Work in Progress..

Since 2008, we have been developing ideas for a journey, and a longer period to focus on making work for the project. We have been offered a residency in Cape Town, at Greatmore Studios, part of the Triangle Arts Trust, and also at the University of Stellenbosch, in spring 2010.

Cape Town was the point of arrival for our great-grandparents Woolf and Gittel Beinart, who then went to live in Malmesbury, a small town in the Western Cape.

We want to respond to sites of memory, transposing our practice and using a series of tailor-made constructions to explore rituals, real or invented.

We are developing ideas for forms of luggage which might transform to become mobile kitchens, collecting apparatus, or transporting artworks made through the journey.

We are continuing our conversations through a number of means, from an expandable letter, to email, and face-to-face. We will explore how different means of communication shape our dialogue, and our responses to questions about possessions, home, identity, and place. Selected highlights will be posted here.


Katy and I have returned to Origination in waves over the past year and a half – between the other projects we are working on. It has had a long gestation period, and in a strange way because we’re sisters, perhaps even longer than we’re conscious of. Over this period, several artworks have bubbled up, and many more ideas. We are currently planning to move the project on through a period of working together intensely on it as part of a residency.

We have been discussing this blog, and how we’re using (or not using) it within our project. What’s a blog for? Sharing ideas, archiving thought processes, highs and lows, and creating space for other people to observe and discuss for our process.

So, to make the most of this space, we have decided to put more material up from the project so far.

Project History

Since April 2008 various artworks have come out of Origination: the slow process of research and conversation finding form in different ways.

A conversation which began as a letter sent back and forth became part of a performance at the OVADA Gallery, excerpts thrown (verbally) back and forth down a dinner table; guests were then served borscht and black bread and a film played showing the preparation of these recipes. We documented people’s dinner party chat which varied from family recipes, cultural identity, to what attracted them to the event..

Also as part of the OVADA show (‘Gift’) Katy made an installation at the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens, which used the language of botanical classification to notate plants which had made the same migrations as our great-grandparents. In the gallery, this was mirrored by a ‘family tree’ of etchings of plants drawing on the traditions of botanical illustration. Katy also created an artwork in situ in the gallery, a map made of lace work which charted the journeys back and forth, made by family members.

Working in parallel, in the South West (where she was studying for an MA) Rebecca was processing these family stories through a performance. She recorded members of the family attempting to speak the languages used by our Great-Grandparents, and herself attempting to speak Yiddish. She set up a performance space with these audio recordings, a large map on the floor, drawing materials, a projector, and a series of small boats carved out of beetroot. The performance was improvised with these objects: a cycle of listening, making drawings, attempting to remember something beyond her own memory, and physically tracing her ancestors journeys. Phil Smith who watched the performance commented on the strange mixture of informality and structured activity. The performance was an attempt to make tangible a set of stories no longer within our grasp. We keep realising that we are constructing these stories as much as re-constructing them.