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FIELD COMMISSION: Past, Present, & Future In-Conversation

8 March 20235.30-6.30pm

Join us for an in-conversation between our current and future FIELD COMMISSION artists: Asad Raza and RESOLVE Collective alongside artist collective Cooking Sections; sharing what’s been happening on the canalside; reflecting on moments that have impacted the project and speculating on the years to come. This event marks a ceremonial handing over of projects between the artists – a gesture that considers how artists relate to each other and are interconnected through long-term working, sequentially creating new work, projects and ways of working, avoiding starting from a blank slate.

Extending from our long-term work with Cooking Sections and franchise of The Empire Remains Shop–Birmingham, FIELD COMMISSION presents and questions the role of the cultural organisation within post industrial sites of redevelopment. The first iteration took the form of the adoption of a canalside field site next to Junction Works for twelve-month artistic commissions in collaboration with Canal and River Trust.

Beginning last year with Reabsorption by artist Asad Raza, this project presented a new work that takes the form of a metabolic process occupying the entirety of the field site, creating a unique form of remediation. Working with a range of partners and collaborators from the University of Birmingham, the Wildlife Trust and local businesses producing waste, Raza and a team of cultivators worked with the existing soil on-site to determine its toxicity and create a recipe for a neosoil, specifically designed to dilute this toxicity, most of which came from decades of lead pollution from imperial trade and activities along the canal. The cultivator team included soil scientists, ecologists, compost experts, gardeners, community activists, art practitioners, mycologists, students and community members. It constitutes one of the first experiences in the UK to break down pollutants locally without externalising them elsewhere. You can read more about the activity that took place via an online journal here.

We are excited to announce that for this year’s FIELD COMMISSION, we are working with RESOLVE, an interdisciplinary design practice that combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges. Keen to expand upon and acknowledge the existing work and community that has evolved through Asad’s project,RESOLVE’s practice looks to rethink educational methodologies and they will use FIELD COMMISSION to consider how to work with young people in a way that facilitates their agency within an environment, tracing postcolonial food legacies in the city. As a whole, this long-term project is deeply enmeshed with Grand Union’s Collaborative Programme, which strives to connect with people outside of the gallery space and build audiences for art.

If you would like to attend this event, please reserve a place via Eventbrite here.