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Public Sphere

Georgina Watson

Georgina Watson (b. 1997) is an artist, writer and facilitator from Buxton, Derbyshire, currently living and working in London. Through her writing, Georgina aims to explore her own interpretations of the rural landscape, often through a lens of difference in time and knowledge, family, memory and place. She also has a strong interest in collective and collaborative practices, which is reflected both in her own art practice and dissertation Letters Between the Rural and the Urban: Exploring Rural Condition, Collective Ethos and Socially-Engaged Art Practice. During her time at the RCA, Georgina has participated in multiple group exhibitions, published writing, and led and taken part in various workshops and collaborative projects.

Georgina completed her BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Art (LICA, Lancaster University) in 2018. Selected exhibitions include Everything Forever (online, March 2021), Part of the Community (online, February-March 2021) and Invisible Borders (Berlin and online, February 2021). Georgina has also published writing in The Pluralist (April 2021), New Critique (March 2021) and Mercurial Mist (March 2021). In February 2021, she facilitated The Place Exchange for AcrossRCA and delivered The Places We Miss for No Jobs in the Arts Fringe/UKNA Leicester City Takeover. Georgina has recently collaborated on Invisible Borders, with The Walkative Project and students at the Nuremberg Academy for Fine Art, and co-edited and programmed Mercurial Mist, with Effy Harle and Anita Marante. 

I’ve crossed a bridge and I left the map behind on the other side. There is so much more beyond the contour lines and boundary markings. The map cannot teach me the colour of the heather or the irregularity of the rural landscape. It cannot teach me how to be with the land itself. 

From the bridge I’ve followed the track, up the valley wall and onto the plateau. I once saw this place as flat and lacking in landmarks, yet now I see the soft undulations of peat change daily. Carefully I navigate across them wanting to both avoid damaging and moving the peat and to avoid falling knee-deep myself.

I did not used to like sitting up here. But now I relish my previous discomfort, questioning my assumptions and that which the map taught me. I sit unstitching threads and then re-stitch them with the holes in place. 

These holes, I do not fill but instead I protect them, looking through them to what I didn’t see before. I use them to build a relationship with the rural landscape away from the map. A relationship with this place as deep as the one with my own family. Now the unknowing, unsureness and discomfort guide me across the plateau and back home. While I do this my family hold my hand in comfort, for not all journeys are meant to be completed alone.

The Place Exchange — This digital publication acts as a record and document of the exchange alongside the instructions for others to be able to complete it themselves. These intimate pieces of writing, written on the first day of the exchange, have been generously shared by Sarabeth Domal, Georgina Watson, Sonya Battla, Maya Guileva and Sergei Zinchuk who each took part in February 2021, alongside another 10 RCA students.

Primarily, The Place Exchange was a sharing of a missed place through writing and spoken word. However, through its many layers, it was also a sharing of loss, grief and hope as each participant reflected on and shared their intimate thoughts and feelings about a place they miss and would like to revisit once the restrictions allow.

Medium:

Online exchange and publication
Mercurial Mist (Online Iteration) — A pile of images, writing and language from 34 Contemporary Art Practice students.

Mercurial Mist was conceived as the writing-strand of Everything Forever, March 2021, and was co-programmed and edited by Anita Marante, Effy Harle and Georgina Watson.

Across all iterations, Mercurial Mist remains a collaborative and de-hierarchised bringing together of text, images and language. First, the works were piled into the online blog (mercurialmist.tumblr.com), while a daily earmarked text appeared on the Everything Forever website before unfolding into a print-at-home iteration. Across all iterations each work took up the same amount of conceptual space, sitting next to each other, ready to be moved, scratched, folded, torn and rearranged. The formats required participation from the reader, inviting a sense of usership that took the act of reading further towards manipulation of language.

Sitting alongside the publications, three workshops activated the publications’ approach to language. First, a poetry workshop with Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot, focused on ideas of authorship, collaboration and productivity to explore how poetry can be a counter-hegemonic technology. The second event was a writing and poetry share organised with Elena Lo Presti and Hannah Charlotte, artists from the RCA were invited to bring along their unfinished/finished, rough/polished and legible/illegible writing to share in small groups before discussing their own and others writing. The final event was the print-at-home iteration launch, organised in collaboration with Hattie Morrison, the founder of Scrawl.writing. This generative event showcased the publication while also generating more responses and writing, expanding the themes of collaboration and mutation beyond the pages of Mercurial Mist.

A collection of four poems, each written to, from and around a different photograph from Georgina's childhood. Through a difference in time and knowledge between the then and now, she reflects on her relationship with rurality, place and family.

The collection of four poems, which form Moments in Landscape, have been made into a limited edition of 25 hand-bound and letter-pressed books. Each B7 size (87mmx125mm) book includes all four poems across 24 pages, is printed on high-quality 118gsm paper and is bound using hand-dyed linen thread. Alongside each of the poems sit a series of pencil drawings that are unique to each book within the edition. Through these delicate drawings, Georgina hopes to emulate her feelings towards each of the places and moments that the poems explore.

The edition of 25 are available to purchase via Shopify at the link above and will be shown at Cromwell Place between 21-25 July 2021.

Medium:

Ink and pencil on paper, bound with a card cover and hand-dyed linen thread

Size:

87mm x 125mm x 5mm