Plasticity and Ecological Crisis

Environmental activist and #GreenFinance advocate Katie Kedward wrote a blogpost responding to the Narrating Plasticity exhibition. Here, she shows how the concept of plasticity poses important questions in relation to how we understand ecological crisis and the forms of intervention that are available to us. People often ask what plasticity has to do with plastic as a material – Katie’s post also offers fascinating answers to this!

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“We have to remember that we can change because we will soon have to change whether we want to or not. The social brain, just like the rest of the planet in which it is embedded, is beginning to suffer from the biggest ecological trauma in civilised memory. Mitigating its potential impact will require a remodelling of how society currently functions. Leaving it too late will see us forced to react to the consequences, transfiguring humanity as we’ve ever known it.

The narratives we chose to navigate such transformations, as the Narrating Plasticity exhibition so poignantly demonstrated, are crucial to better understanding ourselves. Not only as biological beings and reflective individuals, but as a society too. It is my view that the stories Western societies currently employ to narrate environmental concerns are faulty and ineffective…”

Read the rest of Katie Kedward’s article here:

Katie Kedward, Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
Plasticity, in general terms, is the quality of being easily malleable but able to hold a form once moulded, thus differentiating it from elasticity or fluidity. The material of plastic, my pet hate and current environmental scourge, gets its name from this very ability to be moulded into infinite different forms. Similarly pottery, ceramics and sculpture are known as the plastic arts.

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Narrating Plasticity Exhibition moves to the Inigo Rooms…

Following the exhibition at the King’s College London Anatomy Museum 2-3rd February, the Narrating Plasticity exhibition moved to the Inigo Rooms for another week of public display…

Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity, Amanda Doidge
After the vast space of the Anatomy Museum, it was interesting seeing how the exhibition adapted to the very different space of the King’s College London Inigo Rooms. The exhibition itself had to become plastic, and find new forms and structures with which to tell its story…
Benjamin Dalton, Amanda Doidge, Narrating Plasticity, Inigo Rooms, King's College London
The Inigo Rooms at the King’s College London Cultural Institute served as an apt dark crypt for Amanda Doidge’s disturbing mutating cups
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The scientists’ own plastic creations was displayed alongside images of their trips to the ceramics workshop…
Benjamin Dalton, Amanda Doidge, Narrating Plasticity
Thanks so much to everyone who left their comments and contact details in the comments book. We had reactions from artists, scientists, surgeons, environmental activists, therapists…. We are excited to continue the conversation with you all, and see where the Narrating Plasticity project leads in the future…
Isy Lacombe, Narrating Plasticity
Theatre designer Isabelle Lacombe visits the exhibition whilst visiting London from Canada…
Isabelle Lacombe, Narrating Plasticity
Isabelle has been a close friend of mine for years, but we are usually separated by the Atlantic Ocean. It was so special to be able to take her around the Narrating Plasticity exhibition in person, and hear her reactions to it. Isabelle is a theatre designer and prop maker, so it was fascinating to hear about what plasticity and plastic creation means to her on both a conceptual and practical level.
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Professor Patrick French, who supervises my PhD thesis on plasticity in contemporary French thought and culture, comes to visit the exhibition…
Catherine Malabou, Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
The Narrating Plasticity project film was displayed in the Inigo Rooms cinema… here is professor Catherine Malabou lecturing about the neuroplastic brain and the epigenetic human. Malabou’s work on plasticity has influenced the project throughout, with Amanda Doidge and the neuroscientists reading key texts of hers. Malabou’s work is also largely the subject of my PhD thesis: “The Coming of Plasticity: Transforming Change in Contemporary French Thought, Literature and Film”
Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
Because I clearly just couldn’t help myself…
Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
And here I am with my own brain. These two scans were taken before and after my endoscopic third ventriculostomy in December 2015. The brain on the left hand side exhibits hydrocephalus, whereas the post-operative brain’s ventricular system looks thankfully a lot healthier! This photo was taken the day of my annual brain scan and check up, and my surgeon Mr Bassel Zebian called later in the day to tell me he had been engaging with the Narrating Plasticity project… 
Dr Anna Kolliakou, Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity, Culture at King's
Dr Anna Kolliakou works at the Cultural Institute and the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at King’s College London. As Knowledge Exchange Associate, Anna has been the project advisor for Narrating Plasticity from the very beginning. I absolutely could not have done this without her imagination, enthusiasm, support (both practical and emotional), and her brute dynamism when it comes to dealing with emails. Anna, thank you so much.

 

Narrating Plasticity – The Exhibition!

Over Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd February, we welcomed over 300 visitors to the Narrating Plasticity exhibition at King’s College London!

On Friday, visitors attended the exhibition for a drinks reception, a premier of the project film , and a Q&A with project coordinator Benjamin Dalton and collaborators Amanda Doidge and Dr Sandrine Thuret’s team of neuroplasticity researchers from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

Visitors represented a diverse range of backgrounds, from philosophy, French studies, the arts, medicine, education, politics, and many other areas. This lead to such fertile discussion across boundaries, with a huge range of different reactions to the project and ideas for future collaboration!

Do not hesitate to get in touch with coordinator Benjamin Dalton if you have any reactions or photographs to share, or if you have ideas for how Narrating Plasticity could develop further into the future!

Narrating Plasticity exhibition, Benjamin Dalton
Gathering around for the Q&A with ceramicist Amanda Doidge, project leader Benjamin Dalton, and Alish Palmos, Curie Kim, Chiara De Lucia, Demelza Smeeth and Andrea Du Preez of Dr Sandrine Thuret’s team from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute following the premier of the project film! Questions from the audience were diverse and challenging, including questions about the future of arts and science collaboration, how neuroplasticity might be used and understood in education, and the ethics of neuro diversity!
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
Visitors watch the Narrating Plasticity project film for the first time before the Q&A!
Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton and Amanda Doidge
Collaborator and ceramicist Amanda Doidge with project coordinator Benjamin Dalton welcoming everyone to the exhibition
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton and Amanda Doidge
Mid Q&A (left to right) ceramicist and collaborator Amanda Doidge, project coordinator Benjamin Dalton, and Alish Palmos, Curie Kim, Chiara De Lucia and Andrea Du Preez of Dr Sandrine Thuret’s neuroplasticity research team from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute

 

Narrating plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
The space of the King’s College Anatomy Museum allowed for fertile discussion between people from a range of different disciplines and interests…
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
The exhibition told the story of the project in various stages, with a project diary, ceramic work by the scientists, moving image installations, a book for visitors to record their own reactions, and Amanda Doidge’s incredible ceramic reactions to the project…
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Molecular biologist Charlotte Mykura joins the discussion…
Narrating Plasticity exhibition
Architect Thomas Grove
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Child play therapy researcher Claire Neven
Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
(left to right) Dorianne Zerka, project coordinator Benjamin Dalton, Aida Baghernejad and Isabelle Blomfield, who appears in the Narrating Plasticity project film
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Social historian and Economist writer Susannah Savage

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Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity

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Martijn Buijs (left) with Knowledge Exchange Associate Adina Stroia from the Cultural Institute at King’s

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Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton Jennifer Dhingra Isabelle Blomfield
(left to right) Isabelle Blomfield, Christina Johnson, Jennifer Dhingra, Benjamin Dalton and Erik Pazos
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NHS healthcare professional Jacob Etheridge
Benjamin Daltonm, Jennifer Dhingra, Narrating Plasticity
Jennifer Dhingra, medic and advocate for sexual health education, who gives an interview on the plasticity of sex and gender identity in the Narrating Plasticity project film
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Kate Foster, 19th Century French literature researcher at King’s College London
Katie Kedward Narrating Plasticity
Environmental activist and anti-plastics campaigner Katie Kedward with Tom Wheeler
Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton Adam Spratley
Adam Spratley, graphic designer for Narrating Plasticity

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‘Expansion’

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Narrating Plasticity
Ceramicist Amanda Doidge and project leader Benjamin Dalton

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Visions in red
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Researcher in political theory Artin Amjady

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The Narrating Plasticity press wall, with posters designed by the project’s graphic designer Adam Spratley

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Neuroscience researcher Aran Batth
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Financial advisor William Rees studies one of the more peculiar exhibits
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Project leader Benjamin Dalton with artist Ailsa Chaff (left) and television presenter, producer and writer Sannah Salameh (right)
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Researcher in Spanish and Latin American studies Vincent Nadeau

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Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
‘Be your own muse’

 

 

Narrating Plasticity The Movie!

We are so excited to share the Narrating Plasticity project film with you!

We made a film about the Narrating Plasticity project with filmmaker Sam Plommer and which premiered at the Narrating Plasticity exhibition launch at the King’s College London anatomy museum on 2nd February 2018!

So many thanks to everyone involved, and hope you enjoy it! Feel free to get in touch with your reactions and comments!