Theme header Artists In Conversation 3 - Back Lane West

Artists In Conversation 3

Anton Burdakov, Andrew Bird & Val Ashby

Convened by Rachel Hindley partnered with Back Lane West

Saturday 18th July 2015

The Elms (CN4C), 61 Green Lane, Redruth TR15 1LS
5-9pm – including refreshments/food.

Please book on Eventbrite
Cost £5.00 (to pay on the door)

This is the third in our first series of Artists in Conversation! This initial series is developed from CCANW’s (Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World) Soil Culture Project, and aims to both add to the legacy and widen the debate around this project. AIC has invited artists involved in CCANW’s Soil Culture Project’s short residencies based around the SW.

We are very pleased to welcome Anton Burdakov to our 3rd Artists in Conversation to talk about his residency at The Eden Project in March/April this year, and also about his wider work.

Daro Montag – CCANW Co-Director and leader of RANE will join us to talk briefly about the Soil Culture residencies’ touring exhibition, and what the future holds in terms of CCANW and the Soil Culture project.

Andrew Bird will talk about his and Val Ashby‘s research project/residency at East Pool Mine (near Redruth) where they are collaborating with the National Trust and students from the FDA/BA Hons Contemporary Creative Practice at Cornwall College.

Further info on the Soil Culture Project residencies:

Artists in Conversation is supported by Cornwall College.


Anton Burdakov

Currently working from both London and Berlin, Burdakov studied neuroscience at the University of Cambridge before studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. Through object-making and site-specific installations, his work explores transitions between spaces and states, focusing on the spatial dimensions of personal relationships and goals.
Anton was selected for the residency at the Eden Project, which invited an artist to work with the team to re-engage Eden’s diverse audience with the many facets and functions of soil. These included soil’s mineral make-up, its role in food production, the life contained within it, its importance in feeding the global population and its role as a carbon sink. The residency’s aim was to provoke curiosity and ultimately create a love affair between humanity and soil. It was also an opportunity to communicate the unique process of creating soil at Eden in just 18 months, a process that usually takes 200 years.

In advance of the residency Anton created a mobile sculptural unit, based on the molecular structure of china clay, mined in the quarry on which the Eden Project is built. During his residency the structure functioned as a tool for engagement, display and research – becoming a kind of three-dimensional soil ‘map’. It was gradually populated with stories, images, natural and human-made artifacts that emerged from a dialogue with the Eden community (including soil scientists, horticulturalists and cultural programmers) and visitors. During his residency at the Eden Project he also hosted a visit from students on the MA Art and Environment programme at Falmouth University. Anton was particularly interested in the way in which ‘soil life’, the myriads of tiny organisms, the complex machinery of nature with its cycles and structures, ultimately translates to cycles and narratives of human life, individual and communal.

The structure he created, ‘Soil Map’, is a three-dimensional map exploring cultural and emotional associations with soil. It brings to the fore latent narratives and sets up new connections between the displayed objects, stories and images. The first version currently on show in Bristol focuses on soil as a living archive. Both here and throughout the touring of this exhibition, members of the public are invited to share their associations and contribute to the collection of objects which could be presented on ‘Soil Map’ as it keeps evolving.

Andrew Bird & Val Ashby

The Pool /Redruth area is an area with high levels of soil contamination and depletion due to its history of intense mining activity. Bird and Ashby’s interest is in researching ways in which local communities in this area can reclaim their soil and how, as artists, they can raise awareness of the issues and construct solutions to them which are creative, optimistic and engage the public.

They are proposing a collaborative soil creation program at East Pool Mine to address the particular problems of soil depletion encountered on this site and by the surrounding community. In this they will be supporting the long term aims of East Pool Mine in the creation of a community garden as a focal point of educational projects and community engagement within this heritage site.

Andrew and Val hope to create a model which could be replicated not only by members of the local community, allowing them to reclaim their soil, but as a collaborative community-based arts practice, transferable to other locations where communities are suffering from the effects of soil contamination and depletion.