Reflections on Particulart

Clare has written a blog post reflecting on the development of Particulart, from the initial spark of an idea in conversation with Diana to the exhibition in Real Food, and the responses it provoked both in her and the visitors to the exhibition. We hope you enjoy the read.

Last night, at somewhat short notice, Clare also gave a St Michael’s Lecture, entitled “Particulart, or the art of knitting, chemistry, meditation and gentle protest”. She liked the title so much, she changed the strapline of this website.

Comments – “Particulart”

An independent café, where time is slowed and the audience is relaxed, is the ideal location for an encounter with a bunch of knitted chemistry with a message. Here are a few of the comments and tweets we received:

I do like a bit of #knitted art over coffee.

I was drinking my tea at Real Food, when I noticed a knitted particle on the table, then I realised I was surrounded by organic chemistry.

Had a sneak preview. Looks amazing. Do go along and see something you will never have seen before.

I wish I could adequately describe how happy I am that knitted molecular chains are an actual thing.

Diana and I invited the Incinerator’s Liaison Committee to our launch, which led to one of the most positive responses we had to the exhibition. One of the subcontractors told us they were used to attending ‘shouty’ aggressive protests, which did little beyond alienating them. Our gentle protest made him much more interested in engaging, and he liked the potential for educating the public.

Councillor responses

Councillor Keith Owen responded to our letter of 6 October after only a few days. He is the Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health and Wellbeing on Exeter City Council. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the exhibition launch.

Cllr Owen response - RE_ Energy from Waste

Councillor Roger Croad, who is the Cabinet Member for Community and Environmental Services on Devon County Council, required substantially more prodding. Eventually, in late November, we received a very full response (pdf) from the County Waste Manager.

Photos – Photographs by Ben Borley

We commissioned Benjamin J Borley to take some photographs of the Incinerator to include in the exhibition. Here are the results, including two that we had to exclude for lack of space.

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Incinerator (study 1 infra), 2014

Incinerator (study 2), 2014

Incinerator (study 3), 2014

Not shown in the exhibition

Not shown in the exhibition


Photos – Particulart launch

We had our exhibition launch on the evening of Wednesday 15th October, just before the inauguration of the Incinerator on the morning of the 16th.

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Diana spoke about the politics of the Incinerator...

...Clare talked a bit about the exhibition...

...and a bit more...

...then Michael Rigby from Cobalt Energy, a sub-contractor working on the build, gave an impromptu introduction to the engineering.

The head scratching response

The pondering response


Photos – Particulart hanging

Hanging the particles and Ben’s photographs in the Real Food café took over 5 hours. We were exhausted, but very pleased with how it turned out. Big thanks to Naomi Hart for her advice in the planning stage and help with the hanging.

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Dioxin from without

Furan from without

Diana putting the finishing touches to carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide on the way up to the café

Ben's infra-red photo

Dioxin from within

Particulate matter and heavy metals

Acid rain - hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen bromide, and sulphur dioxide

Furan from within

Exhibition blurb

NOx - nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxide - doing the flying duck thing

Polychorinated biphenyl

The lovely Naomi wrestling with a photo frame

Ben's photos