A site responsive project at Conway Hall
Conway Actants was a project that aimed to make Conway Hall accessible for artistic intervention and therefore ultimately aimed to increase awareness of an organisation with an extraordinary history of ethics and freethinking in Britain.
An artistic and curatorial collaboration between Deborah Gardner and Jane Millar, the visual art project directly responded to Conway Hall’s spaces, ethos, activities and archive.
Photographic collaboration revealed the more hidden spaces of Conway Hall, hexagonal structures suspended from ceiling windows linked the bee hives on the roof with the collective interior space, mixed media paintings explored spaces and structures propagated by human and non-human agency and a series of assemblage works responded to archive portraits of key figures in the history of Conway Hall. Composers Cynthia Millar and Roly Porter also collaborated on a sound work as a response to the piano auctions held quarterly at Conway Hall and the itinerant nature of the objects and music.
As part of the project, the Club Critical Theory group from Southend presented a free event at Conway Hall, which brought about public engagement with the concept of critical theory as something that can be considered and applied to public life.
Deborah Gardner and Jane Millar are both artists and lecturers who have collaborated in several national and international projects, such as the exhibition, So Near So Far/So Nahi, So Fern, at the Ebersberg Kunstverein, Germany and APT Gallery, London and, most recently, the site-specific, Mayor of London funded art trail at West Norwood Cemetery, curated by Jane Millar, which attracted over six thousand visitors.
Roly Porter and Cynthia Millar have collaborated a number of times since Aldeburgh Music’s Faster than Sound commissioned ‘Fall Back.’ Roly Porter began his career as a member of Dubstep duo Vex’d and now works as a composer exploring sensual electronics and post-human landscapes as part of Bristol based Subtext Recordings. Cynthia Millar is best known as a player of the Ondes Martenot and has composed a number of scores for feature film, television and theatre.