Exhibition: Machine? Machine! - Camden Art Centre

An exhibition of work produced in collaboration between artists and local SEN school groups.

Machine? Machine! tells the story of a speculative machine of unknown origin and function in a display of peculiar hybrid artefacts that bear the mark of outmoded machinery and human touch.

The exhibition is produced by pupils from Swiss Cottage School and The Village School in close collaboration with artists Declan Leslie, Lucie Macgregor and Tom James. The programme combined the artists’ shared desire to reuse materials, subvert technology and experiment alongside the pupils’ interests in locomotion, science fiction and deconstruction.

Machine? Machine! showcases the unexpected outcomes from a year of experimentation that included dismantling appliances, collaging blueprints, making mechanisms and more. The exhibition presents an informal blueprint for collaboration and an eerie vision of the future where everyday waste and remnants of “cutting-edge” technology combine.

Machine? Machine! is developed in partnership with ActionSpace.

Our SEN Programme is generously supported by Children in Need, The Charlotte Bonham-Carter Charitable Trust, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and The Hedley Foundation.

Our wider Learning Programme is generously supported by the A.C & E. Foundation, The Atkin Foundation, The Cecil and Hilda Lewis Trust and The John Lyons Charity.

Images The Artists

The Artists

Declan Leslie creates very inventive fluid drawings in which he explores various themes. He likes to research a subject matter and really work through all the variations he can get from it. Declan‘s work is often populated by figures, he particularly likes scenarios that represent the more macabre aspects of human behaviour, these can include horror and grotesqueries in which he adds a twist of humour. He creates works with various drawing mediums and as part of his art practise he explores these mediums pushing them as far as he can go once, he has exhausted their possibilities he likes to begin experimenting with a new medium. Within his material experimentations he often creates his own unique techniques.

Lucie Macgregor is a multidisciplinary artist based in London and works between the capital and her native home town of Huddersfield. Recently commissioned by Deptford X Festival and Volunteer South London, Lucie’s art making spans through sculpture, drawing and ceramics, facilitating conversations and creative encounters through collaborative projects. Lucie was previously a member of Camden Art Centre’s Youth Collective and was a Youth Artist in Residence here in 2021.Moving between various materials and narratives, she navigates social meeting as a way to reconnect people and place. Translating mark making, writing and drawing through sculpture, she invites others to re-map space with her as an act of reclaiming personal geographies through collective gesture. Curious to push and play with the ‘boundaries’ which separate different methodologies of making, the artist considers surface as something permeable and reforming.

Tom James is an artist and writer, based in London. He creates participatory projects where people can learn new skills, imagine new ways of living, and actually get their hands dirty to give them a try. His work spans live, durational installations, participative workshops, and self-published fanzines. For the past five years, it’s mainly been devoted to helping people survive and thrive in the bitter, barren future we’re creating for ourselves and our children. Tom’s projects have been featured across the British media, whilst his cult fanzine ‘GO!’ is part of the permanent collection of the V&A.

ActionSpace is a London based visual arts organisation that supports learning disabled artists. They seek out and unlock talent, create opportunities and enable learning disabled artists to realise their potential.