EM15 At The 56th Venice Biennale

EM15 At The 56th Venice Biennale

EM15 is a new partnership between artist-led organisations and institutions from the East Midlands including One Thoresby Street and Beacon Art Project, the New Art ExchangeQUAD and Nottingham Trent University, with support from the University of Nottingham.

EM15 have commissioned both the artist Doug Fishbone to deliver the project Leisure Land Golf and represent EM15 as a Collateral event at the 56th Venice Biennale; and artist and co-founder of One Thoresby Street, Candice Jacobs to create Sunscreen, an online project that brings together 40 artists with connections to the East Midlands region.



Exhibition Series



Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf will be the first EM15 project to represent the East Midlands region at the 56th Venice Biennale as a Collateral event.

The project will sit adjacent to the Bahrain Pavilion within a working dockyard, symbolising trade, tourism and the role art plays in brokering global complexities through leisure.

Mini, or crazy golf, as it is sometimes known, with its comical miniature obstacle courses and associations with tacky seaside holidays, sits strangely comfortably in the modern Venetian cityscape, which attracts a mix of well-heeled and mass-market holiday- makers and cultural adventurers: a water-side tourist trap spilling over with baubles; a city bursting with unparalleled cultural riches.

Exploring ideas within EM15’s curatorial context of “The Leisure Principle”, Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf is a distillation of notions of consumerism and leisure as practiced at both the highest and lowest socioeconomic levels.

John Akomfrah
Yara El Sherbini
Doug Fishbone
Ellie Harrison
Candice Jacobs
Hetain Patel
Lindsay Seers
Yinka Shonibare MBE RA
Eyal Weizman



Sunscreen is a new online project conceived by artist and co-founder of One Thoresby Street, Candice Jacobs.  A commission by EM15 for the 56th Venice Biennale 2015.

Following on from previous online projects including www.accidentalpurpose.netwww.inhale-exhale.uk and www.sleepingupright.com, Sunscreen continues Jacobs’ interest in the blurred space that exists between work and leisure whilst connecting her history of establishing and running collective artist led spaces in Nottingham with her practice.

As a partner organisation of EM15, One Thoresby Street has been built on past histories of knowledge exchange, collaboration and collectivity which have taken place over a period of 10 years between over 100 artists. With this in mind, Sunscreen considers the forms of exchange employed within artist run spaces as a translation of the social experience of a sharing-based-knowledge-economy; an experience that has the ability to provide new forms of collaboration, stability, economic exchange and critical debate.

Sunscreen uses the screen and the online space as a form of conversation between the individual (consumers), the collective (producers) and the state (economy), and considers our relationship with consumption, experience, distribution and exchange via an ongoing collection of 40 digital artworks as screensavers, created by artists with a connection to the East Midlands.

Each artists screensaver will be created as a response to the wider curatorial theme of EM15 at the 56th Venice Biennale 2015, The Leisure Principle (see below for further details).

Sunscreen will develop a new international engagement with the networks that exist within the region and aims to encourage a culture of collecting.  By distributing the works for free, we hope that digital artworks will be exhibited in peoples homes, places of work and on personal laptops in cafes around the world, and that conversations are initiated around the context of artwork being displayed in this way. 


Artists include: Pio Abad, Frank Abbott, Liam Aiken, Bruce Asbestos, Jonathan Baldock & Rafal Zajko, Anna Barham, Dinah Berger, Wayne Burrows, Clare Charnley, Lotti Closs, Mike Cooter, Blue Curry, Blue Firth, Alice Gale Feeny, Lynn Fulton, GÂST (Laura Mahony, Dale Fearnley), Julie Henry & Debbie Bragg, Joey Holder, Abi Hubbard, Harminder Singh Judge, Jake Kent, John Lawrence, Feng-Ru Lee, Dinu Li, David Moore, Scott Mason, Shana Moulton, Fay Nicholson, Karl Ohiri & Sayed Hasan, Rebecca Ounstead, Alex Pain, Mathew Parkin, Alia Pathan, Yelena Popova, Juneau Projects & Sooree Pillay, Simon Raven, Joe Hannibal Rowley, Oliver Tirre, Freddy Tuppen, Jessica Voorsanger, Racheal Young


The Leisure Principle seeks to explore the complexity of systems that exist between the individual, the collective and the state; where the exchange and consumption of goods and services takes place on a local and global level constructing our sense of self, community and environment.

In the mid-13th Century, Venice emerged as a trading super-power built on the import and export of goods from Asia to Europe. New trade routes established new communities who exchanged not only goods and services but also different cultures. The Leisure Principle considers the concept of tourism and trade as a metaphor to explore current global economic complexities through one of the defining principles of leisure; that of consumption and how this consumption shapes our identity.

From the production lines of Henry Ford to 20th century post-Fordism, where language and communication transform methodologies and outputs into new forms of exchange to create the Information economy; the internet has become a new provider of the global trade routes necessary for the import and export of goods and services. The individual, the screen and the manipulation of the subconscious mind have now become highly valuable commodities.

The process of individuation is the continuous resolution of the never dissolved polarity between system and environment. Individuation starts from the pre-existing reality of the collective sphere, where the collective sphere is made up of the mass effect of the interaction and communication between individuals.

Individual and collective dimensions interact at a level of super-collectivity, where the automation of individual behaviours are traversed by techno-linguistic systems of production to shape a new environment, the Infosphere.