Tate Modern Workshop


Spike Associates Tate Exchange Event

Explore the value of production through a series of workshops and ongoing activities, performances and interruptions

Take part in an animated programme of activities along a production line, churning out objects in an unending cycle of construction, deconstruction and recycling. You can also be a spectator of the process, activities and performances.

Bring your own questions and concerns to the floor as Spike Associates aim to open up discussion around the impact that various kinds of production can have on communities, the economy, our sense of worth and happiness, as producers and/or consumers.

Artists participating in the Spike Associates Tate Exchange project are: Anwyl Cooper-Willis, Caroline Gill, Victoria Kaye, Borislava Kostova, Carol Laidler, Natasha MacVoy, Rob Martinique, James Norman, Penny Simons, John Simpson, John Steed and Kathy Wyatt. Curated by Laura Bottin and Natasha MacVoy.


  • 14.00 – 15.00: Printing Cells by John Simpson

This collaborative printmaking session uses rollers and spoons as printing presses to experiment with cell imagery and microbiological structures. The images are made on translucent paper or sheer fabric and then hung and layered in order to construct a three-dimensional installation

  • 15.00 – 16.00: Cut Up by Carol Laidler

Join in with a series of word/text generating activities, both analogue and digital. Using the ‘cut-up ’ and ‘fold-in method‘, make poetry, word strings and letter printing on the theme of production, assembly and disassembly. This activity is inspired by artist Tristan Tzara, who at a 1920s surrealist rally proposed to create a poem on the spot by pulling words out of a hat. A riot ensued which wrecked the theatre. The exercise was later revived in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs.

  • 16.00 – 17.00: Sit In by Borislava Kostova and Penny Simons

Join a session inspired by the Eastern European tradition седянка (sedianka, literally meaning “sitting together” in a group), where communities used to gather together in the evenings to knit, weave, sew and tell each other stories. The space is defined by a carpet – created by one of the artist’s grandmothers at a sedianka – on which an improvised loom made from a clothes rack enables participants to stand or sit whilst they work.

This activity includes sewing using kebab sticks as needles, plastic, paper, knitting and knotting wool, twine, rope with needles made from found wood and plastic, hanging found objects, cutlery, picture frames and storytelling.

Ongoing activities and interruptions

  • Soundscape by Caroline Gill and Kathy Wyatt

From background noise to short bursts of intense sound, audio provides a ‘groove’ for the boiler-suited workers to respond to, including industrial sounds, sirens, and commands to the looping inner thoughts and feelings of the ‘workers’. This layered and fragmentary piece will evolve during the occupation at Tate Exchange.

  • Workers Unite by James Norman

You are invited to sit down opposite the ‘Boss’ and take part in a fake arm wrestle to claim your reward, in this interactive, dada-esque performance that comments on pre-Thatcher labour relations and manual work.

  • Graphic Choir by James Norman

Join in with ‘Music while you Work’ with lyrics by Windsor and Newton. Please note: this is not singing but ‘sound making’ with voice.

  • Workers Educational Programme: Mini-Lectures by James Norman

Listen to one-minute didactic lectures on selected artworks from Tate’s Collection via a megaphone.

  • Strike a Pose by James Norman

Hearing a whistle? Look out for the workers striking socialist realist poses in boiler suits…

  • Take a Tour by Rob Martinique

Our resident health and safety artist gives guided tours upon request, taking visitors on a walk through the production line’s inner workings.

  • Hide and Seek by Natasha MacVoy

Reflective activities taking Tate Modern as a place of resource and refuge.

  • Database by Anwyl Cooper-Willis

Day-to-day documentation of the event including film, photography, collected objects and sketches, archived on-site in real time.

This event is programmed by Spike Island, a Tate Exchange Associate.

About Spike Island

Spike Island is an international centre for contemporary art and design in Bristol, UK.

Spike Associates is a membership network of artists, writers, curators, designers and other creative practitioners based at Spike Island.

Tate Modern

Tate Exchange

Blavatnik Building, Level 5

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


3 February 2018 at 12.00–18.00

4 February 2018 at 12.00–18.00

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