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29th Jan - 27th Feb

Future Focus 2021

QUAD and FORMAT have a long-standing history of supporting early-career artists through mentoring sessions, training opportunities, work experience, internships, portfolio reviews and exhibitions – with the FUTURE FOCUS programme, that was initiated in 2001, being a focus of support. The recent FUTURE FOCUS Open Call was aimed at graduates from UK based BA Degree courses who graduated in 2020 and 2021 – during the Covid-19 pandemic – but were unable to exhibit their final work or were limited in opportunities to show their work. Submissions to the Open Call featured a range of artistic disciplines including: photography, painting, illustration, graphic design, animation, performance, installation, sculpture, and moving image.

Our aim was to offer emerging creatives an opportunity to exhibit their work in our main Gallery space, along with a range of exhibition bursaries, awards, portfolio reviews and mentoring support. In addition, those shortlisted but not selected for exhibition would have their work shown on QUAD’s Resource Area Big Screen, that is situated at the entrance to our main gallery.

70 artists were longlisted from the Open Call, with 25 artists selected for the final shortlist. Seven of the shortlisted artists: Armaghan Fatemi, Ash//Ella, Benjamin Hall, Sarah-Jane Field, Takudzwa Chandiwana, You Hah Kim and Yuhong Wang will have their work exhibited in QUAD’s main gallery from 29 January to 27 February 2020. The selected artists will also be eligible for a series of special awards, including the QUAD Award, FORMAT Award and the John E Wright print Award, as well as the Audience Award that will be presented during the exhibition period and is sponsored by Unite the Union.

In addition to the seven exhibiting artists, the remaining 18 artists from the shortlist of 25 who will have their work featured in a looping slideshow on QUAD’s Resource Area Big Screen are: Alana Lindsay, Alexander Komenda, Anna Sturgeon, Annabelle Richmond-Wright, Ben Dawson, Callum O’Keefe, Daragh Drake, Eden Sandy, Eleanor Sykes, Jasmine Pope, Khadija Cecile Niang, Megan Watson, Miriam Levi, Radek Wyjadlowski, Risa Ueno, Rosie Dale, Sophie Holden and Tina Salvidge.

QUAD/FORMAT would like to thank everyone who submitted to the FUTURE FOCUS Open Call and congratulate everyone who made it to the Longlist and Shortlist stages. Our jury had an incredibly hard decision to make considering the high quality of emerging talent who applied. The jury comprised a range of artists, writers and curators, including: Abbas Zahedi; Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad of The White Pube; Lucy Sollitt; Maitreyi Maheshwari; Jamila Prowse and Saziso Phiri, and QUAD/FORMAT curatorial team: Louise Fedotov-Clements; Niamh Treacy; Jodi Kwok and Peter Bonnell.

The FUTURE FOCUS exhibition is co-curated by Nimah Treacy (FORMAT Festival Coordinator); Jodi Kwok (QUAD Assistant Curator) and Peter Bonnell (QUAD Senior Curator) and will take place at QUAD from 29 January 2022 – 27 February 2022. A launch event will take place on 28 January, details to be announced soon.

The FUTURE FOCUS Open Call was organised by QUAD in partnership with FORMAT and Picter.  QUAD and FORMAT are generously supported by Arts Council England, Derby City Council and University of Derby.

FUTURE FOCUS Exhibiting Artists in QUAD Gallery

Ash//Ella (she/her)
Mechanical Dissatisfaction

Mechanical Dissatisfaction is a collaboration between the artists and the viewer as you actively manoeuvre through the cyclical system of a digital life during a global pandemic. This work draws attention to the similarities between digital and physical systems; the systematic way we were living during quarantine and the digital means we used to escape. The nature of hyperfiction means we have created our own system in which the piece sits, as well as creating a series of choices and interventions for the viewer. There are 4 trajectories with alternate endings.

