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Conway Actants

13th November 2015 · 12:00am - 11:59pm

In person | Virtual event

 Conway Actants

Ellen Dana Conway by Deborah Gardner. Print, resin and magnifying glass.

Moncure Conway by Jane Millar. Beads and thread on printed paper.

Moncure Conway by Jane Millar. Beads and thread on printed paper.

Conway Actants is an artistic and curatorial collaboration between Deborah Gardner and Jane Millar. It is a unique, visual art project which directly responds to Conway Hall’s spaces, ethos, activities and archive. For example, photographic collaboration revealing the more hidden spaces of Conway Hall and scenes of the library at dusk hang both inside and on the outside the building, facing out onto Red Lion Square. Hexagonal structures suspended from ceiling windows link the bee hives on the roof with the collective interior space, mixed media paintings explore spaces, mixed media paintings will explore spaces and structures propagated by human and non-human agency and a series of assemblage works respond to archive portraits of key figures in the history of Conway Hall.

Composers Cynthia Millar and Roly Porter have also collaborated on a sound work in a response to the piano auctions at Conway Hall and the itinerant nature of the objects and music.

Conway Actants is a project that aims to make Conway Hall accessible for artistic intervention and therefore ultimately aims to increase awareness of an organisation with an extraordinary history of ethics and free thinking in Britain.

In March 2016, the Club Critical Theory group from Southend will also be presenting a free event and discussion at Conway Hall as part of our intervention there. Club Critical Theory is invited to intervene during the project, to create a critical space for a one evening event. Giles Tofield presents CCT, Andrew Branch (UEL) presents ‘Whose Space? Understanding Entitlement’ and Tony D Sampson (UEL) discusses ‘Assemblages, Contagion & Conway Hall’; linking to themes of space and propagation in Gardner and Millar’s work, followed by an open discussion with the audience.


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 Nahe, So Fern, at the Ebersberg Kunstverein, Germany and APT gallery, London and, most recently, the site-specific, Mayor of London funded art trail Curious 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.”

Southend-based Club Critical Theory creates a critical space, bringing about a public engagement with the concept of critical theory as something that can be considered and applied to public life.

Conway Actants Programme

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