the two concepts seem inseparable.

FaB16 is inviting artists in all media to particiate in a series of imaginative responses to the themes of utopia or dystopia, or both. The FaB projects are being complemented, or supported, by events involving other Bath-based cultural organisations, including Bath Fringe, Bath Spa University, the Holburne Museum and Komedia. 

The key exhibition and performance venue is Walcot Chapel, one of Bath's most popular locations for contemporary art. Artworks of all kinds are invited for submission, whether image, object or sound, moving or still, interior or exterior. We are also encouraging submissions by performance artists. We are open to wide and personal interpretations of the themes.

We are open to wide and personal interpretations of the themes - from the most public expression of these themes to the most private and intimate - from politics, society, the global environment to inner workings of the mind and personal identity.     

We intend to explore one question proactively: What could be a utopian art for our times? This question acknowledges the fact that the concept of an ideal way of living has lost its appeal for many people, not least after a century of utopian projects (of both right and left) causing the deaths of millions and bringing the world close to annihilation. In modern culture, for every utopian fantasy there are a dozen dystopian nightmares. Yet isn't the growing determination to rebalance humankind's relationship with the natural order a utopian project on a global scale? And if this utopian ambition is not realised, will that not lead to a dystopia of unprecedented proportions?

We have already started to engage with artists who are keen to address these questions, and we wish to invite more - to work together but in their own, distinctive terms. We seek artists with the urge to physically and conceptually transform Walcot Chapel into a place of exploration and inquiry, through site-specific installations, artworks, activities, workshops and conversations. The precise nature of these interventions will be defined by the artists, but we aspire to make Walcot Chapel a zone of flowing activity during the course of the FaB fortnight. 

In addition to the Walcot Chapel initiatives, we are a planning a one-day event on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30, which will feature the participation of both artists and public. The Utopian Promenade at Sydney Gardens is an open invitation to groups and individuals to create a free-flowing and spontaneous happening in the manner of the promenades of self-presentation that frequently took place in Bath's most celebrated pleasure garden - during the city's golden age, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This occasion presents an opportunity for inspired dressing-up with no rules, and also for spontaneous performance, music and dance. Into this freeflowing movement we invite artists to introduce periods of concentration and structure. 

In addition to the Walcot Chapel initiatives, we are a planning a one-day event on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30, which will invite the participation of both artists and public. The Utopian Promenade at Sydney Gardens is an open invitation to groups and individuals to create a free-flowing and spontaneous happening in the manner of the promenades of self-presentation that took place each day in Bath's most celebrated pleasure garden, during the city's golden age, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This occasion presents an opportunity for inspired dressing-up with no rules, and also for spontaneous performance, music and dance. Into this freeflowing movement we invite artists to introduce periods of concentration and structure. The Holburne Museum is offering us a fabulous interior/exterior stage for spectacular display.

We are also encouraging promenaders of a more dystopian kind. After all, golden age Bath may have been utopian in its architectural and social ambition but it also betrayed dystopian tendencies.  At the height of its worldy fame, it was closer in reality to Las Vegas than Arcadia. And, like many prominent cities of the time, Bath was a city funded by the proceeds of illegal gambling, prostitution and that most dystopian of enterprises, slavery, as well as high-class entertainment.

Utopians and Dystopians alike will be made welcome to the post-promenade ball. 

Complementary events during the course of the Fab fortnight (and on other dates during 2016) include: a Utopia-Dystopia Symposium, organised by Bath Spa University; presentations of storytelling, poetry, film and ambulatory art; musical offerings; and works by notable visual artists in prominent venues throughout the city. We shall also be creating a utopia:dystopia website, again with the collaboration of Bath Spa University.This website is intended to continue as a longterm resource, beyond the events of 2016.