Mechanical Dissatisfaction represented the artist’s everyday life at home during a global pandemic, holding all of the cultural references that we all clung to feel connected, from Tiger King to Zoom quizzes. It is a snapshot of that moment in history where we had no other option but to rely on technology for education, work and human connection. The piece emphasises the artist’s technological anxieties, the rat invasion in their garden and how their hive mind grew whilst being stuck inside a desolate Liverpool City Centre.

Ash//Ella Biography

We are Ash//Ella. We are a we. Ash//Ella merged their minds through their shared anticipation of the human convergence with technology. They use performative/interactive storytelling to configure their connection to the corporeal and virtual realms in which they roam. Their research embodies the interplay of physical and cyber materiality which formulates outcomes that sit between video, writing, installation, performance and most recently augmented reality. Their work acts as a way to deeply explore their relationship with technology, ambivalent from one piece to the next. They meddle with hyperfiction and RPG’s as their preferred method of storytelling. They like to role-play with the mundane combined with surreal interference. Their collaboration initialised three years ago and has developed into a sprawling network of research, fiction and cyberspace. The interactive nature of our outputs are intended as a way of disrupting the passivity that can come with viewing and experiencing art.

Ash//Ella both graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Liverpool John Moores University in 2020.

Armaghan Fatemi
Invisible Hands

Invisible Hands is an installation accompanying the three-part documentary of the same name. It consists of an unfinished hand-made carpet on a loom, and all tools required in the weaving process. An audio track introduces typical sounds surrounding the weaver as she works: tools sliding yarn over the loom, cutting thread, hammering to each row into place. The sound of children crying, a stove is turned on, a kettle boiling creates a narrative. The creaking of the opening and closing of doors punctuates the weaver’s transition from one role (labourer) to another (housewife and mother). These interruptions reveal the concurrent obligations faced by the women weavers, who must simultaneously weave carpets for financial gain while performing domestic chores with no remuneration. Far from the glamorised portrayals of professional weavers circulated by the media, the installation immerses the viewer in an environment that highlights the women’s reality: poor working conditions and financial instability. The absence of the weaver strikingly emphasises the discrepancy between the value of her labour and the well-known value of the finished luxury item. The accompanying documentary film provides a view into the Persian carpet industry in Iran. Conducted over the course of three years, it includes interviews with industry workers throughout different parts of the country, working under a variety of conditions. from a male-owned factory assembly line, to woman in rural areas working independently from home to support their families.

Armaghan Fatemi Biography

As an Iranian multi-disciplinary artist, Armaghan Fatemi’s work focuses on exploring socio-political issues of the region. She does so from a specifically feminist and autobiographical viewpoint, based on her personal experience to open a dialogue between the West and Iran. In 2017, she moved to London and started a BA degree in Fine Art at the London Metropolitan University. For her degree show, she created a documentary film about the Persian carpet weaving industry in Iran to examine the labour conditions of the women working in this field. Unable to exhibit the resulting three-part film Invisible Hands in a degree show, she created a virtual exhibition space for it. With the film and a series of her small woven textiles, she wanted to highlight the discrepancy between the professional weaver’s arduous labour and her leisurely efforts, exempt from the pressures of feeding a family with the profits of her work. Her original education is in architecture, but a year after graduating in 2014, she emigrated to Germany during the migrant crisis. The negative, xenophobic encounters she experienced there compelled her to create emotive works of cultural exchange. The pandemic marked a new direction in her work. She exclusively chose the medium of painting, to focus, with an introspective intent, on her relationship with her body and her sex. Unlike her conceptual works, which unequivocally commence with an idea, her paintings unfold themselves more organically to her, revealing symbols and meanings during creation.

Armaghan Fatemi graduated from the BA Fine Art course at London Metropolitan University in 2020.

