As an artist with Dyslexia I am interested in the function of art, and how people can engage with objects and space through their combined sense of sight, touch and hearing or feeling sound. I’m therefore constructing five unique multi-sensory sculptures based on the forms of platonic geometry, that offer the possibility of positive emotional wellbeing.

Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


By Kate Davey

The ultimate question in relation to the arts is – and perhaps always has been – what actually is art? Who is it made by, and who is it made for? In John Dewey’s 1934 book ‘Art as Experience,’ the author talks about the twentieth-century compartmentalisation of fine art; where the arts have systematically been removed from the influence and inspiration of our everyday lives, instead now existing in a sphere only accessible by an elite few. He talks about how monolithic museum and gallery buildings “establish superior cultural status, while their segregation from the common life reflects the fact that they are not part of a native and spontaneous culture.”[1]

In his book, Dewey returns to an earlier time, where:

Dancing and pantomime, the sources of the art of the theatre, flourished as part of religious rites and celebrations. Musical art abounded in the fingering of the stretched string, the beating of the taut skin, the blowing with reeds. Even in the caves, human habitations were adorned with coloured pictures that kept alive to the sense experiences with the animals that were so closely bound with the lives of humans.[2]

It is this connection to our lives, our experiences, our natural world, that so imbues Tony Spencer’s engaging and immersive project ‘Nothing ‘is’ Immediate.’ At the core of the project are geometric sculptures based on the five platonic solids that reflect the elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether, with the purpose of inspiring live participatory art events. Spencer’s project is as much about process as it is about product, inviting audiences – in particular neurodiverse people and people with disabilities – to experience a transformed gallery space where they can enjoy in an immersive experience that has been created for all the senses, improving wellbeing and ultimately slowing their brainwaves to the meditative alpha state.

Immersive art, as defined by Lise Arlot in her 2017 article ‘Feel it, live it: Immersive Art,’ is “the medium in which contemporary artists manage to engage a once passive audience through artistic total-body immersion.”[3] Arlot cites immersive artists as ‘brave,’ as many are working to create “complex and interactive installations, in which the visitors are completely immersed engaging both their bodies and minds.”[4] Interestingly, Arlot touches upon the human desire to experience being immersed in a positive environment:

People love space and love the feeling they get from being in a certain environment This is the reason why we may spend a fortune just to be on the nicest Hawaiian beach or among the tallest skyscrapers. Environments intrigue, excite, scare, engage, relax people.[5]

This more immersive art really challenges the traditional museum and gallery pedagogy, as well as what we think of as the function of art. In an article entitled ‘Discursive versus Immersive,’ Mark Wigley writes about two distinct types of museum exhibition; the discursive and the immersive: “One positions itself on the side of the brain; the other positions itself on the side of the body. One involves putting more words into the gallery; the other removes all of the words.”[6]  For the ‘traditional’ discursive exhibition, Wigley talks about how all sensory information must be removed. The white cube space is a blank canvas that ultimately eliminates all elements of smell, taste, sound, and – most notably – touch in order to heighten our visual senses. It is clear, here in the discursive exhibition space, that “the world of your senses and the world of art occupy separate spheres. You can look, but you cannot touch.”[7] Quite the contrary, the immersive exhibition space represents a “loss of this subject/object spacing by using the language of the multi-sensory as opposed to the language of vision.”[8]

The use of museum and gallery spaces to offer a more immersive experience for audiences can be very beneficial for health and wellbeing. In a world where we are constantly ‘switched on;’ where we are rarely present in any given moment, the opportunity to explore the stimulation of all of our senses can offer a moment of meditative respite. In her thesis ‘Reconceptualizing Space: Multisensory Rooms and the Immersive Art Experience,’ Melanie Zebrowski explains it as:

The nature of contemporary culture supports lifestyles that are lacking in practices of stillness. Always on the move and stimulated by outside influences it is difficult to feel grounded and centered. However, I believe that this makes the experience of such states more important than ever. By spending more time in environments that nurture these feelings, it is more likely that our sense of peace and wellbeing will grow.[9]

It is exactly the above that Spencer aims to achieve with ‘Nothing is Immediate.’ As well as helping us become active audience members and question what a museum or gallery space really is; what it can offer us; what we can have control over, the project encourages us to take a moment away from our switched-on lives and enjoy the feeling of the total immersion of all of our senses.



