The Wapping Project has always been a rite of passage — from commissioned artists to chefs who worked at Wapping Food in the days at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Nobody who has made the journey of working with us in any capacity could claim being unchanged by the experience.
The Wapping Project is never static; it avoided solidifying into something that can be easily defined.
/ Passage /
All these dynamic nouns define our state and ethos.
We are obsessed with journeys.
/ Passage /
We commissioned and produced many works over the years inspired by the dynamics of being, journeys and transformations including Passage, 2013, and Passages, 1996.
We are returning to these themes in this volume of new writing at the time of tectonic political shifts. In the aftermath of the European Union membership referendum last year, the whole of the UK, its residents and citizens, are in the state of passage. We are on a journey drifting away. The English Channel (or La Manche as the French call it) somehow managed to stretch and is continuing to expand. Will the Channel Tunnel — the narrow submarine passage providing the only physical link with the continent — keep up with the expansive motion of water and politics above?
We are bringing to you three pieces of poetry responding to the theme passage — Agnieszka Studzinska’s passage, Alia Syed’s Eating Grass and Heather Phillipson’s everything SLAPPED and CANDIED and OPENING. We are also sharing with you our latest international event series — Kitchen Conversations — that take place from San Francisco through London to Berlin.
A text and image work by Shona Illingworth — Topologies of Air — produced in collaboration with law professor and barrister specialising in international law and human rights Nick Grief and Andrew Hoskins, Interdisciplinary Research Professor in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow, completes the volume. This multilayered contribution is a prelude to Shona’s major new art commission she is embarking on with us.
Agnieszka Studzinska has an MA in Creative Writing from the UEA. Her debut collection, Snow Calling was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award 2010. Her second collection What Things Are was published by Eyewear Publishing in 2014. She is currently working on her third collection — The Branches of a House, as well as a PhD at Royal Holloway. Her PhD explores the poet’s relationship to the image and notion of home in poetry. Studzinska is collaborating with poet George Szirtes on an anthology of contemporary poetry focusing on the ideas of home — The Poetics of Home.
Alia Syed is an artist filmmaker. Her recent works combine her interest in storytelling with a compelling presentation of history as visual narrative. Her unique approach sutures different subject positions in relation to culture, diaspora and location. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Jarman Award and her latest film On a wing and a prayer was shown at the 2016 London Film Festival. Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012-13); 5th Moscow Biennale (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010).
Heather Phillipson works across video, sculpture, music, drawing and poetry. Her forthcoming projects include the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, in 2020, a new online commission for Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, a sculptural commission for Art on the Underground and a major solo show at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, all in 2018. Phillipson is also an award-winning poet and has published three volumes of poetry. She was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014, received Poetry magazine’s Friends of Literature prize in 2016, and writes a regular column for ArtReview magazine. She received the Film London Jarman Award in 2016.
Shona Illingworth works across video, sound, photography and drawing. She is known for her immersive video and multi-channel sound installations, and evocative, research led practice in which she explores the dynamic processes of memory, cultural erasure and construction of histories in situations of social tension and trauma. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, FACT, Liverpool, UNSW Galleries, Sydney, and the Wellcome Collection, London. Upcoming exhibitions include Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, and Imperial War Museum, London. A book on her recent work will be published in 2017.
Nick Grief is a professor in Kent Law School and a barrister practising from Doughty Street Chambers. He specialises in international law and human rights. He graduated with a PhD on public international law in the airspace of the high seas from the University of Kent, where he currently teaches. He was a member of the legal team which recently represented the Marshall Islands in the International Court of Justice in cases against India, Pakistan and the UK concerning the obligation to negotiate in good faith towards nuclear disarmament. The team was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in the ICJ.
Andrew Hoskins is Interdisciplinary Research Professor in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow. His research connects multiple aspects of emergent digital society: media, memory, conflict, risk, security, and privacy. His latest book (with John Tulloch) is: Risk and Hyperconnectivity: Media and Memories of Neoliberalism (2016). He is founding Editor-in-Chief of the Sage journal of Memory Studies. His AHRC Research Leadership Fellowship with the British Army’s Historical Branch in Whitehall and The National Archives exposed the impact of cultural, technological, economic, and policy change on organisations, archivists, and records, and on the history of warfare (archivesofwar.com).