A visit to the Children’s Sensory Art Lab at C3 Gallery

This post looks at the Slow Art Collective’s ‘Children’s Sensory Lab’ (January 8-21, 2017) at C3 Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.

Sensory Lab 4

Last week I visited the Children’s Sensory Art Lab at C3 Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. The lab was created Dylan Martorell and Chaco Kato from the Slow Art Collective – an interdisciplinary artistic group dedicated to exploring creative practices and the ethics of environmental sustainability, materiality, DIY culture and participation. The collective describe ‘slow art’ as:

“… the slow exchanges of value rather than the fast, monetary exchange of value. It is about the slow absorption of culture through community links by creating something together and blurring the boundary between the artists and viewer. It is a sustainable arts practice, not an extreme solution; a reasonable alternative to deal with real problems in contemporary art practice.” (Slow Art Collective website)

The Sensory Art Lab featured six different material environments spread out over the C3 Gallery space. These included a dedicated room for babies and toddlers, a giant loom and an archery area where children could shoot arrows at drum symbols (pics below)! A commonality between the activities was a focus on art making or aesthetic exploration through art. The Lab had an endearingly D.I.Y feel to it. Many of the materials were either recycled or everyday items being used in unfamiliar ways, giving a slightly eclectic and ingenious atmosphere to the show.

My favourite activity was the loom, a simple concept with high creative potential. The design of the weaving apparatus encouraged social interaction between people making textiles, opening up the possibility for new connections between people, materials and things.

Below are some pictures from the show. The collective also have a great website featuring all of their projects. Check it out:  https://www.slowartcollective.com

The children's sensory art lab at c3 gallery Melbourne

The ‘audible touch space’ – an area designed especially for children aged 1-2 years and their carers. Babies and toddlers were able to touch the silver triangles that had motion sensors connected to them with pre-programmed sounds

Sensory Lab 10

I loved this giant ‘archi-loom.’ The Slow Art Collective did a spectacular version of this at Art Play a few years ago.Sensory Lab 3

Sensory Lab 6

A bucket of material off-cuts, ribbons, wool and thread. Sensory Lab 5

The archery area – children could fire arrows at the drum symbols, making loud bangs of sound.Sensory Lab 7

In this activity, children could make paper basketballs then throw them at the drum kits.  Each snare drum (I think this is what they are called?!) was set at a different pitch, making different bass notes as the balls hit them. Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the Sensory Art Lab, it reminded me of Vygotsky’s work on collective creativity and the power of imagination.

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