Benjamin Hall

Over the last 2 years, Benjamin Hall has made a series of interactive digital works that use the medium of videogaming to explore ancestry, provincial local archives, mnemonic communities and regional nonlinear histories. For FUTURE FOCUS, he would collate these works into an exhibition celebrating regional storytelling and testing his hypothesis that interactive experiences are an effective provider of ‘means of access’ to local collections to those unwilling/able to trawl through themselves. He hopes to use the public platform to create new pathways for communities to access the fantastic resources they maintain, specifically for those discouraged from benefiting from them due to their background, access requirements, age, or systematically engendered perceptions of archives as boring. He would further look to develop another short work in this vein specific to Derby to show alongside his finished games. If community storytelling is an essential strategy in the resistance of globalised capitalism, local archives are a foundation of that process. If engaged critically, they are repositories of stories and information that encourage self-worth/understanding and often empathy for wronged others. They remind us of interconnectedness, and the wonderful propensity of communities everywhere to search for meaningfulness. In some ways, this reincarnates the oral druidic tradition of ancestors in pre-Christian Britain as contemporary folk storytelling, that understands digital spaces as key grounds for the creation and expression of people-powered narratives.

Benjamin Hall Biography 

Benjamin Hall is an artist, game maker, animator, filmmaker and writer. He looks to facilitate the creation of immersive and accessible interactive worlds both independently and in supporting other artists, using open-source game development tools. This can mean offering his technical skillset to others to direct, curate and worldbuild collaborative environments. Or, creating personal works using the nonlinear, agential experience of playing games to affect and responsibility players in folksy oblique narratives – both from the (suppressed) British legendarium and ones rooted in a contemporary understanding of the internet as a space caught between its capitalist architecture and people-powered folk artefacts/knowledge. He graduated from Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art in 2020, and with the cancellation of his degree show led the development of ‘DS2020 Simulator.’ The project recreated the cancelled show as a game, featured work by 136 graduates and was shown on BBC One. He has continued this practice of digital arts and accessible virtual programming as a core member of Chaos Magic’s first SPUR programme, co-founder of online art community CherriHarari, DAAD Futurism’s worldbuilder and animator and a selected artist for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021. His collaborative virtual world ‘Wretched Light Industry’ showcased 33 immersive environments, and featured on It’s Nice That, Hypebeast, a-n and more.

Benjamin Hall graduated from the BA Fine Art: Painting & Printmaking course at Glasgow School of Art in 2020.

Sarah-Jane Field
why is there an astronaut in a field of flowers/

why is there an astronaut in a field of flowers/ is an experimental collaboration between a proprietary machine-learning app and a character called ‘the artis featuring occasional music composed by Simon Gwynne with the help of Magenta’s Music Transformer Neural Network. Within the context of coinciding paradigms, one linear, the other networked and entangled, conversations are recorded, and photographs shared, cultural favourites celebrated, and dreams discussed.  Any familiarity we may have had with lines, boundaries and the shape of content is challenged. Instead, entities are encouraged to interact, become enmeshed, re-form and evolve, or else slip away; mutating across platforms and media, resulting in alternative, sometimes arbitrary manifestations, which prompt us to consider how meaning emerges, or doesn’t, and differentiates across the project’s universe.

Featuring occasional music composed by Simon Gwynne with the help of Magenta’s Music Transformer Neural Network.

Sarah-Jane Field Biography
Sarah-Jane Field works with still, moving, original and found images, as well as text and performance. She enjoys setting up feedback loops connecting various bits of matter and language, and is interested in the interrelations between entities, as much, if not more, than the objects themselves. Her investigations are underpinned by an ongoing inquiry into the contemporary decoding and recoding of reality, along with the hope that a more equitable world is possible. Additionally, her entangled, multi-directional and polymorphic process aims to undermine a linear view of the universe, as she embraces the sort of chaos that is arguably inevitable with deep systemic change. She is currently doing an MA in Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies at Central St. Martins.

Sarah-Jane Field graduated from the BA Photography course at The Open College of the Arts in 2021.

