The Machine Stops
Clare Mitten  Plantworks: Study for The Pollen Factory  2016
Clare Mitten, Plantworks: study for The Pollen Factory, 2016, Gouache on paper

Private view: Friday 23 February  6 - 9pm
24 February – 24 March 2018

By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter — one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. The Central Committee published it. In accordance with a growing habit, it was richly bound.

Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if someone might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured “O Machine! O Machine!” and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence.

- E.M. Forster, The Machine Stops (1909)

The Machine Stops is a group exhibition by artists Adam Hogarth, Clare Mitten, Gabriela Schutz and composer Martin Ward. It takes as its starting point E.M. Forster’s 1909 science fiction story of the same title, which describes a future in which humans live underground, with a global, omnipresent machine fulfilling all physical and spiritual needs. Direct experience between people and/or nature is rare and repellent; communication is instead made virtually through the blue, glowing plates of ‘The Machine’.

Applying Forster’s dystopian vision to the present day, the four artists in this exhibition attempt to understand how screen-based technologies are mediating contemporary experience. Through painting, sculpture, sound and installation, they explore their fascination with the future of these technologies. This excitement is tempered, however, by an increasing disquiet as humanity's reliance on the hi-tech escalates. Forster’s story serves as both an inspiration and a warning — just what does happen when the machine stops?

An accompanying essay by Natasha Stallard will be available as part of the exhibition.

Read the poem that accompanies Martin Ward's compsition OnLife here.


Adam Hogarth graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Fine Art Printmaking (2013); BA Hons in Fine Art from Northumbria University (2008). Exhibitions include: Cyphoria, Ply Gallery, London (2017), Unstable Monuments Old Bakery Studios, Truro (2016), Language Cannot be Dead, The William Morris Gallery (2015), The Art of Remembering, The Rheged Centre, Penrith, Dock Museum Barrow in Furness (2015), Never You Mind Honey, ArtsDepot, London (2015), Source: Narrative, Text, Image, Tate Britain (2014), New Contemporaries ICA, Spike Island (2013), SPECTRUM, NewBridge Street Space, Newcastle upon Tyne (2011), Unfinished Business,Wallington House, Northumberland (2011), SCORE, Vane Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Clare Mitten graduated with an MA Painting from the Royal College of Art (2006); BA Hons Fine Art Painting, University of Gloucestershire (2001); and BA Hons History of Art with French, University of Sussex (1994). Solo projects include Plantworks: A Factory As It Might Be, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow (2017). Selected exhibitions: Da Vinci Engineered: Renaissance Mechanics to Contemporary Art, Hull (2016); Complicity: Artifice and Illusion, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London (2016); Landscape with Machines, Coalbrookdale Gallery, Telford (2015); The Carp of the Tench, Dorothea Schlueter Gallery, Hamburg (2015); With Torch and Spear: Constructing Collage, Winchester Gallery (2013); Painting-Versus-Object, Standpoint (2012); Jerwood Painting Fellowships, Jerwood Space and tour (2011-12); Analog, Riflemaker (2011). Awards include: ACE Grant for the Arts (Plantworks, 2016); Bow Arts Award (2013); Jerwood Painting Fellowships (2011); and British Council residencies to Tbilisi (2010) and Dhaka (2008). Twitter & Instagram: @claremitten

Gabriela Schutz graduated with BA in Fine Arts from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (1996). She spent a term on an exchange programme at The Slade School of Fine Art, (1995). Solo exhibitions include A Walk in Myddleton Road, Bruce Caslte Museum in Tottenham, (2017), DISconnect, One Paved Court, London (2017), Holyland, Ein Harod Museum, Israel (2017). Selected exhibitions: ‘Street Seen’ at The Gefferye Museum, London, There is No Place like Home, Water institute Gallery, Tel Aviv, (2015). Enclosure, Danielle Arnaud Contemporary, (2014), View Point, Spaceship Gallery, Tel Aviv, One Way, 18m Gallery, Berlin,(2007). Schutz was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize (2004, 2005, 2015), and for Neo Print Prize (2014, 2016). Her work is included in large corporate art collections as well as many private collections in Europe, the U.S.A and Israel. Twitter: SchutzGabriela, Instagram: gabrielaschutz1

Martin Ward is a Graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, principal study composition (1991). His theatre compositions include The Wind in the Willows, Royal Opera House and the West End (2002-2014); Pinocchio, Royal Opera House and BBC4 (2005); Faeries, Royal Opera House (2010); The Canterville Ghost, English National Ballet (2006); Peter Pan, Polka Theatre (2014); and The Man With The Hammer, Theatre Royal Plymouth (2016). His operas include Road Memoir : The Podcast Opera, (2017); Clocks 1888 the greener, Hackney Empire (2016); Skitterbang Island, Polka and Little Angel Theatres (2014); and Dr Quimpugh's Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions, Petersham Playhouse and Edinburgh Festival (2012). Awards include : Olivier Award for The Wind in the Willows (2014); Flourish Opera Award for They Came Back (2015); and Off West End Award for Peter Pan (2015).