May - June 2013
Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus
The result of a two year collaboration with the Estates Department and the Performance Foundation at King's College London, site-specific performance and installation artists Ewan Forster and Christopher Heighes created an evocative three-room installation in response to the university’s abandoned Plant Sciences Department laboratories in Herne Hill.
Abandoned for more than twenty years, 68 Half Moon Lane was a site of great innovation in the teaching of biological sciences and most recently the location of Nobel prize-winning research by the James Black Foundation. Its abandoned laboratories, seminar rooms, lecture theatres, and storerooms still evoke a strong sense of collective endeavour.
As a tribute to a remarkable building and an examination of the practice and personalities that inhabited it, Forster & Heighes retold a particular chapter in the history of the College's scientific teaching and research through installation and performance; bringing the spirit and substance of one of the College’s suburban outposts back to the centre of the city and reconnecting it with the contemporary university.
Plant Science was a meditation on the apparatus of study and learning; an exploration of the performative qualities of the lab bench and workstation as sites of intense scrutiny and discovery and devices for pedagogical exchange and experiment. Glasshouse, green-board, test bench, workstation, fume cupboard, propagation bed, specimen cabinet and fire door – a building distilled to its essential elements, clarified, separated and reconstituted in the neoclassical environment of Somerset House.
An installation by Forster & Heighes.
Original idea supported by the Performance Foundation.
Presented by King's College London and supported by the university's Culture team and the University of Roehampton.