Friends of Begg x Co - Ted Le Swer

You studied fine art at Chelsea College of Arts, how would you describe your work?


I graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in late 2017. For the time being I'm still based in London. Since graduating, me and my peers have moved around various studios. However, since summer of 2019 a group of us, 9 artists and 3 curators, were lucky enough to build and construct a studio and gallery space in Deptford, south east London. Called Collective Ending HQ, we are an artist-led and collectively run studio and gallery complex. We have a yearly programme, albeit put on hold by Covid-19, where we curate exhibitions, events and invite others to do so to. Working out of this space is an incredible privilege, one where collectivity is a core value and in an environment which cherishes collaboration. My personal practice is formed from moving image and sculpture. Through film, narrative and props the work explores how contemporary society values ecology. Speculating on the narratives that construct conceptions of ecology and ways of collectively re-imagining our relations to it. 


Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?


Conversations are key. Working amongst other artists, writers and designers gives the most idyllic environments for drumming up inspiring and diverse thoughts. You never know where those conversations may lead or to what type of collaborations they might bring! That and leaving the studio when you can, seeing new spaces, places and environments. All this coupled with reading and hopefully then you have fertile ground to start hashing out new projects. That are relevant and that lead to further interesting spaces of research.

Were you able to spend your isolation period expanding your creativity, and if so, how?


During lockdown in London, I was able to work from home on a new film. The lockdown actually enabled me to have stretch of time where I could read and do material research. The working title of the film is Storm Arnold. It's a short film, which explores the narratives and cravings of other worlds. Investigating how narratives construct relations to place and memory and the implications of when narratives become corrupted. Storm Arnold combines four human and non-human actors, who are film Extras of the 1990 sci-fi film Total Recall. These characters are Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double, two so-called mutants and the atmosphere. Produced through CGI, prosthetics and set design, Storm Arnold is Filmed in the imagined abandoned film sets off Total Recall (1990), these bundle of Extras come to the location which is disturbing their memories. The Extras are forgetting themselves and at this expense they fall deeper into someone else’s omnipresent narrative. Only through coming together are the Extras able to re-organise and construct their own resilience against such a predominant narrative.  This film will be showcased in a group exhibition, with the private view on 26th October and running for 6 weeks. The show is with the other members of Collective Ending, and in the Collective Ending HQ gallery space in London. 

Do you have any music/book/podcast recommendations you could share with us?


I just finished reading Ursula Le Quin's classic sci-fi short story, The Word For World is Forest. A deeply sad yet beautiful story about colonial tendencies and their direct push of dominance that swallows up environments. A great read, which still holds much resonance today. 


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