RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


275 Sensory orientations: transversal practices and dissemination within art and geography
Convenor(s) Cara Courage (University of Virginia, USA / Futurecity)
Anita McKeown (Independent Researcher)
Chair(s) Cara Courage (University of Virginia, USA / Futurecity)
Anita McKeown (Independent Researcher)
Timetable Friday 02 September 2016, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Session abstract This session presents a curated selection of papers that represent a breadth of arts practices that operate at the intersection of geographic study in the field, addressing the vital question of what is the potential for these practices to disseminate complex geographic ideas and engage individuals on a human-scale with the physical world? The practices are sensory and embodied and variously visual, tactile, sonic, gustation, even olfaction. This session curates a range of practitioners active in research to collectively present insights into how artistic practice re-configures spatial narratives through collaborative co-performances of ‘making-sense’ producing cognitive maps (Lynch, 1976); the mental organisation of sensory experience. As individuals navigate their daily lives they mark the environment through their own spatial practices and narratives. These interactions are often in contrast to spatial narratives developed over time through city planning, urban design and geo-political ideologies. This ongoing organisation and re-organisation transforms space dynamically and continuously into places of meaning and value (De Certeau 1984; Tuan, 1977) challenging static understandings that may come from institutional or political ideologies. Over time this enables collective constructions and re-constructions of space; socio-politically, culturally and economically. Agile and adaptive these practices appropriate when necessary social forms and are cognizant of a range of theoretical and practical disciplines. Their critical inquiries develop creative, dynamic and complex methodologies combining ‘action with vision’ (Wright, 2005;136). Their multiplicitous trajectories (Massey, 2005) include scientific and social science research paradigms, interdisciplinary methods, human and non-human co-constituents. Collaborative by nature and design, their ‘intervention-orientated enterprises’ (Wright, 2005;136) serve to migrate and cross-pollinate ideas to traverse disciplinary frontiers. Through their creative tools and practices the artist’s explore and exploit ruptures in physical and conceptual spatial narratives by their interactions with residents, environments, technologies and even mountains.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
Breaking the Frame: Spatial Ideology and Resistant Practice-led Research Approaches
Lucy Livingstone (University of Northumbria, UK)
During my practice-led PhD I developed a multi-layered methodology for investigating space. I drew on Doreen Massey's (2005) conception of space as a multiplicity of trajectories. The art works that I generated offered a range of creative strategies to investigate space. I drew on theoretical enquiry (Goonewardena 2005, 2008, Masco 2004, 2006 and Olwig 1996, 2009) that suggested space be thought of as a vehicle for spatial narratives and to explore how spatial narratives imbued within space can reproduce ideologies. The art works that I generated responded to Gillian Roses (1978) call to make ideology mediate and Althusser's (1971) assertion that ideology needs to be interpreted to be resisted. In this paper I would like to expand on spatial ideology as a concept, and explore its utility within an interdisciplinary art/geography practice. I will outline its theoretical context and show how it can be applied to expand current thinking about how we theorize spatial experience. I will explore how working with a range of creative tools including the art walk, video, photography, installation and animation gave creative momentum to the critical thinking proposed in my research. I will conclude by reflecting on the productive outcomes of working across the arts and social sciences in terms of creating experiential works that push critical theory in new an interesting ways.
Guide74: a mountain recording activity
Luce Choules (Independent Artist)
Guide74 is an artist project exploring spatial dynamics in the Chamonix valley, Mont-Blanc massif and Aiguilles Rouges using experimental fieldwork and documentation. Collaboration within the project is less about individuals working within specialisms and more a dialogue between two subjects – natural science and fine art practice – where the collaboration is realised through the work itself. The output of this work combines a poetic narrative script and a large collection of projected photographic images, with selected readings from Alpine literature and Geomorphology. The aim is to create a series of live performance lectures that witness and reference elements and details of the Alpine ecosystem of the Haute-Savoie in France, through physical and emotional geography. For the RGS-IBG AC2016, I will focus my presentation on the subject of coexistence – an interrelation of conflux systems within a mountain environment. Guide74 aims to present an alternative view of this activity by exploring ideas of concurrence in the mountain landscape, interwoven pathways and watercourses, and the flow and supply of natural and commercial resources – a mountain microcosm engaged in a continuous recording of the human activity upon it. Through an ongoing dialogue between the behaviour and influence of tourism, and the observation of systems at play in leisure and conservation, Guide74 invites an audience to consider the mountain perspective.
Collaborative Narration –An Artist's Practice
Jane Dudman (Newcastle University, UK)
In this paper I will explicate my research, which explores everyday domestic experience through an iterative process of performance making with donated voice recordings. The work examines and reworks participants' diaristic commentary through improvised repetition and sampling, emphasising and concentrating the detail of the usually un-communicated. Everyday life is a locus for complex, embodied and tacit knowledge (Harrison 2000) often described as indeterminate and amorphous, but the acknowledgement of the ordinary and the task of articulation can illuminate the evanescent background of daily existence. Artistic methodologies allow for a consideration of what is lost in a more direct examination and it could be argued that in the process reveal peripheral elements of the everyday, what Baruchello (1984) calls the figure in the corner of the eye. This research looks particularly at the moments that don't stand out, the inconspicuous moments that go by un-noticed but which once considered, become exposed as extraordinary. This work could not happen without a sensitive appreciation of and in some cases a deep connection with the participants. What distinguishes this research is that the reflexive approach produces new knowledge as a result of an improvised performative engagement with participants' words and voices. The space of the ordinary everyday is subtly evoked through listening and attention – both my own and the audience's, and insights are created in the process. These insights are then fed back into the next iteration of the work, which addresses further aspects of the research.

(Re)Art (Re)Geography (Re)Performance
Charlie Rawson (Independent Artist Researcher)
Through the continuous process of experiential observation we site and enable a non-representative (Thrift 2005) approach. Our coexistence is currently fuelled by division and segmentation which at best facilitates the clear labelling of places, spaces, actions things and beings in order to identify value. To renegotiate this tendency to adhere fixed terms and expectations in an economic, social and ecological context we must reactivate lived experiences within alternative environments. This relocation of assumed actions, objects and beings forces questioning; a questioning of Self, Other and that which was considered Power/Knowledge (Foucault 1980). My artistic practise proposes a re-evaluation of the life, power and resistance we inhabit, by reconsidering the multiple geographies of that resistance - internal and external. The daily collisions we are all caught between and how those tensions of socio-spatial expectation are projected and captured in each and every one of our schedules. These spaces between us and the multiple Others, rooted in our many routine paths, create the warp and weft of our lived experience. This work identifies why we need an active methodology of observation, echoing Cern-like collisions on a socio-spatial level. Through a (re)performance of place, dislocated from the site's routine movement of the everyday, both individuals and collectives are able to see and feel their fabric of expectation and Othering unravel. Practice based research/making needs to question, engage and reclaim our lived experience from a fixed and divided past