Will Foster was born in Sheffield (1982) and lives in Berlin. He has a background in environmental and socially engaged arts practice. He studied a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Art and Sculpture at The Glasgow School of Art and a Masters of Arts in Arts and Ecology at Dartington Collage of Arts, England which was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
Foster’s practice is a hybrid of applied site-specific research and conceptual play. Fosters projects have taken form of temporary and mobile structures and the curation of multifunctional social spaces and events in both urban and rural environments. He has developed projects while being an artist in residence throughout Scotland; New Moon- Porta Projector at Scottish Sculpture Workshop Aberdeenshire (2005-2006), Trident Platter at Cove Park Argyle and Bute (2005-2006), and Skills Bank and Use- All thing temporary and Mobil at Functionsuite based in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (2007).
Foster is the founder and co-curator of Cabin Exchange from (2002 until 2006), a project where multiple 10ft by 8ft x 8ft shipping containers were used to create a platform for an annual week long public art project. This project involved over 160 art works by local and international artists and took place throughout Glasgow, Edinburgh (Scotland). In 2006 Foster and the Cabin Exchange curation team where invited by Next Wave to Melbourne (Australia) for The Commonwealth Games presenting to develop a new site specific work Tug of Cabin, supported by the Scottish Arts Council.
In 2007 Foster undertook a renewable energy research trip traveling by bicycle through Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and Norway to arrive in Fykse on the west coast of Norway. This month-long trip culminated in a year-long inaugural residency at Barselgrad Centre in Fykse village. During this year Foster initiated several collaborative projects ‘Bluss – Low Carbon Temporary Light’ and ‘Plotshift – Nomadic Garden Design’. Foster has work featured in various publications; Temporary Urban Spaces- Concepts for the Use of City Spaces Birkhauser (2006) and PRAKTIKA- Creating a Critical Context for Socially Engaged Art Practice, Deveron Arts (2008). In 2010 Foster Subject To Change Without Notice a collaborative project with artist Guyan Porter that investigates the phenomena of Small print at Center for Contemporary Arts, Intermedia as part of Glasgow International Festival Of Visual Art 2010 and at Akbank Istabul, Curated by Basak Senova.
Recently Foster Exhibited ‘The Head As The Seat Of Reason’ at TÄT, Berlin. One of an ongoing series of site-specific projects in which the artist invites people to occupy and respond to environments that are seemingly void and unaccounted for. These investigations have taken place in spaces of varying intrigue and contexts: a vacant shop, a corner of an artist’s studio, a recently closed smoking room of a hospital and an urban wasteland.
Foster is currently developing ‘Wasteland Twinning’ a collaborative project and international research network that focuses urban wastelands that are at the centre of conflicts around cultural, economic, environmental and historical hegemonies.
Transplant- A future garden | Totnes, Devon 2009
As a token means of safeguarding what currently exists as an abundant and unique environment, bio diverse in rural and native species, this project implements an act of ad hoc conservation. Wild vegetation from the surrounding wastelands- an inaccessible environment earmarked for transformation- was selected and transplanted in the overgrown garden of Globe cottage, a more accessible plot of land with the potential for a more sustained existence. The transplanting took place over a period of eight days using a spade, a pair of gloves and bespoke recycled construction haulage bags to transport the soil and wild vegetation. This transplanted wasteland acts as a map to highlight and unify the elements of a diverse landscape, now free to exist at its own pace. Biological forms have been given agency in this environment while the surrounding areas may succumb to a prescribed future.
Transplant was supported by DCA
Duplex | Yorkhill, Glasgow 2009
This project introduced an arts community to the urban wasteland adjacent to Glasgow Sculpture Studios and increased public access by providing visitors with a chance to explore the land’s particularities, ecology, users, and future potential. The process, part colonization, part investigation, part landscape design, cleared pathways through the Japanese Knotweed and created meeting places, temporary signage, structures and interpretation tools. Two shipping containers- the Duplex, were sited and stacked, back to back, at the periphery of the site. Pallet steps were constructed to allow the top container to be used as a base and viewing platform from which to ‘overlook’ the wasteland. This project was the initial step to encourage people to further activate the space as an outdoor urban site for debate and investigation.
DUPLEX was supported by Lowsalt, Glasgow Sculpture Studios and the Scottish Arts Council.
Cabin Exchange | Glasgow 2002 2003 2006, Edinburgh 2004, Melbourne 2006
Temporary spaces are transformed by local and international artists who work with modular 10ft by 8ft x 8ft storage containers that are delivered to and installed on carefully selected sites within a given city. These ubiquitous metal cubes, found on streets in many European cities, are normally used by the construction industry for storing tools near building sites. Cabin Exchange has been run in either Edinburgh or Glasgow every year since 2002 there has been over 160 cabin works and has involved over 300 artists since its beginning. Selecting site-specific and site-sympathetic works that utilize a broad range of mediums and genres, presenting: performances, exhibitions, interactive installations, art-in-correspondence through post and email, theatre, dance, discussions, presentations, projections, films, games, auctions, competitions, workshops, readings and meals.
Curated by Will Foster (Founder), Charlie Bosanquet Stephen Jakub, Beth Hamer Nick Carlin, Jenny Herman. Cabin Exchange was supported by Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow International, Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Next Wave, Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006