PLOT 16: THE FERMENTING ROOM (return of the rhizome)

2010-2012 Rose Hill, Oxford

The Fermenting Room was an off-site, temporary public art work commissioned by Modern Art Oxford (MAO) for the Art in Rose Hill Programme; a series of artist-led works that took place over four years in Rose Hill, Oxford. Over a period of two years, we were artists-in-residence at MAO, for which we developed a large-scale metal and hop sculptural work that negotiated historical references to the site of the gallery, a former brewery and the Rose Hill allotments in Oxford.  The plants grew over the 25ft high x 30ft long, temporary metal sculpture and as the months progressed, definitions, edges and borders became confused, destabilised by the unpredictable energy of plant growth.  This activity resulted in a work that changed with the seasons and in addition, over the course of the commission we produced a limited edition, green hop beer that sold in the gallery, an artists’ newspaper for residents and gallery visitors and several events at MAO and the Allotments.  These works attempted to embrace diverse communities and to strengthen the overarching premise to develop a contemporary artwork that would take place on Plot No.16 of the allotments, to engage with Rose Hill residents, as well as providing opportunities for the wider staff team at MAO to work with Rose Hill locals and allottees.  Celebratory events included musical participation from ‘The Horns of Plenty’ and Bruno Gustello and poetry by Matt Black.  MAO also hosted an in-conversation between the author Iain Sinclair and brook & black. 

Link to MAO site

Plot 16: The Fermenting Room (return of the rhizome) by brook & black - this text provides an overview of the project including details of the process; the work; the budget; and key issues.

Introduction and Artists’ Thoughts by Sarah Mossop and brook & black – these texts provide an insightful introduction to the project from the commissioner and the artists.
The texts below provide reflections on and responses to Plot 16: The Fermenting Room (return of the rhizome). They have their own place, generate their own intrigue, and offer new ways of considering art criticism and/or art writing:
Mellow Fruitfulness by Dr Tracey Warr – Dr Warr’s practice is based on writing with artists as opposed to writing about them. She was commissioned to write a text after visiting the work on-site and after holding a conversation with the artists.
Fuggles Writes (an Autumn Draft) by Jane Rendell - Professor Rendell takes a different approach, this time purely responding to the project images and conversations with the artists. She enables us to navigate another hop-filled time and place.

Commissioner: Modern Art Oxford, UK
Date: 2010-2012
Budget:  Total 9K (Paul Hamlyn Foundation, ACE and Oxford City Council)
Photos:  brook & black
Acknowledgments: Our thank go to  Michael Stanley, Director of Modern Art Oxford, for having been able to take risks and support us over two years in developing a project that connected different communities and enabled us as artists to extend the possibilities of a residency beyond the gallery.  Also, to Sarah Mossop, who was a wonderful and very adaptive Project Manager throughout and The Shotover Brewing Company, for helping us make such a delicious brew!

Link to engagement work