Takudzwa Chandiwana
Place Moments 

Using various media such as stitch, print, paint and charcoal, Takudzwa tries to facilitate a constant dynamic of dismantling and a reconstruction of material and form. From the deconstruction of the figure through mark-making, creating forms disjoined and unsettled against the monochromatic, still yet the fleeting presence of the print, to the construction of a physical object that has a material presence and density. The print-paint pieces she creates feel as though they are always in flux. This ultimately creates a space of ambiguity. It’s within this ambiguity that meaning can be discovered. Here, Takudzwa explores the different facets of gender and cultural identity.
Interwoven within her works are an interrogation of how blackness and femininity are seen, defined and validated within white spaces. It’s within these spaces that violence often manifests itself as a key element in displacing black people and what identity means for them. Subsequently, Takudzwa incorporates an ethics of care within her practice and focuses on healing.

Takudzwa Chandiwana Biography

Takudzwa Chandiwana (b. Harare, Zimbabwe (1998) and is currently based in Birmingham in the West Midlands and works with stitch, print, paint and charcoal. Using a mixture of intuitive and technical process she explores the black identity and black femininity within a western context. As well as visual representations of cultural identity and diaspora within art. What could be considered as good diaspora art, signifies cultural identity by presenting difference as a way to highlight multiplicity and fluidity in ones’ identity. Instead of portraying rigid visual binaries to represent ‘home’ and ‘host’ country, and centring difference to simply frame the artist as other. Takudzwa completed a BA and MA in Fine Art at Birmingham City University. She’s exhibited with Pack West Midlands, The Exchange and Newlyn Art gallery, and has been awarded the Whitworth Wallis Fellowship.

Takudzwa Chandiwana graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Birmingham City University in 2021.

You Hah Kim

The Home-Master, a compound word of homepage and master, is the nickname of the amateur photographers in the K-pop fandom culture. Most of them are young females, and they take pictures of the male K-pop idol stars.

If you want to be a home-master, you need not only high-performance cameras but also a lot of time and money to follow the schedules of idol stars. Home-masters hope to promote their stars through social media. The more K-pop culture becomes popular, the more home-masters become influential.

Female bodies used to be the object of the camera. Home-masters reverse the perspective: the female photographer’s body signifies autonomy, independence, and even aggressiveness, while the male star’s body becomes the gazed object.

Home-masters’ enjoyment is not entirely from their supporting activities, but also from the reactions of other fans. They are satisfied by being powerful in their fandom communities. Home-masters immerse themselves in complex emotions such as excitement, anxiety, and fear when taking pictures of their stars because they cannot help but break the rules in the concert halls. The unique pleasure from those activities makes them addicted to taking pictures.

What they want is contradictory: they hope to be most famous but anonymous; they take pictures of the stars as a fan, but they want to be a starlike fan among other fans; their photography is voyeuristic about the stars as well as exhibitionist about themselves. Their existence is in between stars and fans, objects and subjects, and consumers and providers.

You Hah Kim Biography

You Hah Kim is a visual artist based in Seoul and London, working across photography, installation, and video. Her latest work is Home-Master series, which is to portray the uniqueness of K-pop fandom culture through using a metaphoric female body. She is interested in the complicated relationship between recognition desire and anonymity, and voyeurism and exhibitionism in the era of social media.

Her works were exhibited in many exhibitions for students: Nobudam: The First Step, London (2018); LOADING…, London (2018); Nobudam: ?, London (2020); and Goldsmiths Oriental M-ART, Online (2020).

You Hah Kim graduated from the BA Photography course at the University of the Arts London – London College of Communication in 2020.

Yuhong Wang
Luxurious experience in the art school 

Yuhong Wang wants to actualise my degree, to actualise as an art student.

