A research day / A public programme / A re-imagining of Sulphur the art-work

On Sulphur took place on 12 July 2018 at Toynbee Studios, London in their Court Room, Theatre and Courtyard, and featured an eclectic programme of talks, screenings and discussion curated by Sheila and Producer Sally Rose about sulphur the chemical element, sulphur as metaphor, and Sulphur the art-work which was originally made by Sheila in 2017 (click on the button at the bottom of the page for further info about that piece).

Unfolding in two parts the event was cooked-up as a way for Sheila to both open up and share the research processes she went through when making her performance piece, but also as a day of research in itself both for her and anyone who attended.

Would presenting different scientists, artists and work alongside each other illuminate new connections, conversations and relationships about bodies, politics and climate change? And could Sheila’s own piece of performance work Sulphur also flourish in a different form?

The day took place across two sessions with invited contributors - some of whom collaborated on Sulphur in 2017.

In Session 1 the programme included Professor Clive Oppenheimer from the University of Cambridge talking about sulphur as a chemical element and its relationship to ‘The Year Without Summer’ in 1816, alongside writer Agnieszka Gratza sharing her experiences of swimming in volcanoes.

Session 2 (officially opened with the release of a yellow smoke bomb), consisted of artist Tim Spooner performing his well-known piece The Telescope, Science Technician Ross Williams giving a live science-demo and a screening of short films including work by Lucy Cash and a collaboration between Becky Edmunds and Fiona Wright.

Also on show throughout the event were installations - Marty Langthorne’s light piece Turner Reflections, How To Make Your Own Volcano a work for camera made by Belgian artist Gosie Vervloessem and a series of Sulphur films by John Hunter.

The night ended with a reading of Sheila’s Sulphur text performed by artists Jo Hellier, Katherina Radeva and Louisa Robbin as a re-imagining of what the piece could be (more intimate / suitable for any space - large or small).

Aside from being a stimulating event, perhaps one of the most exciting outcomes of On Sulphur was the establishment of a longer term plan for Sheila practice - a company called POLLINATOR. This will be a new way of working which encompasses interesting curations that cross-pollinate and jump across boundaries - hybrid and migratory in form and full of generosity in nature.

Sulphur the art-work is now currently being re-developed to exist in an online form.

On Sulphur was generously supported by a Royal Society of Chemistry’s public engagement grant and using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Image: John Hunter at RULER

Image: John Hunter at RULER

Thank you for a tremendous day!
— Attendee Feedback