Lise Autogena & Joshua Portway 'Imagining cities like plants' 2016

Artist outcomes from the 2016 Habitation Artist Residency Programme were unveiled on 28th June with an exhibition of artworks and a discussion by the artists in residence, Lise Autogena, Joshua Portway and Ruth Ewan, and an introduction to the ArtScapers Education Programme.

The event featured new works developed through the residency as well as a free discussion between the artists and Dr Marquard Smith, academic, curator and Editor-in –Chief of the Journal of Visual Culture.

"The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins." Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway's work 'Imagining cities like plants' is the result of research carried out by the artists during their residency at North West Cambridge Development, partnered with the Sainsbury Laboratory. The aim of the Sainsbury Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development. Inspired by this work, the artists investigated the structure of cities using models of plant growth and techniques acquired from plant biology. The resulting work took a sideways look at the relationship between urban ecology of the city and the cellular biology of plants.

This project was inspired by walks and talks with:

- Professor Ottoline Leyser – Director, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

- Professor Henrik Jönsson -– Associate Director, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

- Professsor Yrjo Helariutta - Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

- Warren Forsyth - Operations Director, North West Cambridge Development

- Ashley Carline – Associate Director, Turner & Townsend

- Gavin Coull - Senior Client Representative, North West Cambridge Development

- Elisabeth Burmeister - Events and outreach Manager, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

- Emma Askew - Development Design Manager, North West Cambridge Development

- Eric Marland - Lettering artist, Board Member: North West Cambridge Development Public Art Panel

- Dr Mirela Domijan - Post Doctoral Researcher, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

- Dr. Devin O'Connor -Career Development Fellow, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University

Additional thanks to:

- Tom Riley - Programming assistance

- Gavin Heaphy, Construction Director, North West Cambridge Development


All photographs courtesy of Joe Plommer.


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Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena

Autogena and Portway have worked together since the early 1990’s, developing large scale performances, multimedia installations and site-specific work, usually in collaboration with organisations and experts across many specialised fields.



Sainsbury Laboratory

Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena

May 2015 to April 2016
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