RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014

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182 Geoaesthetics (1): Co-producing art: environment, matter and things
Affiliation Geo: Geography and Environment
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Miriam Burke (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Sasha Engelmann (University of Oxford, UK)
Harriet Hawkins (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Chair(s) Miriam Burke (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Timetable Thursday 28 August 2014, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Electrical Engineering Building, Room 403b - DO NOT USE 2020
Session abstract This session explores how creative and artistic practices engaging with the environment co-produce geographical knowledge, and how collaboration between artists, geographers and scientists might facilitate these practices.
Linked Sessions Geoaesthetics (2): Art and Environmental Change, co-producing knowledges
Geoaesthetics (3): Experimental Geographies: art, environment and co-production
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2014@rgs.org
Landscape, sound art and environmental practice
George Revill (The Open University, UK)
Based on examples from contemporary practice in the UK this paper examines some of the strategies and methodologies being employed by sound artists and composers to engage with environments, environmental processes and publics as co-producers of works. The paper takes as starting points both a politics of sound generated within a process based conception of ontology and an understanding of sound and landscape informed by critical phenomenology experienced within a tripartite formulation conceived as medium, method and modality.

The paper is based around an interview with Devon based composer and sound artist Sam Richards undertaken in Summer 2013. Richards work bridges issues of landscape, environmental processes and democratic participation. It critically examines his compositional strategies including translating and sampling environmental processes, making works in and with specific spaces, places, landscape and engaging audiences as active participants in the production of sound works. The paper considers this work in the context of other work environmental sound art and composition from UK based practitioners. The paper examines the implications of this work for ways of theorising landscape in terms of sonic spaces of voice, intimacy and distance. It also considers the ways in which landscape provides a medium for developing an aesthetics of connection between heterogeneous publics, materials, process and practices.
Field Recording and the co-production of space through sound
Michael Gallagher (University of Glasgow, UK)
This paper discusses field recording, the production and circulation of audio recordings of the myriad soundings of environments. I suggest that field recording is a process through which spaces are co-produced by a motley ensemble of vibrating entities: air, machines, animals, plants, electricity and humans. I pay particular attention to how field recordings are used in sound art to amplify ambiences and intensify background noise, engaging with what Cox (2009) terms the sonic unconscious of environments.

Field recordings are often understood as representations of the world, but I suggest that they are also performative, both re-presenting a space that is elsewhere and reconfiguring space here and now. Field recordings thus have a doubling effect, folding together the spaces of recording and playback to co-produce a new hybrid space. My account draws together materialist conceptions of media, Grosz’s (2008) notion of art as working with vibration and Lefebvre’s ideas about the production of space. Field recordings emerge not as inert deposits of ‘captured sound’ but as lively and open-ended entanglements of cables, memory cards, microphones, headphones, birds, traffic, voices, waterways, weather and the resonances of architecture.
Re-placing: artful practices in place ‘after’ Art
Iain Biggs (University of the West of England, UK)
In 2008 Matthew Fuller wrote that: “Art is no longer only art. Its methods are recapitulated, ooze out and become feral in combination with other forms of life”. Taking this claim as its starting-point, the paper will discuss how this might be understood in relation to Anselm Franke’s recent claim that “a ghost is haunting modernity – the ghost of animism”. It will draw on four examples of ‘artful’ creative praxis that engage with the non-human in the spirit of Tim Ingold’s notion of ‘meshscape’ and Felix Guattari’s ecosophy: Cathy Fitzgerald’s on-going artful deep eco-project Hollywood; Antony Lyons’ art/science Weatherproof project; Pauline O’Connell’s exploration of community through her two-part project Heave-Ho, An Invitation To Community and Heave-Ho, Pub Pulling League; and Christine Baeumler’s Reconstituting the Landscape: A Tamarack Rooftop Restoration. It will argue that a wood, the weather, a field, and a bog respectively are each active participants in these four projects.
Micro-site: paying close attention to the barely seen
Veronica Vickery (University of Exeter, UK)
Coming from the combined perspectives of artist and geographer, this paper will consider how creative practice might excavate contingent micro-foldings and ruptures to unsettle representations of landscape. The immediate project site in the far west of Cornwall is a moorland stream trickling a mile to the sea; it flooded violently in 2009. I am approaching this coastline conceptually as a series of evolving material compressions, foldings and ruptures, and affectively as understood through storm and flood. This eventful river-scape calls for a renewed and corporeal attention to the material and more-than-human — and to a deep-space beyond the smoothings of the surface image and deep-time beyond the transitory. In this paper I will reflect on acts of drawing-field-work, subsequently developed through microscopic imaging in the laboratory and studio. Focusing on the micro-materiality of water and rock, this work will consider visuality and landscape practice as an act rather than a viewing. How might an arts practice, through the act of paying attention to the micro, perform as a political act (Hannah, 2013)? And how might such work respond to Kathryn Yusoff’s (2013) call for a reoccupation of the strata as imagined counter to anthropogenic processes?
Performing Methodologies of Co-Production: Street Dreams (2011)
Charlotte Veal (The University of Nottingham, UK)
The turn toward the cultural in human geography has been accompanied with an expanding vocabulary on experimentation, practice and performance. Radical though this turn has been, its influence on the ways in which geographical research has been conducted has, despite notable exceptions, remained limited. In addressing the session’s theme of co-production, this paper introduces the choreographic notebook as a performative, co-produced methodological approach to conducting bodily-rich research. In moving toward creative encounters, I enlist the rich traditions of cartography and time-space geographies, alongside the theoretical and practical knowledges embedded within dance to examine the embodied, practiced and representational interactions between performers and the urban environment. In so doing I open up a unique artistic space for exploring the cityscape through the lens of the performing body. In the second half of this paper, I demonstrate how the choreographic notebook was used in the field with London-based dance company BalletBoyz and their collaborative artistic residency with Adugna Community Dance of Addis Ababa. Through the co-performed repertoire Street Dreams (2011), I tease out the creative encounters that emerged between dance practitioners and street life conditions of Ethiopia’s urban environment to generate new spaces and knowledges of and about the non-human built form.