Turner Contemporary commissions 3 new virtual artworks that will launch online this Autumn

Hugh Maylon, Christina Peake and Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley have been announced as the selected artists.  

In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the team at Turner Contemporary reviewed their activity and, in a bid to support artists, launched 3 new digital commission opportunities. The selected artists are Hugh MaylonChristina Peake and Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley who applied through an open call.  

The open call process invited artists to submit proposals for work in any theme or genre, but particularly in response to the contemporary moment. The artworks are all being created specifically to be experienced online and explore innovative and ambitious ways of using digital media to engage and connect with audiences.  

Turner Contemporary is currently closed for a planned building refurbishment and the new artworks will develop and unfold this autumn, via their digital channels, as the gallery works towards reopening in February 2021. 

Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley have been commissioned to create ‘Memory Palace Thanet’, an archival environment in which residents can navigate and virtually sort through a growing collection of things or artefacts. Residents will be invited to digitise, document and memorialise important objects, events or knowledge.  In doing so they will create a digital archaeology of contemporary Thanet.  This virtual “open world” will showcase content which grows and evolves over time.   

Hugh Maylon will create ‘Still Suspended’, which presents the serial sense of ‘hanging around’ – whether waiting for news, waiting for it to be safe or not wanting to wait anymore! Through lived experience, this experimental online sound and moving-image experience aims to explore the tension of time. Perception and reality blurs as a feeling of suspension intensifies. Audiences will be able to engage over social media during the development of ‘Still Suspended’, with a virtual workshop designed to spark dialogue.  

Christina Peake will create a series of digital sculptures where viewers will be able to tour virtual eco sculpture park sites with an accompanying digital graphic novella. The sculptures and novella explore cultural and ecological heritage framed through autobiographical journeys to these sites during and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – both from the perspective of the artist within a marginalised Caribbean community and ally to nature. Virtual studio sessions and walks will connect artist, audience and environment. 

The artists were selected by a panel which included; Dee Ajiba, Learning Producer, Turner Contemporary; Roland Cowan, Architect & trustee of art charity Outset; Sarah Griffin, Director of the New Art Centre, Roche Court, Chair, Open School East; Tony Heaton, Artist and Chair, Shape Arts; Jim Moir, actor and artist;  and Victoria Barrow Williams, Co-Founder of People Dem Collective & PWR, Margate. 

Victoria Pomery, Director of Turner Contemporary says : “The Covid-19 Pandemic has had a significant and far reaching impact on the arts and cultural sector. During this challenging period, we felt it was critical to support artists and explore innovative, new ways of connecting with diverse audiences. This is a fantastic shortlist of artists and I am looking forward to seeing the new artworks come to life this autumn.

Tony Heaton, Panellist for the Digital Commissions and Artist and Chair, Shape Arts says: It was a difficult decision to come to as all the short-listed artists made strong and diverse applications and throughout the process the panel didn’t always agree! Nevertheless the breadth of ideas, creativity and skills at work across all the commissions reflect the vital importance of creativity and I look forward to seeing the outcome from the finalists whose thought-provoking artworks will provide innovative, new ways to be inspired and to think differently. 

Your support helps us continue to deliver great art in East Kent

Make a donation today to help us continue our work, including exhibitions, learning, and community engagement. Every donation – no matter how much – makes a difference.

Image credit: Yuri Suzuki, Welcome Chorus, ©Samuel-Diggins

Artist Biographies

 Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley  

Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley began working together during their MA in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury. Umut comes from a documentary film background but found himself making video games for the course. Anna’s curatorial practice research is based around ideas of translation and the interface. Soon, they found that their individual research and practices were beginning to absorb one another, and they decided to bring their work together more directly. Now, their collective practice uses language theory, gaming and 3D technologies to explore ideas of assemblage, mapping and the digital archive. It’s meant to be a kind of testing-ground for investigating fiction and gameplay as frameworks for both physical and virtual exhibition spaces. In line with this idea, they envision their practice as a fluid space, which engages in progressive and changing projects and “lab-like” curatorial encounters. As they are based in Margate, they find it important to work with local institutions and community groups. 

Hugh Maylon  

As a South West based disabled artist, Hugh Malyon graduated from Plymouth University with a BA in Theatre and Performance. Building upon momentum generated by You, Me and My Voice, (an ACE supported tour of the SW probing voice, communication and commonality) his practice has continued to evolve, particularly in response to the current landscape, entering hybridisation of moving imagery and live improv techniques. Hugh connects and engages with space and audiences through autobiographical, experimental play and shared narratives; “spanning multi-disciplinary performance/hybrid digital creation, I find meaningful connections and relationships through theory and practice, practically engaging critical thinking and emotion. Utilising commonality and reflection, I disrupt toxic narratives and prejudices of disability and society. My practice speaks louder than words – to listen to more than just words.” 

Christina Peake 

Christina Peake read Fine Art at the University of Brighton and later graduated with a MA in Postcolonial Studies from Goldsmiths College. Christina’s practise is research led combining fieldwork, primarily engaging communities and the natural environment, grounding learning and engagement within immersive experience. Christina employs a synergistic approach sourcing material from individual testimony, to historical narrative, creating new worlds that are as mercurial as the many stories that informed them. Christina has worked in the UK and internationally within a variety of communities and environments such as the Kukama indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon, to ex-offenders and women exiting prostitution and substance misuse with the charity Women at the Well in Kings Cross, London and currently as an Educator for The Black Curriculum. Christina seeks to share her stories and receive the stories of others with care and this essentially reflects her practice, deepening her contribution to communal collectivity and environment.