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Laura Denning – Phyx

Tue 09 Nov 2021



Free Entry


10am - 5.30pm

Laura Denning – Phyx

Phyx, pop-up associate artist event

A durational moving image work shown over the course of one day.

As – phyx – iation: Asphyxiation occurs when the body does not get enough oxygen. This impairs normal breathing and may cause a person to become unconscious and die.  Phyx draws attention to inter-species entanglements and shows how it is not just humans who suffer when we fill the air with toxic substances.

Phyx undercuts notions of the rural idyll by drawing attention to the fraught boundary exchanges of human and nonhuman. Oil seed rape (the yellow plant depicted in the film) covers the countryside in Spring and is deemed ‘beautiful’, yet pesticides used on this crop are adding to the toxic environment of our lived experience. The EU issued a temporary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013, but this has already been abandoned by UK government. 

Bees are one of the primary pollinators of this crops. After being applied as seed treatments, neonicotinoids occur in the nectar and pollen of crop plants. They also dissolve in water and are long-lasting in the environment and have been found at surprisingly high concentrations in the pollen and nectar of wildflowers near treated crops, meaning a number of wild floral visitors are also affected. 

Phyx explores scales and landscapes commonly understood as part of the modern agri-industrial complex. Ethical complexities that arise from the rights of these non-humans are posed. 

Platform is a flexible programme that reflects the diversity of contemporary visual arts practice made by artists based in the South West region. It offers opportunities for emerging artists to test out ideas, new work and recent developments in their practice in a public arena. Not fixed to a particular physical location, it uses a variety of spaces and facilities throughout our busy building.


Laura Denning is part of Cine Sisters SW, a collective of womxn working in film in Devon and Cornwall who are current Exeter Phoenix Associate Artists.

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