Announcing Here’s to Thee
7 October 2020
Here’s to Thee is a joint commission between University of Exeter Arts and Culture and RAMM, led by internationally renowned artist Simon Pope, to explore the more-than-human ecology and cultures around cider-making.
We’ve teamed up with Arts and Culture at the University of Exeter, on a fascinating and thought-provoking new collaboration which seeks to uncover the complex ecology and cultures that surround the art of cider making. The project – Here’s to Thee – is being led by internationally renowned artist Simon Pope and will see him collaborate with a team of creative practitioners and academics to explore the more-than-human ecology and cultures around cider-making.
Cider-farms are rich and complex ecologies, where people, other species, and abiotic natural and synthetic things come into contact with each other; plastic vats, oak barrels, submersible pumps, a range of apple tree species, lichens, farm animals, soil, agricultural policy, food health and safety regulations, all produce what we know as ‘farmhouse cider’.
A programme of public events and displays, hosted by the University, RAMM and project partners, will allow audiences to discover more about the rich and fascinating world of microbiomes and better understand how we are all connected with our environment.
“This project offers an example of how artistic practice is aligned with other disciplines – rather than being remote from them – and how artists contribute to thinking about ways to conduct and disseminated research.”– Simon Pope, artist
One of several events during the year will be a wassail. Wassailing is the ancient custom of visiting apple orchards in mid-Winter to carry out certain rituals which are meant to ensure a good apple-harvest later in the year. These rituals include walking from tree to tree, singing a wassail song and reciting an incantation as well as drinking mulled cider from a communal wassail bowl.
The impact that tiny organisms, invisible to the naked eye, can have on daily life is much better understood by the general public since COVID-19 struck. Microscopic life, whether viral or microbial, cannot be ignored. COVID-19 and its impacts will be incorporated into Pope’s work over the duration of the project, influencing the content as well as the practicalities of working together safely and observing social distancing laws and guidance.
Here’s to thee is supported by the University of Exeter, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Arts Council England, Canada Council for the Arts and Gray’s Devon Cider.
Keep your eye on our social media channels, as well as Exeter University Art and Culture, for the latest updates on the commission.