g39 Presentation

Research Residency

G39, Cardiff, 4th July — 9th July 2022

Heavy Water is an evolv­ing research project and col­lec­tive that explores the recla­ma­tion of nar­ra­tives in response to rem­nants asso­ci­at­ed with human activ­i­ty. It man­i­fests through research col­lab­o­ra­tions, exhi­bi­tions and pub­lic pro­gramme. The project takes its name from a form of water with a unique atom­ic struc­ture, often used for the sta­bil­i­sa­tion of volatile mat­ter. Its mate­ri­al­i­ty is mys­ti­cal, per­me­at­ing organ­ic bod­ies, calm­ing vio­lent cre­ations, ground­ing and giv­ing weight to some­thing flu­id and intan­gi­ble. It is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the process­es of inves­ti­ga­tion and meth­ods of mak­ing devel­oped in response to shared sub­ject mat­ter. For their research Project at G39, the Heavy Water Col­lec­tive has engaged with a selec­tion of arte­facts held in the Spe­cial Col­lec­tions at Cardiff Uni­ver­si­ty. Arte­facts relat­ing to witch­craft, reli­gion, child­birth, colo­nial­ism, war and car­tog­ra­phy have been cen­tral to the col­lec­tives’ artis­tic research. 

Maud Haya-Baviera focuss­es on war cor­re­spon­dence and oth­er his­tor­i­cal mate­ri­als that are able to con­vey a sense of nar­ra­tive or self-nar­ra­tive. She has start­ed draw­ing rela­tion­ships between past and cur­rent events, par­tic­u­lar­ly those relat­ing to pro­pa­gan­da and war-time. Through her research, she has found entic­ing visu­al mate­r­i­al able to sup­port a nar­ra­tive thread, and which will become part of a new video work. Vic­to­ria Lucas has devel­oped a con­stel­la­tion of images that bring togeth­er 18th Cen­tu­ry bod­ies and land­scapes in a way that con­fronts colo­nial prac­tices and cap­i­tal­ist pow­er. Ovaries sit along­side chart­ed islands, depic­tions of colonis­ers are decon­struct­ed and pre­sent­ed as bru­tal­ly artic­u­lat­ed forms, mate­r­i­al traces are sub­vert­ed and used as fem­i­nist amulets to ward off evil. Joan­na Whit­tle exam­ines texts that describe these times of chaos, where the dev­il walks the earth and the fires of hell open­ly burn in the unsta­ble ground into which blas­phe­mers plum­met. Her draw­ings depict ruins con­struct­ed from the­ses lay­ered and makeshift shrines, erect­ed over and around them, and imag­ines the objects and tal­is­mans con­cealed in the pock­ets of shrouds.

This project has been gen­er­ous­ly sup­port­ed by the Four Nations Inter­na­tion­al Fund. We would like to thank every­one at G39 and the Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Team at Cardiff Uni­ver­si­ty for their won­der­ful sup­port and hos­pi­tal­i­ty through­out the project. The project will con­clude with an in-con­ver­sa­tion host­ed by Kün­stler­haus Dort­mund in Jan­u­ary 2023. Please fol­low us on Insta­gram for more infor­ma­tion and news updates.