In February 2023, Latitudes was commissioned to write a text on the practice of Crystal Bennes. “Betwixt 2024”, the next iteration of publications of the Freelands Artist Programme, will be out in February 2024, coinciding with an exhibition of Bennes’ work alongside 19 other artists from across the UK
Involving tapestry, sculptural installation, video, and performance, Bennes’ new project will later be exhibited at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh. It addresses the rapaciousness and sophistry of commodities trading, an arena in which financial instruments are used to bet on the future value of raw materials and natural resources including crude oil, metals, coffee, and cotton.
The Freelands Artist Programme supports and grows regional arts ecosystems by fostering long-term relationships and collaborations between emerging artists and arts organisations around the UK. Between 2022–24, Freelands is working with four organisations – g39 in Cardiff, PS2 in Belfast, Site Gallery in Sheffield, and Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh. Over the two years, each of these organisations is supporting a cohort of five artists to take part each year – each artist participating in the programme receives an annual grant of £5k, as well as the opportunity to take part in talks, workshops and other programmed events and a budget for travel, additionally, some organisations offer studio space and/or exhibitions.
Dr Crystal Bennes is an American artist, researcher, writer and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her practice is grounded in long-term projects that foreground archival research, durational fieldwork and material experimentation. Recent bodies of work include an ongoing photographic exploration of an artificial island in Sweden created entirely out of radioactive waste from industrially-produced synthetic fertiliser and the experimental recreation of a nineteenth-century hay meadow based on a myth of unintentional plant migration from Italy to Denmark.
Klara and the Bomb, her first photobook—charting connecting threads between the U.S.’s nuclear weapons research, women programmers, the invention of modern computers, and nuclear colonialism—was published by The Eriskay Connection in 2022. She recently completed an AHRC-funded practice-based PhD in fine art at Northumbria University researching the histories and uses of gendered representations of nature in the sciences and exploring feminist critiques of physics. Between 2022–2024 she is a resident at Talbot Rice Gallery as part of a Freelands Foundation Artists programme. Together with Tom Jeffreys, she edits The Peninent Review.
Freelands Foundation is a London-based non-profit organisation set up in 2015 by Elisabeth Murdoch, supporting UK-based artistic practice through residencies, workshops, screenings and resources for teachers and educators; an annual Freelands Award to an organisation championing mid-career women artists.
Title: “Betwixt 2024”
Publisher: Freelands Foundation
Release date: February 2024
Writers: include Precious Adesina, Alice Bucknell, Susannah Dickey, Rosalie Doubal, Lara Eggleton, Colette Griffin, Maria Howard, Beth Hughes, Latitudes, Ingrid Lyons, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Zakiya McKenzie, Theo Reeves-Evison, Jenny Richards, Lucy A. Sames, Cindy Sissokho, Jamie Sutcliffe, Kandace Siobhan Walker, Sunshine Wong, and Mark Peter Wright.