"In the early stages of collaboration we use a kind of bastardised brainstorming to ignite ideas and send the developing work in unanticipated directions. Frequently, the starting point for this exchange (which is characterised by suggestion, persuasion, rebuttal and coercion) is a found object, or an image/text of a factual nature.
"We are interested in manipulating disparate elements; looking for unusual conjunctions, potential scenarios and unexpected narratives."
Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan's collaborative practice is cross-disciplinary, encompassing video, drawing, painting, photography, objects, publications and events. From invasive species and ancient oaks to ornithologist explorers and marginal communities, the artists utlize an improvised working method, seeking out the unusual, poetic or absurd interrelations between the unruly natural world and our multifaceted cultural histories.
The artists' publications include Alien Invaders (Book Works), which takes the form of a guidebook to non-native species found in Britain.
Drawing on both scientific fact and cultural anecdote, and offset by the artists' interventions, ten invasive species are categorised and illustrated, including the American Bullfrog, Giant Hogweed, Pharaoh Ant and Wels Catfish.
Other recent published works include a documentary of the mystic and scientist Emmanual Swedenborg, and The Audubon Trilogy, a series of short films drawn from the writings of 19th-century artist and frontiersman John James Audubon, following his escapades along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The first film in the trilogy, West Point, features Audubon's account of large flocks of the now extinct Passenger Pigeons in the woods of Kentucky. New Madrid, the second film, includes Audubon's experience of the New Madrid earthquake, and won the Wall Flower Press award for Best Experimental Film at the 2009 London Short Film Festival. The third film in the trilogy, Cairo, was featured in a joint solo exhibition at Cornerhouse, Manchester.
The artists' films have won a number of awards at international film festivals, and their work was the subject of a retrospective at the 2010 London Short Film Festival. In 2012 Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan directed their debut feature-length documentary, Between Two Rivers, which focused on the social and environmental problems facing the histroric town of Cairo, Illinois, in the heartland of America.
In 2013 the artists were selected for an artist's residency and commission by Headlands Center for the Arts, to produce a film in response to the cultural and natural landscape of the Marin Headlands, near San Francisco. The resulting film, Headlands Lookout, premiered at the 2014 Dokfest, in Kassel, Germany.
Cartwright and Jordan's work has been screened and exhibited internationally, with a wide range of galleries, museums and festivals. The artists have undertaken residences and commissions from institutions and organisations such as Forma, Book Works, ICA, The University of Manchester, The Swedenborg Society, Cornerhouse, Manchester Museum, and Headlands Center for the Arts, USA.
Recent exhibitions and film festivals include Innsbruck International Biennale; From the Mountains to the Sea, National Maritime Museum, London; Whitstable Biennale; FIDMarseille, France; 100 Years of Dada, ICA, London; St Louis International Film Festival; Darwin's Eye, Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA), Paris; Art, Science & the Origin of Species, Ohio State University; BFI London Film Festival; Documenta, Madrid; The New York Film Festival; Beijing Independent Film Festival, China; Rencontres Internationales, Berlin.
Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan