Invisible Dust

London | Thursday 21 June
Pollution level: Moderate


© Detail of painting in progress for 'Plant Hunting' Fiona MacDonald: Feral Practice

As part of events taking place in Whitby, North Yorkshire, over the weekend of 7th and 8th July to mark the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific, artists Ahilapalapa Rands and Fiona MacDonald: Feral Practice are creating new commissions exploring the scientific and artistic impacts of Cook’s voyage, and the shared histories of encounter between Cook and the Peoples of the Pacific.

The weekend is accompanied by a lively programme of events including conversations with the artists, creative workshops and an introduction to a new Invisible Dust project, Many Hands, curated by Invisible Dust’s Young Curators, Layla Hendow and Natalie Lee and Under Her Eye Fellow, Yasmine Akim.

Click here for more details about weekend activities and how to book.

The Oceanic Reading Room by Ahilapalapa Rands
‘Aʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi’
All knowledge is not taught in one school – Hawaiian Proverb

In The Oceanic Reading Room, New Zealand artist Ahilapalapa Rands introduces us to ways in which knowledge and learning is gathered and shared by some of the indigenous peoples from the Pacific Islands.

Through film, maps, books, quotations and interviews, Ahilapalapa Rands creates a library within a library, a comfortable and welcoming space in which to explore art, science and research from a non-Western perspective. By looking at different ways of holding and acquiring knowledge we can start to find different ways of accessing our shared histories and make space for our sometimes shared, sometimes distinct world views.

Plant Hunting by Fiona MacDonald: Feral Practice
What might it mean to ‘hunt a plant’ in the 21st Century? Plant Hunting is an artistic and scientific exploration, reminiscent of that undertaken by botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, and artist Sydney Parkinson, aboard Cook’s Endeavour, and recognises that while systems of knowledge and modern technologies can vastly increase our understanding of these plants that fascinate us, there will always remain some excess, mystery, and a potential to know more.

Plant Hunting is an immersive installation examining plants that grow in Whitby today, but have their origins in the Pacific. Alongside personal visual investigations, Fiona has invited local experts who have a specific perspective and interest in plants, to describe these same plants using the technical language of their discipline.

Encounters with Natasha Pulley
Award-winning, international bestselling author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley draws on her extensive historical research and interest in speculative futures to describe her fascination with exploration and a history of possibilities. For Invisible Dust, Natasha presents a talk about how a trip to London with seven young people from Whitby and four days aboard the tall ship, Atyla, fit into her current research about a lighthouse-keeper working for the captain of a battleship during the Napoleonic Wars.

Cooking up a Storm: Finding James Cook, a Journey Through Time
Seven young people from Whitby are experiencing a unique research trip to London and will be sailing back to Whitby on the tall ship, Atyla. Returning fresh from the journey of a lifetime, they will recount their fascinating journey and findings, with artist Fiona MacDonald: Feral Practice and writer, Natasha Pulley.

Archive Explorers: Riding the Waves of Discovery!
A journey into Whitby’s past and the natural world using unique archive material from North Yorkshire County Records Office. Volunteers from Whitby and Great Ayton Libraries will also be creating an exhibition to set the scene – exploring art and the natural sciences and Whitby in the time of Cook – drawing on original archive material from North Yorkshire County Records Office.

Encounters launches on 7th and 8th July at Whitby Library, Windsor Terrace, Whitby YO21 1ET and continues until 24th August, in partnership with North Yorkshire Library and Information Service. For library opening times visit or call 01609 534350. Encounters is funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust with support from Scarborough Borough Council. #Encounters250 #Cook250Whitby.