In the summer of 2019 we had a three month residency at Orleans House Gallery. Here we explored ‘The Overview Effect’ – a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment and our planet after seeing Earth from space.
We developed the concept of Sanctuary building in the face of climate change through workshops and playtests with the public over the months before the final exhibition opened. During the exhibition audiences foraged for the materials to build their sanctuaries in the small woodland that surrounded the gallery, guided by top trumps style cards that ranked available materials building potential. Public making was informed and inspired by the interactive set of Dr Strongarm’s laboratory that surrounded the makestation. Audiences were encouraged to explore the laboratory and contribute to Dr Strongarm’s research through their making and own experiments.
In the gallery we had printed the following introduction:
“Welcome to the Laboratory of our resident researcher Dr Strongarm. Her research explores our world and our living conditions in the new geological era of the Anthropocene. It looks to the future use of common local and extra-terrestrial materials in building natural sanctuaries within new and existing environments. Her continued collaborations with the public to develop these mark her as one of the more exciting new voices in future planning, yet her eccentric methods have marked her as an independent voice.
As an astronaut, Dr Strongarm experienced the phenomena known as ‘The Overview Effect’. She saw, first hand, the earth as a tiny fragile ball of life with everything that grows upon it interconnected. She gained a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment, and her home.
When in space, she maintained the life support systems that kept her and her fellow crew alive: now she studies the life support system of planet Earth – our biosphere. She spends her days and months foraging in the surrounding areas and cataloguing her findings. One day she will understand the alchemy that keeps humans and nature in harmony.
Here you can find her work in progress. Please feel free to rummage around and learn more about her work through reading her notes and books; open unlocked cabinets and examine anything within reach.”