The measure and meter of Milton Keynes’ unique layout gives/offers an interesting physical parameter for exploring/exploration. Through this workshop, participants will investigate how the grid envelops and holds its inhabitants—human and non-human— both physically and psychologically. Guided by a series of encounters, intersections, entanglements that counter and yet celebrate what the grid contains, participants will take part in actions and processes that ‘soften the grid’. Together we will explore how to perfomatively re-imagine the town by inhabiting the grid through the guise of other species, considering how prey and predator animals respond to the grid and the division of space in this unique town. By embodying the senses of other beings, or species, the workshop hopes to stimulate consideration of the way the structure of the grid, and it’s dizzying roundabouts, affects residents’ sense of rhythm, space and containment and therefore provide a way for all residents and visitors alike to relate to the space afresh.
Laura Cooper (b. 1983) is a British artist living and working between the UK and New York City, US. Her work explores how people relate to place and each other. Her work is performative in nature and results in installations combining live performance, video, objects and drawings. Solo exhibitions and projects include Silence of the Valkyries—online at PRAKSIS Oslo, Nomadic Glow at Centro ADM Mexico City Soft Revolutions at Space In Between Gallery London. She was awarded the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance for her project at LAM 360° the 3rd Land Art Mongolia Biennale, in Mongolia 2014. From 2014-16 she co-directed the artist run project space Global Committee in Brooklyn NY. She received her MFA in Fine Art Media at The Slade School of Fine Art London  and BFA from Glasgow School of Art .
Between 19th-27th May 2017 Laura will be artist-in-residence at Milton Keynes Arts Centre as part of artistic collective Tracing the Pathway's performance and research project Groundwork.
Groundwork is multifaceted. It is grassroots, organic and responsive, and therefore since its inception in 2015, it has operated as an umbrella project title for a variety of activities; curating unique artworks; supporting the professional development of local artists; providing a platform for internationally renowned artists to make deep, long-lasting and meaningful connections with the town.
Groundwork is unique to Milton Keynes for its focus on performance, site-specific and interdisciplinary work. It is also the only long-term, artist-led, self-organised project of its kind for/within the area which celebrates and debates the cultural heritage and identity of the town. As such Groundwork forefronts the original ethos of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation to champion artists as playing a vital role in community building.
The project has been developed by artist collective Tracing the Pathway in partnership with Milton Keynes Arts Centre, with support by funding from Milton Keynes Community Foundation and Arts Council England.
Image Credit: Laura Cooper