At Ruskin, she engaged intensively in a studio-based enquiry. She constantly provides opportunities to enter physical and digital virtual encounters of Q&A form. The need and dependence on the dialogical spaces that art schools provide to generate works. Conversations are very valued via emails, tutorials, and drop-ins to think about what it is to think about art practice; what happens when life and art are merged – the doing itself is work itself, a bigger performance; what it is to construct and make sense of positions in shifting cultural and technological matrixes.

Yuhong Wang Biography

Yuhong Wang is a recent graduate from the Ruskin school of art. Yuhong is a multimedia artist. Her practice works alongside the role of a buffoon or fool, which stems from a position of the personal. This exists simultaneously within her work and its underlying narrative, both a search for, and a reaction to, displacement, comfort, and care. Yuhong’s practice openly embraces experiences of the unknown; what it is to construct and make sense of positions in shifting cultural and technological matrixes.

Yuhong Wang graduated from the BFA Fine Art course at the University of Oxford in 2021.

FUTURE FOCUS Exhibiting Artists on QUAD Resource Area Big Screen

Alana Lindsay

Paintings that feel as if they are struggled sculpture, and sculpture that feels as if they need a function. Alana Lindsay is an English artist based in the South-West of England. Her practice is a constant battle between painting, sculpture, and extensional thoughts.

Alana Lindsay graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2020.

Alexander Komenda

Alexander Komenda’s work for the Big Screen focuses on Mailuu-Suu, a once secret municipality located in Kyrgyzstan, that was a central mining hub part of the Soviet atomic program, where uranium ore extraction took place between 1946 and 1968. The Soviet Union is not singled out as the villain, rather exemplifying its imperial manifestations and exploitative institutional mechanisms to remind of this ubiquitous pattern that remains widespread in our world. Jove’s Palace examines the nuances between the day-to-day, history and geopolitics in relation to the inhabitants’ relationship to the surrounding, polluted landscape.

Alexander Komenda graduated from the BA Documentary Photography course at the University of South Wales in 2020.

Anna Sturgeon

Something Where There Should Be Nothing:Nothing Where There Should Be Something is a work for the Big Screen that investigates the eerie nature of the unknown and displays the human experience as one that is enmeshed in mythic structures. Objects that once belonged to distant relatives sit alongside images of my surroundings and my family members to form part of a personal search for meaning, whilst on a wider level pointing to a paradox between our apparent contrived reality and another that is beyond standard perception.

Anna Sturgeon graduated from the BA Photography course at Falmouth University in 2021..

Annabelle Richmond-Wright

Annabelle Richmond-Wright is a sculptor and installation artist. Her work explores various themes around the human condition and post-humanism with a focus on capitalism and technology within a work/labour context.

Annabelle Richmond-Wright graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Leeds Arts University in 202.

Ben Dawson

Ben Dawson(he/him) is a queer artist based in east London, working between digital and physical spaces. Dawsons work orbits the awkward slippages between physical and digital spaces, Dawsons work proposes complex narratives that reflect our physical and digital convergence and divergence. What does it mean to deeply contemplate the fusion between the virtual and the real, slick rendered slippages, over spilling between diametrically opposed states of existence in and out of screen-based treachery? Possessing a body is a complicated cultural condition, especially when you are not real, a non-body sociopolitical agency is derived of its own transmutation, construction is dependent on its place of existence.

Ben Dawson graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Kingston School of Art in 2020.

Callum O’Keefe

Callum O’Keefe’s work for the big screen explores collectors and their relationships with their possessions, it is fascinating why people feel the need to collect objects and how the objects help these individuals navigate their way through everyday life, creating their own mark on the world.

Callum O’Keefe graduated from the BA Photography course at The University West of England in 2021.

Daragh Drake

Daragh’s work has both a cultural and societal focus based around his upbringing in Ireland and experience of living in London.

Daragh Drake graduated from the BA Photography course at the University of Westminster in 2021.

Eden Sandy

Eden Sandy’s film work for the Big Screen documents the final months of her time at university, encompassing everything from personal anxiety and the environment to seeing the beauty in the mundane.