Arlot, Lise, ‘Feel it, live it: Immersive Art’ on Medium, available online []

Dewey, John, Art as Experience, Capricorn Books, 1934

Wigley, Mark, ‘Discursive versus Immersive: The Museum is the Massage,’ in Stedeliijk Studies, available online []

Zebrowski, Melanie, Reconceptualizing Space: Multisensory Rooms and the Immersive Art Experience (Thesis), available online []

[1] John Dewey, Art As Experience, p 9

[2] Dewey, p7

[3] Lise Arlot, Feel It, Live It: Immersive Art

[4] Lise Arlot, Feel it, Live it: Immersive Art

[5] Arlot, Feel it, Live It: Immersive Art

[6] Wigley, Mark, ‘Discursive versus Immersive: The Museum ais the Massage’

[7] Mark Wigley

[8] Mark Wigley

[9] Melanie Zebrowski


  1. The sculptures omit sounds, rich in harmonics and musical intervals. Listening to the sounds produces a response in the brain’s neuro oscillation. The sounds slow the rhythmic activity down from gamma to alpha, benefiting you by relaxing the nervous system. A further reaction is then produced as the body’s circulation system response by decreasing your pulse rate and blood pressure.
  2. The forms of classic geometry and fractal geometry correspond to the mathematics in nature. They are seen in the shape of an Octahedron and Tetrahedron, and within the repeating patters of reflection and wood and the images of fire and water. Science has shown that the same areas of the brain that respond in a positive way to resonating sound and sound intervals, also light up when you look at geometry and fractals
  3. The stimulation of your brain when explore the aesthetics within the exhibition releases serotonin, a chemical in the body which contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
  4. An experiment conducted showed that when people are shown images of water their MRI scan indicated a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) production. The activity in the pituitary gland in the brain moves away from a feeling of flight or fight towards a sense of rest and relaxation.
  5. When you experience something aesthetically pleasing, beautiful in colour, texture etc, you release dopamine, one of the neuro transmitters that lifts our mood and can have a positive change to our mental health.The stimulation of your brain when explore the aesthetics within the exhibition releases serotonin, a chemical in the body which contributes to wellbeing and happiness.


First of three exhi­bi­tions of new work explor­ing a mul­ti-sen­so­ry engage­ment, geo­met­ric sculp­tur­al instal­la­tions, five ele­ments and ther­a­peu­tic sounds.

Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is a collaborative project and exhibition by Tony Spencer and Kate Street that explores the relationship between the elements of Fire and Water. Responding to the tangible and sacred geometric aspects of these elements, the artists have devised a synergetic installation, which is activated by the movement of the viewer within the space. The works will also function as a platform for a series of streamed therapeutic sound baths that invite viewers to engage through sensorial visual and audio elements.

Gallery: Artspace Portsmouth

Launch Date: Soft Opening – Friday 23 October 2020 4pm – 8pm (bookable via eventbrite)

Open 11am – 4pm on Sat 24, Sun 25, Fri 30, Sat 31 Oct, Sun 1 Nov

Virtual Sound Bath event via zoom in the Gallery Sun 25 October 4pm – 5pm (book via eventbrite)

Address: 27 Brougham Rd, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO5 4PA

Phone: 02392 874523 Email: [email protected]

@tonyspencerarts @kate_street_studio


Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.




Over the weekend I celebrating a project milestone, with a Studio Soft Opening. I’ve built and created a space during Lockdown, which enables me to continue my practice safely, construct several sculptures, informing process, creating opportunity, expanding my carpentry skills and meeting my ambitions.

I could only invite four people at one time, but it was invaluable to test the new electronic components I have been working on to create audience activated sounds, which emanate from my sculptures. As the audience walked around the work, they triggered the infrared connected polyphonic sounds of the sculptures Cube and Icosahedra. The sounds, connected to the geometry and associated with the elements Earth and Water, relax and calm brainwaves to a meditative Alpha state.

Very much appreciate the peer feedback from artists.


You’re cordially invited to the opening of my new studio and the soft launch of my ACE project Nothing ‘is’ Immediate.

I built the studio with the help of artist Peter McGinnis during Lockdown, creating a resourceful space to complete my ACE project Nothing ‘is’ Immediate. The nature of the project required room to build five large sculptures, incorporate the sound of healing instruments such as a 32 inch paiste gong and to make the usual mess associated with carpentry.

In a time when live art and social contact is imensly valued, I’m pleased to invite you to small gatherings of no more than six people to share an intimate encounter with my work and vision and to let you know about the amazing exhibitions I have planned to present the project in collaboration with some of the regions incredibly talented and visionary artists.

Limited to four people visiting per hour. Book a free visit via eventbrite:

Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.