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S:Future PhD Students from the Royal College of Art Present Landmark Exhibition

S: Future is a pioneering interdisciplinary exhibition that takes inspiration from nature using non-traditional materials by four RCA research students: Wayne Binitie, Flora Bowden, Victoria Geaney and Trent Kim. From a bioluminescent bacterial installation featuring a ‘living light’ dress to a glass and sound installation based on centuries-old sounds trapped in glaciers, the show presents the dynamic properties of the artists’ chosen ancient and living materials.

On entering the exhibition, visitors will find themselves in a darkened room where they will encounter Azazel by Victoria Geaney (PhD Fashion candidate), a series of bacterial cellulose sculptures including a living light dress made from photobacterium Kishitanni that is found deep in the ocean and glows luminescent blue.  She will also be showing an installation made in conjunction with Imperial College start-up CustoMem, to showcase new biological materials grown in the laboratory.

Flora Bowden's (MPhil Printmaking candidate) work explores a lexicon of visual forms that she has developed in response to the geological illustrations of James Hutton's Theory of the Earth (1795). The text is an early scientific investigation of the formation and structure of the earth, and the illustrations present a detailed study of Scottish mineral formations that Hutton described as having a 'typographic' character. To highlight this typographic nature, she is working with vinyl prints, commonly used in signage, and has installed the forms directly onto the concrete walls of the Dyson Building to suggest or recall lettering or messaging in a contemporary architectural context.

In response to his current research on the Art of Lumia, Trent Kim (MPhil/PhD Animation candidate), a South Korean-born Scottish artist, presents two new Lumia works: Kinaesthesia Étude and Luminal Tablet (Unmanned). By using his new Lumia technique, he critically reflects on the vision of Lumia proposed by its early twentieth-century founder, Thomas Wilfred, in our present context of saturated automation and digitisation.

Visitors are invited to explore Antarctica’s hidden and ancient past while also considering the glacial future in a provoking installation by Wayne Binitie (MPhil Ceramics & Glass candidate). Binitie will present a sound-and-glass installation based on his audio field recordings from ice cores that are drilled from ice sheets or glaciers and range across 800,000 – 1,000 years of geological time. The ice cores contain small bubbles of compressed air that make popping sounds from the ancient past and contain important records about the climate, he records these vibrations and the resultant patterns are cast in glass before being cut, polished and sculpted by hand into solid forms and surfaces.

The exhibition casts a spotlight on the breadth of research that takes place across the College. With nearly 200 MRes, MPhil and PhD students across disciplines spanning art, communication, fashion and 3D design, the opportunities for cross-disciplinary projects and the creation of new areas of research are manifold.


S:Future takes place 5–9 October 2016 at the Royal College of Art, Dyson Gallery, Battersea. Opening times are: 5–7 October, 10am – 5pm; and 8–9 October, 12pm – 5pm.

See more information about Research at the RCA, including how to apply.