Super City named as winner of the first Cultural Residency at the Imagination Lab

We’re pleased to announce that a winning concept has been selected for the Institute of Imagination’s first Cultural Residency, to be based at the Imagination Lab. Super City, a concept proposed by artists Jim Bond, Helaina Sharpley and Samantha Bryan, will be in the Lab for 4 months from March 2018.

Over 30 individuals and collectives responded to the theme of ‘Places to Imagine’. They were asked to think about how physical places, either those that we create or those that are naturally occurring, have the power to fire the imagination. The applicants were challenged to propose concepts that could engage with our public programming, to spark children’s imaginations through participatory events and activities at the Lab.

Three shortlisted applications were presented to children at the Imagination Lab, as part of the Home Education workshops in February. As the residency will have children at it’s heart, this was a vital part of the selection process. The children’s feedback was presented alongside the concepts to the final judging panel, which comprised of Turner Prize winning artist and Patron of the iOi Mark Wallinger; Children’s Content Creator and Curator Sharna Jackson; the iOi’s Director of Experience and Learning Tom Doust and Nick Viner of the International Charitable Foundation.

The shortlist

Winner: Super City
Artists: Jim Bond, Helaina Sharpley and Samantha Bryan
Super City proposed running a series of workshops in which a city of buildings populated by people, buses, bicycles and trees would be created and evolved. The city will have an infrastructure of wires which will allow participants to programme the lights, wind turbines, flying aeroplanes, cranes and other moving elements which are designed and built during events and schools workshops. This will be a model city like no other with wire structures, flying machines, and vehicles of the future. It will be the imaginative vision of the children guided by makers and masters of materials.

“We are delighted to be selected for iOi’s first cultural residency. We are passionate about the importance of imagination as the fuel for creativity, innovation and invention. These are themes that underpin our work. This is a great opportunity for us to collaborate and bring our combined skills together with children and members of the public to design and build a visionary city of the future.”
Super City

Runner up: Islands of Imagination
Artists: Elina Nilsson, Victoria Sarria Paz and Marta Szpunar
“Islands of Imagination” proposed creating inventions for a newly discovered world. During the workshop sessions, participants would make different projects for imaginary islands, switching inventions with each other and developing ideas on other islands. Children would be encouraged to use their imaginations to understand what the others’ inventions were about and how they could continue developing them. At the end of the workshop participants return to their first inventions to see how others have adapted and built upon them.

Runner up: Shadow City
Artists: Collective Matheson Marcault
Shadow City proposed a large-scale installation game, where children were told the story of an alien invasion and invited to play in a shadowy cityscape created by screens, lights and shadows. Participants would work collaboratively to stay in the shadows, a ‘safe space’ created by cityscape structures, and could move and interact with the shapes to create their paths and imagine new cityscapes for the game.

After much deliberation, the panel selected Super City. The concept is a fantastic fit for the work of the Lab, combining crafts, engineering and collaborative play and making.

“The winning proposal instantly captured our imaginations. The medium of wire conjured up the very beguiling idea of drawing in space. The possibilities of its growth, and the encouragement of participation of many creative hands over time are very exciting. It also seemed to us that the space of the Lab was perfect for such a creation.”
Mark Wallinger

“To have a residency at iOi so early in its journey is very encouraging development, demonstrating its commitment to both artists and the communities in which iOI is situated in. Super City is an embodiment of not just the theme of the residency, but also the values of the iOi. I’m very excited to follow and learn from its development and outcomes.”
Sharna Jackson

“When the ICF came on board to support the iOi Cultural Residency, we were hoping to find a concept that would animate the Imagination Lab for visitors and reflect the unique learning practices of the iOi. Super City combines making, collaboration, creativity and the vital skills children need for the future in a fun and unique way. I look forward to seeing the new cityscape emerge from the imaginations of the children that will bring it to life.”
Nick Viner

“Super City presents a unique opportunity for the iOi’s Imagination Lab to work collaboratively with artists to develop and evolve our programmes for children and families. Now begins the exciting process of realising this concept in the space”
Tom Doust

Super City will start work in the Lab imminently –look out for notifications about events and activities were you can collaborate in the Super City installation, by signing up to our mailing list. We’re also excited to continue to develop ideas with the runners up, whose concepts captured children’s imaginations during the judging process.

The Cultural Residency is kindly supported by the International Charitable Foundation

About the Super City artists

Jim Bond is a kinetic sculptor exhibiting nationally and internationally who creates interactive sculptures and installations using programmable sensors, motors and lights. He has created interactive installations for Cambridge University and Lords Cricket Museum and was a featured artist at LUX Helsinki in January 2018 and 2017.

Helaina Sharpley is a wirework artist who creates unique three dimensional drawn structures. She exhibits extensively and in 2016 was guest artist with IENA Tokyo. She runs workshops nationally at venues such as West Dean and the Institute of Making.

Samantha Bryan is internationally known for creating hand stitched fairies who inhabit a complex imaginary world of flying machines and contraptions often compared to the inventions of Roland Emett. Her work is in numerous collections including Moorfield Eye Hospital.

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