New Year, Next Steps
Gathering my thoughts for new projects for 2022 but wish to look back to the last highlight of 2021. I was privileged to be part of a fascinating symposium in December organised by Dundee Uni and entitled 100C, Hauntology, Turmoil and Change. Speakers included my fellow Masters Postgrads and PhD students .
From the programme: "Change marks a transition from one state of affairs to another, or from point to point. But what does it mean to inhabit the moment of transition itself? And what if that moment were to open up to a vision of eternity? In eternity, nothing changes. But nor, for that matter, does it stay the same. Rather, things carry on, in a rhythmic pulse that measures out the passage of time itself. This is a time not of chronological succession and replacement, but of pure becoming or immanence. It is the time of weather and the seasons, of breaking waves and running rivers, of the growth and decay of vegetation and the coming and going of animals, of breaths and heartbeats. Only by regaining this sense of time, and by putting our obsession with change to rest, can we join with other inhabitants of our world in a form of life that is sustainable for all."
The wow factor guest speakers for me were Tim Ingold (Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen has written on environment, technology and social organisation in the circumpolar North, on animals in human society, and on human ecology and evolutionary theory. His more recent work explores environmental perception and skilled practice. Ingold’s current interests lie on the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. His recent books include The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007), Being Alive (2011), Making (2013), The Life of Lines (2015), Anthropology and/as Education (2018), Anthropology: Why it Matters (2018), Correspondences (2020) and Imagining for Real) and Wayne Binitie, whose practice-based research explores hidden histories written in polar ice. In collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey and Arup engineers, Binitie has developed three bodies of written and practical work: Solid Series (glass sculpture) Liquid Series (painting) and Vapour Series (sound installation). He has exhibited at the V&A Museum and COP26 in Glasgow.
My own offering (From Ugh to Ooh to Wow) was about my experiments with seaweed and its extraordinary qualities as a material. One such quality is its mutability. Depending on the surrounding atmosphere, its form, colour, texture and smell change making it perpetually dynamic and therefore challenging to work with. To test it as a material without losing its essential character of ‘seaweediness’, I experiment with ways to offer a new aesthetic experience. I use various species for different processes from weaving to electro-forming. I am interested in discovering which versions can alter our aesthetic response from negative to positive. The bigger question is whether this conversion stimulates new ideas and dialogue which could lead to a re-evaluation of our relationship with something in the non-human world that we previously disliked, damaged, or destroyed.
2022 holds the prospect of more seaweedy themes thanks to two cash injections - one a prize from Centre For Entrepreneurship Dundee to develop prototypes for my seedling business idea - Alga - and the second a grant from Luminate to be trained in metal work and electroforming. So watch this space for seaweed sculptures coming in the Spring!
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