RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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68 Felt Knowledges (1) - Papers and Video
Affiliation History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Candice Boyd (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
Sarah Bennett (Kingston University, UK)
Chair(s) Candice Boyd (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
Timetable Wednesday 29 August 2018, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Sir Martin Evans Building - John Pryde Lecture Theatre
Session abstract Non-representational, affective, and performative methods have generated considerable interest in cultural geography over the past decade (Dewsbury, 2010; Vannini, 2015). These developments have occurred alongside debates in the creative arts sparked by new materialisms and speculative realism (Barrett & Bolt, 2015; Bryant et al., 2013). In this session, we seek to interrogate the types of knowledges that are created when such methodologies are employed, with an emphasis on what is ‘perceptively felt’ (Manning & Massumi, 2014).

The first session comprises paper presentations, ending with two video-based presentations. The second session consists of performative papers.
Linked Sessions Felt Knowledges (2) - Poetry and Performance
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Contemporary museum geographies
Candice Boyd (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
Sarah Bennett (Kingston University, UK)
Recent calls have been made for greater attention to be paid to ‘museum geographies’, and in particular to the performative dimensions of museum exhibition and visitor reception: ‘ways of being in museums, as well as the role of theatre and art in bringing static displays to life’ (Geoghegan, 2010). This ‘bringing to life’ demands a consideration of emotion as core business of the museum. In contemporary museums, emphasis shifts away from educating visitors about ‘matters’, and towards enlivening ‘matters’ in ways that are engaging, enchanting or otherwise affecting for the visitor. This enlivening is increasingly enacted by the contemporary museums’ simultaneous deployment of traditional (object-based) material cultures and multi-sensory, immersive digital cultures and stories.

We present findings from two studies: first is an evaluation of the WWI: Love and Sorrow Exhibition at Melbourne Museum, Australia – an exhibition to mark the centenary of Australia’s involvement in WWI. Participants’ drawings and walking interviews shed new light on the emotional impact of the exhibition for museum visitors. Second, Safe-keeping (custodia) emerged from artistic research undertaken at the Museo Laboratorio della Mente (Museum of the Mind or Museum of Psychiatry) in Rome in which the affective potential of fagotti (packages) containing the abandoned possessions of former patients of a closed psychiatric hospital was explored. The cognitive processes that were set in motion in the first encounter with these objects, and the subsequent use of embodied enactments to produce artworks related to both non-representational and representational modes of ‘knowing’, will be recounted.


In keeping with this methodology, this presentation will employ a performative approach.
Unpacking the studio
Christian Edwardes (Arts University Bournemouth, UK)
After four decades in which the term ‘studio’ has been largely absent from critical discussions around arts practice, numerous authors have returned to the subject in order to reassess the contingency of those spaces that are created in order to make art. Recently, the studio has been revisited as a highly connected, transdisciplinary, mobile sites. They have been reconsidered as laboratories—the product of intricate networks of human/non-human relations—or as environments marked out by atmospheres of affective intensity. As such, a studio’s coherence is emotionally, as much as physically, constituted.

The studio is also, for many artists, a temporary arrangement whose sense of integrity is always in question. In those practices which involve the shared use of spaces, collaborative practices or location-based work, the matter and materials of artistic practices are put away; temporarily stored in physical or digital form in whilst the site of production is turned over to other activities. This paper argues that whilst the immediacy of studio activities might be constituted as an event rather than a fixed environment, its coherence as a studio is shaped by ‘structures of feeling’. Drawing on writers such as Ben Anderson, and on personal accounts of packing and unpacking studio materials for related art projects, I address how temporally dispersed activities taking place in different spaces may emerge as collective affects that condition the way that the studio’s emotional coherence is felt.
Exploratory diagrams
Dean Kenning (Kingston University, UK)
I propose the term ‘exploratory diagrams’ to describe an approach to diagramming which goes beyond the familiar graphic communication categories of ‘statistical’ and ‘explanatory’ diagrams (Lockwood, 1969) so as to focus instead on how the phenomenal act of constructing a diagram is productive of knowledge rather than being merely a representation of already existing knowledge or ‘information’. In particular I am interested in how both the embodied act of drawing and the compositional act of juxtaposing graphic icons generate specific modes of thinking which are particularly useful in grasping, exploring and developing knowledge with regards to real and theoretical abstractions. Diagrams enable social and theoretical abstractions to be made intuitively graspable not simply as a mode of visual reception but also as a mode of active diagramming whereby learning, the invention of problems and speculative thinking are felt through the act of drawing.
The reason for a focus on the diagrammatic mode of ‘thinking through drawing’, as I see it, is the diagram’s (potential) combination of the geometric and the emblematic. That is, its semiotic capacity to produce new and unexpected meanings through the logical combination and juxtaposition of terms (e.g. ‘semiotic squares’); and, alongside this, the graphically efficient tendency towards the representation of its conceptual objects as figurative emblems.
I will illustrate this sensory and speculative mode of knowledge production by referring to my own artistic practice, specifically to diagrammatic artwork produced to explore political philosophy and the state form. In this way I also hope to draw some links between political and visual representation.
Sense making through video: "A walk down the shore", violence, and wellbeing in Istanbul
Asli Duru (University of Oxford, UK / University of Munich, Germany)
"A walk down the shore" is a 17-minute video (with English subtitles) produced as part of the Visualising memories of violence and wellbeing in Istanbul Marie Sklodowska Curie research project. The video is a research output by itself, and at the same time presents the core interpretive process of the visual, textual and oral material generated during fieldwork in Istanbul. Watching the episodes in the video, you will be looking at smartphone photography and wearable camera footage from the walking interviews carried out in 2017.

The project approaches violence as a certain mode of socio-spatial relation between human and nonhuman bodies. Acknowledging the "seismologies of emotion" (Pain, 2014) when encountering a violent situation, I seek to understand how memories of violence relate to experiencing the same places as therapeutic, "relaxing", "feel good" environments. As such, it is my aim to situate violence as an internalised, embodied mode of socialty with its own terms and sites of wellbeing.

The horizontal "timeline" of Adobe Premier, the editing software, provides a micro approach to the actual and mytho-geographies (Smith, 2009) of harm and therapy and the bodies marked, divided, and mapped through visibility and movement. The video, in this sense, is a site of sensemaking, an ambulant "filmic ethnography" as opposed to ethnographic film" where film is the platform to create an often fixed narrative. "A walk down the shore" presents an audio.visual interpretation screen, a standalone montage on urban violence and wellbeing where data appear curated but not compressed and eliminated.