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Public Domestic by Emma Smith at Loughborough University

Date uploaded: May 8, 2013

‘Public Domestic’ by Emma Smith

On Sunday 26th May at Loughborough University Emma Smith will present a performative installation entitled 'Public Domestic' at The Cayley Dining Hall 2pm - 5pm, commissioned by Radar at Loughborough University. Radar is Loughborough University’s contemporary arts programme, enabling creative exploration and furthering critical debate through commissions, films and conversation. 

Artist Emma Smith’s work has featured internationally in Canada, China, Europe, India, Kenya, Lebanon and Mauritius. Her exhibitions in the UK include Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and The Showroom.

Emma Smith is one of an exciting group of younger artists whose work is about process not end product. She often works with people to explore ideas about a particular location and the relationship they have to that place. Smith’s work is at the cutting edge of contemporary art practice. Her process based approach places the emphasis on the journey and what is discovered along the way. It is about the relationship between the artist and a core group of people participating in the project and what happens when they work together.

For her new commission at Loughborough University entitled Public Domestic (Lessons on Living), the artist explores the relationship between public and private space, freedom and compromise in relation to how students adapt to living in Halls of Residence.

The performance on Sunday 26th of May will take the form of a giant board game reflecting the process of socialisation and visitors will be invited to enter the game and become players who must navigate their way across the board by negotiation and compromise.

The commission has arisen out of initial conversations with Loughborough academics Professor Sarah Pink and Kerstin Leder Mackley, focusing on methods used within experimental ethnography and how these approaches can be borrowed, adapted and applied to areas of artistic enquiry.

Smith says: “I am interested to see how different people use the same location over long periods of time. I look for patterns of behaviour that are in some way related to the site. My own research processes share the interest anthropologists have shown in exploring ways in which people interact with one another and with place. I am fascinated by the transition made by students from their past lives, habits and behaviours to the development of new practices for future independent living.”

By observing the process of ‘learning through negotiation’ the artist has mined a huge amount of knowledge on ‘how to live’ and how students’ behaviour is affected by sharing domestic spaces and living communally.

Archive Photo: Hazlerigg Dining Hall c 1939

Archive Photo: Hazlerigg Dining Hall c 1939