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I am excited to be joining Kat as a Research Assistant on the Freedom of  Movement and Transmissions & Entanglements projects from today until the end of this coming June.

Rachel at the Pompidou Centre, Mini Europe, Brussels
Rachel at the Pompidou Centre, Mini Europe, Brussels

I’m an artist- recently graduated from Goldsmiths Fine Art MFA programme (2013) with a BA from Central Saint Martins (2006) and this is a new move into academia which is really exciting.

My practice incorporates video, online, sculpture, textiles, performance and writing. I co-founded and still often collaborate with the artist run space Auto Italia, and with artist groupMoreUtopia! which are both concerned with thinking about artists research and the production of group work in visual forms. Other work I’ve done includes curatorial roles and design and event production.  Most recently as an editorial Features Coordinator I re-launched trade and design exhibitions and talks programmes for 100% Design and The Ideal Home Show– where I am currently also researching towards a project alongside design historians, anthropologists, and professors of material culture alongside the building trade called The Home Of The Future, culminating in building and populating a new prototype show house learning from consumer led design and technology to re-imagine housing in ways the show pioneered in the interwar years.

The model home, the replica and ‘naturalness’ in the built environment are my main concerns, in a period where office, retail, domestic and leisure spaces collapse into one another- though it is the inhabitation of these spaces that is the content of my work and I like to think these spaces form a kind of set. This has manifested in many ways through performance including method acting (Flatland, 2012), occupation- via sleepovers at Ikea and in show homes, and the use of costume such as as a fictional new society of women clad in a contemporary denim collection inspired by female wartime labour (Mia Potenco Konstrui Nacio, 2012, with fashion designer Dinu Bodiciu and art director Jessica Rose) to creating a fashion and homewares collection and film location, (Garden City, 2013), interrogating images of eco greenwashing and the houseplant, in the context of socialist utopian writers such as Ebenezer Howard, Edward Bellamy and William Morris.

Mia Potenco Konstrui Nacio, gatefold spread in Monaco magazine issue 6 with Jessica Rose (ed Katie Guggenheim)
Still from Garden City, a collection and location for a film, Goldsmiths MFA Degree Show
Still from Garden City, a collection and location for a film, Goldsmiths MFA Degree Show

This research post will give me the opportunity to think more about design histories, specifically through textiles production and conservation. It will contextualise for me the lives, lifestyles, geography and emancipation of women in an era in which design and literature proved incredibly influential- one that ran parallel with numerous other changes to people’s lived experience in architecture and the built environment. Constructing garments will give me another avenue to consider the complex implications of the reproduction in some very material examples. It will also be a frame through which to consider multiple ways of presenting new research. I’ll be asking more questions of myself- what does research look like in films, objects, interactions and many more forms? How do we present historical replicas, and what responsibilities do we have towards accuracy, conservation and care, and new technologies? What relationship does this era have to us, our contemporary bodies and mobility, and how we perform ourselves?

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