As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Performance Foundation and King's College London Alumni, artists Ewan Forster and Christopher Heighes reassemble oddly significant artifacts from the College's former Plant Sciences Department laboratories in Herne Hill. Plant Science reclaims a variety of scientific and pedagogical apparatus for a final re-appraisal before the building is demolished and its site redeveloped for housing.
This evocative, three-room exhibition celebrates the innovative teaching and research that took place at the laboratories at 68 Half Moon Lane, and offers a final encounter with this remarkable building.
Forster & Heighes have been known for their site-specific performance work in the UK and abroad over the last twenty years, and Plant Science is their first installation since the critically acclaimed Trans Mittere (2004) at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. They have worked in collaboration with the Estates Department and the Performance Foundation at Kings College London for the last two years to present an installation that will enable the public to fully relate to the abandoned corridors, cold stores, growth rooms and glasshouses of this site of scientific teaching and Nobel Prize-winning research.
Forster and Heighes said:
"Over the past twenty years of working in unusual and abandoned buildings we've become very sensitive to how former uses leave powerful traces even amongst the most banal of objects. In Plant Science we've attempted to create an environment for a spectator to physically experience the archive of a building and to access the innovations and pioneering research that took place there through the language of its fixtures and fittings."
In transporting these key elements of the historical laboratories to Somerset House's neoclassical Inigo Rooms, Forster and Heighes marry the spirit and substance of one of the College's suburban outposts with the contemporary university in the centre of the city.