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The Pillars of Our Latex House

Artist: Tendayi Vine

Running Time: Sat 23 March - Sun 9 May


Price: FREE

About This Event

The Pillars of Our Latex House: A thanks to the gutta-percha tree and to those who keep it. 


Artist, Tendayi Vine explores the identity of the gutta-percha tree as a material, as a symbol, as an architect of communications but also as a figure of tension and displacement. 


The Pillars of Our Latex House is a project commissioned by Watermans as one of the pilots in the ArtCast4D project and uses the AAAseed software.


Indigenous to the Malaysian archipelago, by the 19th Century the gutta-percha tree was known for the rubber that made underwater telegraph cables a revolutionary success. But the industry, wealth and power of this history is shared with those who knew the forests and read the signs. And with those who continue to repair the damage today, cultivating seeds while miles of sap lines the ocean floors. 


The gutta-percha tree is a species native to Malaysia and was introduced to western industrial processes in the 19th century. Used across Asia for many years for a range of uses, the tree was harvested for wood/ sap/ fruit. In Europe, the rubber/sap quickly became known for its insulating properties and malleability - and specifically became the answer to successful underwater cabling. The use of this material advanced transatlantic telecoms and contributed to Britain's Victorian global industry, with gutta-percha becoming a common feature in everyday life (factories and businesses that would make cables but also jewellery, furniture, medical items...).The industry around this material brought great wealth and power as industries shaped cities and empires emerged as global networks.


Unsustainable and damaging harvesting led to huge ecological damage - the effects of this are still seen today with gutta-percha regrowth programs aiming to restore species numbers.


About the Artist:


Tendayi Vine is a spatial practitioner interested in invisible landscapes, systems, and the shifting boundaries that define our material and immaterial habitats. Her research is driven by a fascination with the virtual and the digital, resulting in outputs that span across audio/ visual installation and interactive workshops. She is currently teaching as a Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London. Alongside her practice she has worked as a designer for events, exhibitions and experiences across the UK and Tendayi is based in London. 


Public opening evening 23 March 4-8pm:


5pm-5:45pm: Artcast4D - Presentation and discussion. 

6pm-6:45pm: Exploration of the identity of gutta-percha. A conversation between Tendayi Vine and Catherine Lenoble.


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