Emily Whitebread

Artistic Statement

Working across diverse media ranging from performance and video work to written publications, Whitebread investigates, breaks down and reimagines utopian futures as proposed by architects, social policy makers, technologists and scientists. Her starting point is how visionary ideas are formalised and presented in dogmatic forms in publications that canonise particular historic moments. Through deep research into these texts, Whitebread renegotiates these reductive archives to re-imagine the potentialities contained within the original ideas. 

Whitebread's video work Cosmic Tissue (2014), evolved from an interest in paper architecture inspired by studying Georgii Krutikov’s Flying City project. Her research led her to the conclusion that to make visible the intangible she could collaborate with trapeze artists. In Whitebread’s video piece the trapeze artists perform simple balancing tricks as they defy gravity to reveal the potentiality that resides in unsuspected places.

In her sound installations Harlow Utopia (2012), Whitebread explores how her residency research as resident artist for Essex County Council could come together to navigate the past and the future of Harlow New Town, a place that seems in constant transition. The work combined the voices of two vulnerable communities in Harlow: at risk youth and local heritage groups. It juxtaposed the futuristic voice of youth with the historical voice of heritage to imagine an alternative future for the town.

Whitebread’s process is complex and cyclical. She uses writing as a foundation, and as an artistic tool with which to develop strategies for her projects. Her work in archives and research becomes inter-related; ideas depart and return in a loop, at each stage they are generative and interdependent. Mixing reality with fictional literature she examines the complex and unexpected realities that arise. 

Whitebread enjoys collaborating with diverse groups from acrobats to physicists. These arrangements broaden her scope and propel unexpected narratives. The resulting work is a often a playful proposition or perspective on the world drawn from diverse sources and viewpoints. There is a sense of absurdity and a wry humour at work and often an underlying sharp political agenda.  

Future Events and Exhibitions

Florence Trust Winter Open 5th - 7th February 2016