Eden Sandy graduated from the BA Photography and Video course at De Montfort University in 2021.

Eleanor Sykes

Through the means of illustration, I start conversations by telling stories about the world. 

Eleanor Sykes graduated from the BA Illustration course at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2021.

Jasmine Pope

Jasmine Pope’s work for the Big Screen, Woodland Caudex is an expansive digital archive that seeks to preserve trees in various woodlands by cataloguing them as three-dimensional objects in a digitised void, using LiDAR scanning technology and 3D modelling software.

Jasmine Pope graduated from the BA Photography course at the University for the Creative Arts (Rochester) in 2021.

Khadija Cecile Niang

Khadija Cecile Niang is a Norway-born Senegalese artist. As a Senegalese woman who has never resided in her home country and lived in both Europe and Africa, her practice consolidates feeling disjointed from her culture. Working in the mediums of film, sculptural installation, painting and sound, her work examines her cultural identity.

Khadija Cecile Niang graduated from the BA Art and English Literature course at the University of Reading in 2020.

Megan Watson

Inspired by cyberculture theories, such as posthumanism, cyborg ontology, and glitch feminism Watson uses sci-fi themes to illustrate her perspective as a queer woman.

Natural AI is the terminology used to describe the ideology of her work, the amalgamation of nature, technology, and humanity is a criticism of anthropocentrism and a celebration of the things that unite us.

Megan Watson graduated from the BA Design course at Goldsmiths University in 2020.

Miriam Levi

Miriam Levi’s Indigo Dust is a sci-fi series made of a combination of cameraless techniques, alternative photographic processes and archive images that question our relationship with technology, the environment and notions of truth; all seen through the eyes of a bot in a post-apocalyptic world.

Miriam Levi graduated from the BA Photography course at Edinburgh Napier University in 2021.

Radek Wyjadlowski

Radek Wyjadlowski  work for the Big Screen, The Code, explores identity in the context of relationships with ancestors who, from generation to generation, have passed on genetic material that results in our present being. This work is created by combining found archival photographs of ancestors with a series of photographs created in response to his findings. The transmitted genes and transmitted photographs become the common denominator.

Radek Wyjadlowski graduated from the BA Photography with Video course at Ulster University in 2020.

Risa Ueno

By taking math and science as guides, Risa’s work explores issues surrounding everyday life to rethink both environmental and social aspects.

Risa Ueno graduated from the BA Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2021.

Rosie Dale

Rosie Dales work for the Big Screen, Ad Astra is a collaboration with her mother, and her mother’s  experience with abortion whilst working as an officer in the RAF and also highlighting the lack of support for servicewomen at the time, leading to many women in the forces having to make the decision between terminating their pregnancy or losing their job.

Rosie Dale graduated from the BA Photography course at the University of the West of England in 2020.

Sophie Holden

Sophie Holden’s work is centred around narrative and truth, presented through stylised aestheticism inspired by vintage fashion editorials and advertisements. Images on the Big Screen are from her project Eventide (2020/21) and focus on a combination of a ‘walking therapy session’ (using the walk as a means to create work, as well as a form of self help) juxtaposed with the negative experiences of women within large cities, and the ‘unofficial’ curfew we face as darkness draws closer and the streets become dangerous.

Sophie Holden graduated from the BA Photography course at the London College of Communication in 2021.

Tina Salvidge

Tina Salvidge comments on her work for the Big Screen: An interface that doesn’t “fit” between the natural world, and man’s scientific theories – the inexplicable and unaligned. Internet discussions of Carlo Rovelli without answers. Interpretations stumbled across. Nostalgia without melancholia interwoven, personal memories dementia. Watching cowboy films when I was a girl.

Tina Salvidge graduated from the BA Fina Art and Visual Culture course at the University of West of England in 2020.

Image Credit: N/A


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