I am interested in the ecologies of remote locations amid idealised associations of nature and wilderness. How remote areas are often romanticised and what impact human presence has on them.
I have taken the poem Dart by Alice Oswald as inspiration and a guide for Genius Loci. Her poem collapses the human/ nature / spirit divide while being aware of the problems involved in their many connections and rifts. Poetry, by its nature, points beyond what we can know, leaving space for the not yet known to come into focus and consequently recede.
Genius Loci started with in situ drawings on concertinaed paper and field sound recordings. The macro landscape vista finally completed, and echoed, by the micro of objects found along the way.
A verbal monologue became a written text in a book to allow space for the reader’s own inner voice to enter into the work and into the landscape. Timecodes next to chapter titles relate to that of the audible soundscape so that the words can be read alongside the recorded sounds.
One form or medium is not intended to have privilege or domination over the other. The experience of the work is a combination of the seen, the heard, the touched and of the visible and the invisible.
I have left the particular location of these works unnamed so as to allow a more personal reading and association with an imagined construction of place.
“There is no knowing or sensing a place except by being in that place and to be in a place is not, then, subsequent to perception– as Kant dogmatically assumed– but is an ingredient in perception itself. Such knowledge, genuinely local knowledge, is itself experiential… Local knowledge is at one with lived experience if indeed it is true that this knowledge is of the localities in which the knowing subject lives. To live is to live locally, and to know is first of all to know the places one is in … Perception at the primary level is synesthetic, an affair of the whole body sensing and moving.” Edward Casey, The Fate of Place, pg 18
Drawing happens intuitively. It elaborates on reality and includes “improvisational act, expository gesture and diagrammatic explication. ” (The Art of Critical Making, pg 1145)
“The impulse to draw is not to capture appearance so much as a demand to animate thought. Thus drawing is always beyond perception, the other side of perception.” (Jean Fisher and Stella Santacatterini, ‘On Drawing’).
Sketchy drawings are more interesting than ‘finished’ works, they are questions in the process of asking. They remain imperfect, contingent and human. Drawing is physical, it comprises the sensing of the body, arm and hand in a collaboration with the materials unravel a sense of a rhythm of elements or to figure out an idea.
Drawing is experimental. It operates at a remove from primary practice and can take the form of photography, writing and performance. Drawing is thinking.
Embodied knowledge of the landscape as a result of sensory – haptic – experience and practice. Embodied knowledge of drawing through experience and practice (repeated, thoughtful doing by hand). Embodied knowledge transforms raw materials into physical expression of an idea or intuited rhythmic arrangement of marks, lines and washes. The brain and the hand are interdependent in the shaping of its form.