Phoebe Collings-James


Interested in thinking about materials beyond the metrics of use and exchange value, and in playing with the subject/object binary in order to question the political underpinning of that construction, Phoebe Collings-James worked with Dr Elisa Mele to explore materials that have the potential to auto-erode. Focussed primarily on observing and recording the decay of an agar polymer, Collings-James monitored and recorded the colour, matrix and temperament of the various growing bacteria under the microscope.

This research has fed into a new audiovisual work, Guttesnipe Swipe, which combines footage shot in the Department of Materials with an abstract electronic soundtrack and poetry from Last Yearz Interesting Negro.

Phoebe Collings-James' practice is intentionally messy and sprawling, focusing on how we live with getting bodied. Extracting knowledge from the three islands of Jamaica, UK and Manhattan all and none of which she simultaneously calls home, she considers the journeying of the sea, pathways and opacity of routes as roots. Taking form primarily in sculpture, sound and drawing with a distinctly corporeal approach, she attempts to burden ubiquitous materials with a process of symbolic layering, all in order to explore emotional connections to the politics and erotics of violence, language and fear. Recent works have explored the object as subject, giving life and tension to ceramic forms. An ambitious new performance commision with Jamila Johnson-Small, Sounds for Survival at the Wysing Arts Centre in England, asks the question of what an anti-assimilationist practice might look and sound like in 2018. Exhibitions include Harlem Postcards, Studio Museum Harlem, ATROPHILIA, Company Gallery, New York, Relative Strength, Arcadia Missa, London, Blood on the Leaves Blood on the Roots, Preteen Gallery, Mexico City and Just Give Me A Minute, live at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.


Materials Residencies

Artists Phoebe Collings-James, Richard Paul and Rachel Pimm undertake research in the University's Department of Materials. Read more

Project Partners

Dr Elisa Mele

Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials
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Beyond Transparency: Works from 'Materials Residencies'

Thu 9 January 2020

12:00pm - 14:00pm

Exhibition of works produced by Materials Residency artists during and informed by their residencies. Read more

Beyond Transparency: Exhibition Opening

Wed 8 January 2020

12:00pm - 18:00pm

Join us to celebrate the opening of 'Beyond Transparency', featuring new work commissioned by Radar. Read more

Materials Conversations: Phoebe Collings-James and Rebecca Bellantoni

Wed 13 March 2019

13:00pm - 14:00pm

Phoebe Collings-James discusses her research into decay, violence, control and embodiment with the artist Rebecca Bellantoni. Read more