Something & Son: Exercises in Freedom

Installation image of Exercises in Freedom, Something & Son, 2022

Exercises in Freedom by Something & Son is a new, ongoing idea-generating project centred around the principle of radical trust and freedom towards the young people who attend Art Block.

Over the summer of 2022 artists’ duo, Something & Son (Andy Merritt and Paul Smyth) are carrying out a new idea-generating project, developing proposals with children who attend Art Block. Centred around the principle of radical trust and freedom towards young people, the duo are supporting local children to explore creative outcomes they’d like to see in the world. By handing over the decision making to the children, Something & Son are passing on the trust typically afforded to artists. Based in Art Block, the artists will introduce ideas of environmental psychology and its impact on creativity. A cave room and an expansive horizon produced from huge photographs by artist Nicol Vizioli, create spaces to support abstract and conceptual creativity, exploring different ways to experience the world.

By utilising Something & Son’s experience of co-producing community owned organisations, business ventures and creating public art-works, the duo will empower the children to conceive of their big ideas as an achievable reality.

“After two years of increasing control and restriction into all our lives, and especially young people, we want to put the creative control of the project into the hands of the community of young people who have made Art Block their home away from home.”

The whole project was documented by film-maker and storyteller Anita Safowaa to create a record of the children’s explorations of creative freedom and shared decision making.

About Something & Son
Something & Son explores social and environmental issues via everyday scenarios. Through permanent installations, functional sculptures and public performance projects they re-imagine the systems required to sustain communities and ecologies existence by building platforms for them to live.

Exhibitions include a solo show at Tate Britain; Tate Modern; V&A Museum; Manchester International Festival; Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; Artangel; Milan Design Week, Italy; Cultural Olympia; Somerset House Trust; Folkestone Art Triennial, UK; Arts Catalyst; Deon Foundation, The Netherlands; The Design Museum, London; MAK/Vienna Biennale, Austria; Kinsale Arts Festival, Ireland; Arts Council Wales; Royal Botanical Gardens Kew; the Wellcome Collection, UK; and Istanbul Design Biennial, Turkey. Upcoming solo exhibitions include Whitstable Biennial, UK; major new permanent sculptures in the River Thames and Milton Keynes, a series of sculptures across Liverpool and a food-based project supported by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

About Anita Safowaa 

Anita Safowaa is an interdisciplinary artist of British- Ghanaian heritage based in London. Her work focuses on observing and critiquing under-documented cultural experiences and preserving them by re-imagining key moments using a range of mediums including film, reflective writing and new media technologies.

Safowaa’s pieces have been screened at BBC New Creatives, ICA, 2020; London Short Film Festival, 2019; Aesthetica Film Festival, 2018; Playback Festival, ICA, 2018; She Lives film screening, 2018. Her projects have also been published by news platforms including DAZED and London Live.

About Nicol Vizioli

Nicol Vizioli is a multimedia artist who works primarily with photography and film. Coming from a fine art background, Nicol’s imagery is wide ranging, incorporating representational and symbolic motifs, mythology, painting and manifesting a deep interest in the natural and animal world. Her work is the convergence point of these worlds.

Trained in cinema and visual arts in Rome and photography at University of The Arts London, her practice is underlined by a meticulous craftsmanship and significant devotion to raw physicality, creating brutal but subtle imagery.


Art Block is the South London Gallery’s free space on Sceaux Gardens Estate for local children and families to make things, be creative, and play.

Open Plan is supported by Freelands Foundation, with additional funds from Southwark Council’s Youth and Play Grant Programme and other donors.

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