Visitors to The Lost Girl have praised the exhibition for using art to bring new perspectives on climate change. One visitor, who works in public engagement, said the use of recycled materials in the installation was 'very effective' and that they will be recommending the Arcade as a place see thought-provoking exhibitions.
The Lost Girl (13 January – 28 February 2020) is an immersive film-based installation, by artist and King's academic Kate McMillan, centred around the fictional character of a cave-dwelling girl to examine climate change and the Anthropocene; the role of creativity in forming memory and the consequences of neglecting female histories. Set in a dystopian future off the coast of England and seemingly alone, the character has to form meaning and make sense of her existence only from the debris washed up from the ocean.
It made me think a lot about how to avoid this future, and I'm not really sure what to do, but I feel inspired to do something. It's really great that King's is providing a space like this where anyone can just pop in off the street and check out some art!– visitor comment
I love it. I think it's so clever and incredible, and I love the way the film is made. This is one of those things that you could watch on repeat and see something new each time, as well as being able to relate to texts you read.– visitor comment
Featuring an essay from Jessica Rapson, Senior Lecturer in Cultural & Creative Industries at King's, the exhibition guide elaborates on the themes of the exhibition. As well as D.H. Lawrence’s novel of the same name,The Lost Girl traverses between 'cruelty and creativity, savagery and empathy, survival and failure'. Crucially, though, the debris offers the opportunity to create anew, offering a glimpse of hope within an uncertain future.
Kate talked about the importance of creativity at the launch event and her artist tours, which were part of the accompanying events programme. Describing her thinking around creating work amidst the backdrop of climate change, she spent a year collecting debris from coastlines, some of which featured in the exhibition, and considered how creativity is used 'to respond to the world we find ourselves in'.
Other events included a symposium exploring the themes of the exhibition, an in conversation with Jessica and Kate and workshops with Climate Museum UK and artist Angela Maddock, who taught participants mending skills such as darning and patching.
The programme also featured a 'speed date' event with King's Sustainability team, offering an opportunity to meet and network with King's researchers, students and professionals working and studying in the field of sustainability and beyond.
The exhibition was supported by a team of gallery assistants who engaged with visitors and gathered feedback about their experiences, with King’s students accounting for 50% of the total audience.
The majority of visitors rated the exhibition as 'excellent', with many saying that it had made them think differently about climate change and how much they waste. Visitors also commented on the power of art to instigate change, with one saying they would take away 'a positive thought that universities give the chance to their students to get inspired from art.'
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The Arcade at Bush House is part of the Strand Cultural Quarter at King’s College London, home to a diverse programme of events, installations and exhibitions featuring the #KingsCulturalCommunity
Photography by Jo Mieszkowski