Asten Holmes-Elliott and Claudia Friend leave for Venice

Artists Asten Holmes-Elliott and Claudia Friend are this week heading out to Venice to undertake their ‘a space’ arts supported research fellowships with the British Council.

Earlier this summer Laurence Dubé-Rushby also completed a research fellowship at the Venice Biennale, which meant developing her own research project while also invigilating the Cathy Wilkes exhibition at the British Pavilion.

A recurring theme in Claudia’s instagram posts over the past weeks’ preparation has been a ball of wool that she plans to bring with her. ‘I wanted to create a visual connection between the two cities of Southampton and Venice. The handspun ball of wool is representative of the 700 year connection between them. It is 700 metres long. The two cities enjoyed a prosperous wool trade between them. I want to see how I might use it performatively or as a visual marker to reflect older connections and create new ones.’

‘I have been inviting people in Southampton to write their reflections on the value of art on postcards which I will distribute around Venice as I go, and document my progress on instagram, thereby creating an interactive element to my travels. The cards will inform my reflections of why I am there, how I engage with the Biennale exhibits and the city.’

The three artists have been keeping in close contact, and are scheduling a video call just as they did previously during Laurence’s research fellowship – giving Asten and Claudia a tour of Venice through Laurence’s eyes. All three artists worked together to submit a collaborative application to Venice Agendas for funding to develop their projects further.

We’ll be catching up with the artists again during their time at the British Pavilion. You can also follow the progress of both Asten and Claudia on their instagram accounts.