Em-Em: CSM Art & Science

Em-Em (Embodiment and Emotion) Residency is a 7-month-long collaboration between seven Central Saint Martins’ MA Art and Science students and THECUBE. Through the MA Art and Science course, students investigate the contemporary and historical context of art and science and explore creative ways to communicate those ideas, contributing to a greater understanding of how we relate to the world around us.

For this residency, each artist is exploring a unique aspect of the theme of embodiment and emotion relevant to their ongoing practice, including topics such as gravity, sensory perception, objects and memory.  Their work will be shared through an exhibition and a series of talks open to the public. Through the Em-Em residency, the artists aim to bring new perspectives to current dialogues on embodied cognition, building bridges between disciplines.


Allison Barclay, Monika Dorniak, Julie Light, Jill Mueller, Lisa Pettibone, Virginie Serneels, and Eleonora Sher


Upcoming events: 

Making Sense (Thursday, May 9)

This evening we will be exploring our senses and how we engage with our environment through smell, touch, taste, sight and sound.  We’ll be thinking about how sensory inputs affect our moods, whether they impact how we learn, and how they colour our creativity. Investigating how new approaches to digital fluency draw on theories of embodied cognition, we’ll hear about harnessing technology and to engage our senses. We’ll also be scenting out opportunities for creative expression that don’t only rely on visual stimuli and trying to understand some visual stimuli that we can’t necessarily see.  Please join us to find out more – and hopefully it will all make sense.


The Comfort of Gravity (Thursday, May 25)

We rarely think about gravity. Like breathing, it is a ubiquitous element of life. Occasionally when we fall are we suddenly aware of the cosmic force that pulls us to the floor. Our pens and books stay put, water lies flat and we walk knowing our feet will touch the ground. However, our entire physical and mental evolution as a species has been influenced by gravity, and this event will explore three uncommon aspects. Firstly, where does gravity come from and why is science so puzzled about it? Then we’ll look at the human neurological affects by examining how we are built to sense it through touch and sight. Finally, man is compelled to challenge his balance from birth (cue the giddiness of swinging as a child) but is there a psychological reason for this manifestation in extreme sports or walking in space? This multi-faceted, invisible and embodied force gives us much to think about and discuss.


Explorations in Embodiment Workshop (Sunday, June 18)

Come along and get involved hands-on with our one day practical celebration of embodied emotion, where you can explore first-hand a variety of workshops and experiences dedicated to creating a better conversation between mind and body.

Feeling low or feeling high? Come and rebalance yourself in our sensory space, where you can be put through your personalised sensory diet! A diet could include exercises for stimulation and deep pressure relaxation, and will raise awareness about the relationship of our body’s wellbeing through physical sensory engagement and our minds. Create your own sensory objects and toys, such as glittery calming sensory bottles, fidgety snakes and “slodgey slime”.

Come imagine how gravity flattens pools of water on the earth’s surface, forming painterly, flowing shapes such as lagoons and lakes. We’ll be cutting and assembling glass that will melt together, creating bird’s eye views of bodies of water. You’ll learn to cut glass and design with colourful scrap pieces. The work will be kiln-fired off site and delivered back to THECUBE.

Discover what type of colour perception you have whilst learning about human vision and brain processes. Using a variety of pigments, including unusual paints and powders that respond to different light wavelengths, we will use abstract and figurative designs and unusual light schemes to test the boundaries of your vision. Do you have an ability to perceive colours others can’t see? Or do you see in a more restricted palette? Join us to find out at this workshop.

How can we better connect with body rhythms such as heartbeat, breathing or brainwaves. In the first part of the workshop, you will learn more about how body rhythms are affected by states like stress or relaxation. In the second part, you will create short performances with a partner or in groups using rhythms such as clapping, whistling, breathing and others. In a morning or afternoon session you will be supported to develop your exercises and will have the opportunity to perform to the public!


Embodiment in Art (Thursday, June 22)

What makes a work of art ‘difficult’, and what makes it difficult to engage with as a viewer? Why are some works considered scandalous while similar works are accepted without a murmur? Art that deals with emotionally charged subjects, such as racism, abortion or conflict can have both a strong physical and emotional effect. Equally, not everyone is comfortable viewing intimate, personal works, like those exploring illness or grief. For this event we will talk about emotionally difficult artwork in relation to both the creator and the audience. Can emotion be embodied within an artwork? How do we use art to navigate a difficult experience? This evening we aim to answer these questions by taking a range of perspectives, considering the issues from the positions of artist or writer, critic and curator.


Sensing the Invisible (Tuesday, June 27)

Whilst neuroscience can point to measurable evidence for the neural basis of a body-mind connection, a holistic understanding of that connection is yet to be revealed. Philosophy and art play an important role in the search for a wider comprehension of body and mind. For this event, we will engage in a search to sense the invisible, exploring the conversation between body and mind, or body-mind, through the lens of philosophy and dance.

Sensing the Invisible will take place on Tuesday, 27 June at 7pm, and start with a dance performance about dis-embodiment, connectedness / dis-connectedness. This will be followed by an open roundtable discussion with academic experts – ranging from philosophy to neuroscience to dance – examining ideas around body-mind through both, theory and in practice.


 Objects, Memory and Emotion (Thursday, July 6)

Join us for an evening focused on memory and the physical world, exploring how objects can act as vessels for feelings as well as recollections. How do we sense the past? How do we physically respond to objects that hold meaning for us, and how is that related our emotions? There is evidence that scent has a special relationship with memory and emotion. How true is that for our other senses? And what does that mean for our own mementoes and souvenirs? This evening we will learn about how objects and memory contribute to constructing our identities. Our speakers are all involved with the connection between emotion and objects, whether in terms of objects’ roles in structuring our memories or more focused on how we interact with their material properties.