TOPOS, an ongoing project by award-winning Exeter-based artist Volkhardt Müller to make and showcase a series of brand new works in response to the city and its populace, will host artist Dawn Scarfe for a week-long residency from 1 October.

Alongside lead artist Müller, Scarfe – whose work is concerned primarily with instruments that extend our senses – will use her time in the city to explore ways of working between different urban sites and the surrounding countryside, coalescing around the provisional theme ‘out of place’. Scarfe was chosen following an open call that received a wide range of applications nationally and internationally.

Mindful of work that Müller has already produced through TOPOS, in particular his responses to aspects of public life, the fabric of the city of Exeter and ideas of cultural heritage, Scarfe – who utilizes a variety of forms and contexts, including site-specific installation, performance and field recording – also hopes to work with local people to develop ideas and new work in situ.

Scarfe says: “Listening is an important aspect of my work. It is the means I use to engage with places and people, to discover relations and exchanges that might be invisible or unseen. I work with sound because it is a time-based medium, which allows me to explore elements of transience and resonance.

“The issues raised by the TOPOS project are very relevant to my choice of medium and working process. Sound installations are performative and durational, they do not sit well with conventional expectations of public art projects, where the value rests on permanence, solidity, monumentality. Instead, they are temporary, fluid, and can be elusive. For this residency, I’m interested in developing live exchanges between people in different places. This could involve signalling, a conversation, a distributed ‘composition’ streamed to the web or specific audiences.”

Lead artist Müller says: “I was keen to work with Dawn because I could sense a genuine overlap in terms of the driving motivations and interests behind our practices, but she has worked with different media to myself. This combination of shared ground and different approaches should be complementary and beneficial with regards to a process and outcome. Our mode of engagement throughout the residency is still open but I would hope for a contribution that resonates with and expands on what has happened in the space so far.

“Generally speaking, my engagement with artists and the public at TOPOS hasn’t been driven by a desire for conclusions, or to put it in arts terms: a good sketch isn’t vague – it holds imaginative potential and good sketches are what I am hoping to share.”

The work produced during Scarfe’s residency will be shared alongside material created throughout the year by Müller at a work-in-progress showing at TOPOS on 19-22 November. This coincides with Double Elephant’s Redefining Print Symposium on 19 November, plus a print exhibition at Exeter Phoenix on 13 November – 30 December. Scarfe will also be participating in an open discussion to be held at TOPOS on 3 November.

A solo exhibition of smaller scale work produced at TOPOS will tour to White Moose in February 2016.

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