Interview with Laura Yuile
Oct 2016

A series of interviews with SPACE Art + Technology artists in residence

What were you doing in the year leading up to the residency?
I was finishing up my participation in the year long programme at Open School East in 2015 and then went straight into the 1st year of an MFA at Goldsmiths so it's been pretty busy and education heavy. I've been mainly concentrating on making sculptural work but have also had the opportunity to start working more seriously with performance, which is proving to be an exciting outlet for my writing. A large chunk of the year was focused on making work for an exhibition for Glasgow International in this really great shopping centre called the Savoy Centre, which is sadly becoming very empty and devoid of shops. It's a place I've loved to go and browse in shops since I was a teenager so it was great getting to take over a unit and make something to sit within that context.

What are you working on at the moment?
I work a lot with objects and materials that are used to demarcate or signal towards different types of space (public/private/corporate/domestic/etc) as well as more “natural” materials that we consume or place in close proximity with our bodies, such as soap, spices and other cooking ingredients. Throughout the residency I've been exploring the simplified, westernized and capitalized version of Feng Shui as a method to heal your home (or business) and in turn heal yourself. Feng Shui has become something of a fad and is often implemented by large corporations and wealthy individuals in order to develop effective branding and environments for increased productivity, wellbeing and success. I've been thinking a lot about the juncture between this type of expensive or luxury westernized Feng Shui, and the “low” level westernized version that sells cheap wind chimes and plastic waterfalls from bargain homeware stores. I'm working on a new video that will stem from a Feng Shui consultation and will focus on how screens and networked devices open up new windows in the work or domestic space and how we might approach some idea of wellbeing in relation to their impact upon physical and psychological space. I'm also developing a series of sculptural works that will be shown in conjunction with this video and feature debris associated with various types of spaces, brought into “balance” according to (my own interpretation of) the laws of Feng Shui. I guess I'm wondering whether - in today's precariously blurred categories of work and leisure – we can really imagine the activities of both work and life co-existing in harmony or balance (as in the freelancer who works from home or the office worker sending work emails from their phone on a night out).

How have you found the residency so far?
It's been a really valuable experience getting to work alongside the other artists in the residency studio and becoming familiar with their practices and approaches to making work. I've also been quite preoccupied with the location of Hackney Wick and all the changes that are happening here, which can be quite alarming at times. Having so much space to work in here during the residency definitely feels like a luxury.

What’s coming next?
First up is our end of residency exhibition, Moist Heat. Then I'll be further developing my new video work with the Feng Shui consultation for an exhibition at Generator Projects in Dundee. The consultation will basically be in order to help me construct an imaginary or proposed space of the near-future, where work and life achieve this harmony or balance that I mentioned. The conversation that takes place with the Feng Shui consultant will form the dialogue or back-bone of the work, and is partially scripted by me. Using this method of real-life unscripted conversation to inform the script allows an element of unpredictability into the work

Anything you'd like to add?
Artworks, fish tanks, little waterfalls, fountains, flowers, wind chimes, mirrors, little ponds – all these things change the energy of a room depending where you put them.

Laura Yuile is an artist based in London, UK. She creates sculpture, video and performance that often employs everyday household debris, cooking ingredients, stock imagery and home-spun techniques of production exploring the boundaries between public and private space, the fetishisation of transience, and notions of displacement and transformation in relation to the invisible infrastructures that shape our existence. Previous exhibitions include World Interiors, Savoy Centre, Glasgow; The Capital, Vulpes Vulpes, London, England; Co-Pourri, Caustic Coastal, Manchester, England (2015); Welcome to Ecumenopolis, The Arts Foundations, Athens, Greece (2015); and Conversation of Monuments, Collective, Edinburgh, Scotland (2014). Residencies include Temporary Art Platform in Beirut (2014) and IOAM in Beijing (2013). In 2015 Yuile was an Associate Artist at Open School East, London, and in 2016 she has upcoming shows at Generator, Dundee, and Generation & Display, London.