The Noah Laboratory (constructing soil)
Venue: The Collection, Lincoln Year: 2009 Commissioner:The Collection, Lincoln Project Manager: Lesley Farrell (curator) Mode: Installation Commissioner: The Collection, Lincoln
John Newling was Artist in Residence at The Collection Studio from January to April 2008. The Noah Laboratory is the final production process and installation of the project initiated during this period and developed throughout 2008. Over the course of a month the gallery will form the central distribution hub and recycling point for a newspaper containing the images and writings generated from the residency and will, through the installation, endeavour to transform the some of the papers into soil. This installation is the practical and conceptual completion of 'The Noah Laboratory' and brings it fully to a public audience both through the paper and the installation itself. It creates a dialogue between the sites of the residency, The Collection's permanent exhibits and archives of geological artefacts and social history, and the contemporary art spaces and collections of the museum. From January to March 2008 Newling began to make notes on the ways and means we use to connect with our natural environment. Then, from March to September 2008 he gathered these notes and started to draw together some of the reflections. These notes and reflections eventually became the 'From my garden' essay that acts as a key text in the newspaper. The final phase of the Noah Laboratory configures a work that, actually and symbolically constructs a soil from both the essay 'From My Garden' and the images of the transactions. A core element of the soil is a newspaper that will be mainly distributed on the Lincoln High Street and on the train between Nottingham and Lincoln. A proportion of the papers are shredded and become a physical part of the soil that will be constructed in the gallery. In this manner, the text and images are both a reflection on the construction and meaning of such a soil and the principal component of it. The Noah laboratory endeavours to achieve this through the material transformations that happen within the installation.