Rebecca Jane Birch
I am an artist-researcher working with video, live broadcast/digital art, narrative performance and socially engaged practice, across solo and collaborative projects. I employ these approaches to tell the stories of place-based encounters between people and ecosystems, and the corresponding entanglements of human and environmental timescales. This work is interdisciplinary in approach, and I am currently visiting scholar at Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, here at University of Oslo.
I focus upon the lived experiences of climate change, including both of those suffering the impacts of environmental change, and those campaigning to prevent it. For example, my current project, Undermine, focuses upon a community of women protesting against fracking in Lancashire, UK, and was developed with the cooperation of the local protectors, many of them middle-aged women, who are engaging in political action for the first time in their lives. Following the women over three years, Undermine investigates the psychological implications of being undermined, environmentally, socially and emotionally. Project outputs include a feature-length documentary, and associated installations and performances, including solo exhibitions at Waino Aaltonen Museum, Finland (2019), and The Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK (2018).
Previous projects include Bristlecone, a documentary about the community living alongside the oldest trees in the world, in Big Pine, California; Happisburgh, a retelling of experiences of coastal erosion in Norfolk, UK; and How the Miner Looks, a video performance developed through time spent in private coal mines with the Freeminers of the Forest of Dean, UK.
I have had solo exhibitions at venues including ICA London (2015), Municipal Gallery Arsenal, Poznan (2007) and HotelMariaKapel, Holland (2009), and international residencies, for example at CCA Glasgow (2015), Banff Centre, Canada (2007) and AZ West, California (2017). My work has been supported by Arts Council England, Kulturrådet (Arts Council of Norway), Film London Artists Moving Image, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Outset, The Art Fund and The Elephant Trust.
I also curate and produce work by other artists, most significantly as the co-founder and co-director (with Rob Smith) of the live broadcast art platform, Field Broadcast (2010-2017). Field Broadcast connected artists, audiences and specific locations through the portal of the computer desktop. We were ground-breaking in our use of live digital broadcast as an artistic medium, commissioning artists to make work specifically for our custom built app, which delivered artworks direct to computer desktops as digital 'interruptions', for further information see www.fieldbroadcast.org.
Prior to coming to University of Oslo, from 2014-2018, I was Lecturer in Fine Art at Lancaster University, UK. My practice-based PhD (Loughborough University, 2019), studied the video camera as a performative and dialogical medium that creates and captures encounters between artist, participants and landscape. I also hold a Masters in Fine Art from The Slade College of Art, University College London (2007) and a Bachelors in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London (2001).
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Lichen Hunting in the Lillomarka, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Finland (2019)
Bell Mouth, Swiss Church London, curated by Kirsty White (performance, 2018)
The Yellowing, Part 1, Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool UK (2018)
Lichen hunting on the west coast, Fig-2, ICA, London, curated by Fatos Ustek (2015)
And the days run away Camden Arts Centre & Junction Consortium (public work/ performance 2012)
Bram Thomas Arnold, Rebecca Birch & Rob Smith, 'A Belgian Transect: Field Broadcast in the Expanded Field of Ecology'. Digital Creativities 26:1 (2015): 40-47.
For full portfolio of artworks, and links to a full CV, please visit www.rebeccabirch.net