Slow Art Collective developed and delivered ‘Sensory Art Lab’ at the Abbotsford Convent’s c3 Contemporary Art Space in January 2019 - a large-scale, multi-sensorial, participatory, and interdisciplinary exhibition offering a series of hands-on activities combining concepts of play, craft and sport - ultimately forming new installations that became “zones of play” for families.
The project presented seven new artistic installations and offered daily, free, drop-in activities that encouraged a ‘creative take-over’ of the Gallery spaces, building on active collaboration, co-creation and co-play. Visitors were provided with materials allowing them to contribute to installations and reimagine new “play architectures”, supported by artist facilitators.
‘Sensory Art Lab’ was an ambitious project that allowed us to extend our collaborative body of work, expanding on our exploration of concepts embedded in our practice including sustainability, the power of material improvisation, and the benefits of communal activity over and above the concept of the artist as sole author.
The exhibition celebrated the power of communal collaboration, as parents collaborated with children, and children collaborated with the artist’s material and arts facilitators across each activity, encouraging co-play and co-creation, and allowing each visitor to contribute to the installations by creating something together.’Sensory Art Lab’ provided activities that supported free expression through improvisation with different materials, designed to maximise imaginative play by providing seven spaces full of materials and structures which could be used in a multiplicity of ways. The freedom and non-didactic methodology provided were popular with both children and parents as well as the artist facilitators, who found that their role shifted throughout the exhibition period, becoming creative through direction from the children who were the experts of play in the space.
Seven new installation works were created, inspired by concepts of play, craft, and sport using a non-prescriptive, evolving “take-over” framework. In this interdisciplinary world where visual arts, craft, sound and performance became the stimulus for co-authorship and play,