My paper “Atmospheric—Making” has been accepted for the upcoming Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference “Cloud and Molecular Aesthetics” which is to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from June 26–28. Further details are available here.
Taking turbulence as both conceptual driver and organisational strategy, this paper gathers together recent drawing, installation and performative works, and examines the dynamics of this collection, drawing out and articulating the forces at play. Turbulence is understood as forceful and transformative, occurring in the space between, and as a result of, dramatic changes in atmospheric pressure. Projects are developed through an experimental practice of “atmospheric–making,” accreting particles across a range of scales to the point that these individual constituents become subsumed within a larger atmospheric condition. This two-way dynamic between the particular and the atmospheric seeks points of tension, where new qualities emerge from the interplay between particles and systems.
Three modes of crossing–between the particular and the atmospheric will be discussed. The first is developing relations between material and immaterial media to inhabit a threshold position between these two. Secondly, these (im)materials are used to activate spaces of betweenness, drawing attention to these liminal zones. The final crossing–between aims to disrupt a clear and defined epistemology, instead privileging an approach that embraces uncertainty, vagueness and changefulness.
These approaches question the idea of a defined and knowable world that is able to be captured through representational techniques. In its place it suggests a bodily process of figuring out, requiring immersion and active participation in making sense of atmospheric conditions. This bodily engagement results in the blurring of a distinct sense of self, and challenges participants to take part in a process of co-formation between environmental surrounds and distributed presence.
My paper “Drawing of Breath: a provisional diagram for the reciprocal relations between atmospheres and affects” has been accepted for the upcoming Interstices conference “Moved: On Atmospheres and Affects” which is to be held in Auckland, New Zealand from November 22–24. Gernot Böhme will give the keynote presentation. Further details are available on the Interstices website.
From a young age I have always enjoyed exhaling into the cold dry air of wintertime and delighting in how breath, made visible, dissipates into the wider atmosphere. Evidence of the atmospheric differences within and without gives rise to wonderment, and in turn, a will — to the point of hyperventilation — to create more and more breath-clouds. This play of breath is an example of the distinctions between affects and atmospheres and their reciprocal folding together. The commonplaceness of breathing offers productive ways of understanding the remaking of self and environment and their ambiguous inter-relationship. The act of breathing is an intimate, energetic exchange between the world and our bodies; sustaining us, it is also a distributed act of collective connection. To breathe in is to draw the world inwards, to take in its forces and to draw sustenance from it. To breathe out is to expel something very personal into the public domain, where others may in turn draw it inwards in a constant process of exchange. Absorbing and being affected by diffuse, ephemeral qualities of space, means making sense of atmospheres and affects requires understanding bodily engagement.
Numerous art and architectural projects make specific use of breath as a motif or modus operandi, two of which I will examine in detail. A discussion of Decosterd and Rahm’s Hormonium will focus on how the drawing inwards of atmospheres via the respiratory and endocrine systems creates internally registered bodily affects. The second project, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s extension to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, emphasises the registration of breath as a collective act in the public sphere. They see the project as making visible the “air of democracy,” via an inflatable public space for lectures and discussion. These projects, while using breath in quite different registers, build on an understanding of bodies and environments as being intertwined, if still separable. This condition of being together-but-separable is explored in Ben Anderson’s essay Affective Atmospheres. I similarly investigate the always in-process nature of atmospheres in this paper, drawing conscious attention to the process of breathing as a specific mechanism for becoming aware of the interrelationships between affects and atmospheres, bodies and environments.
I gave a 30 minute lecture, “Air–Atmospheres–Breath–Affects,” in a public elevator at the RMIT Design Hub to a group of ten students. The lift space moved up and down according to the demands of other building users, and there were noticeable changes in air temperature between the lift itself, upper floors and the ground floor and basement levels. The presentation set up an unexpected environment for others to step into, a chance encounter with a short fragment of the lecture as they moved between floors. As a performance, the lecture created an intimate space where breath was shared, and the elevator was understood as a means of shifting parcels of air around the building.
Thanks to Scott Andrew Elliott for holding the projector!
Images to come…
I met for an intense and stimulating conversation with Andrew Suttar, a self-proclaimed “bubbleologist,” which ranged across ideas of feedback systems, human development, economics, Frei Otto, Joseph Campbell, Adam Curtis and ended with him gifting me a bottle of the world’s best bubble-blowing mixture.
I have been invited to present both new work (an environmentally responsive audio work) and to participate in a panel discussion for the upcoming Critical Animals creative research symposium, held this September in Newcastle, as a part of the larger This is Not Art emerging and experimental arts festival.
4pm; Wednesday November 16
School of Design, Building One
Carrington Road, Auckland
I have been invited to speak about my practice to Masters of Design students at Unitec in Auckland. I will discuss a selection of projects and offer some tactics for creative practice after graduation.
My paper, LAND. HERE. has been accepted for the workshop Mapping Processes and Practices: Arts, Maps and Society organised by the Society of the International Cartographic Association in collaboration with the Working Group on Arts and Cartography. The workshop will take place in Paris on July 2nd.
I will be presenting work from my recent Wild creations artist residency in Fox Glacier, New Zealand, this Tuesday from 4pm at the Art, Space + Nature studio, Edinburgh College of Art. The talk is organised and promoted by ASCUS : art science collaborative.
At the conclusion of my residency in Fox Glacier township I gave a presentation to the local community. As well as work in progress, I showed past works and works by other contemporary artists, such as Jeremy Wood to contextualise my project. Approximately 50 people attended, which considering the town’s population of 350, was extremely pleasing.
I am presenting at the Edinburgh Festival edition of Pecha Kucha Night, this Friday September 3 at InSpace Gallery. My twenty images focus on the development of Dunedin, New Zealand; a colonial town settled by Scots and modelled on the city plan for Edinburgh’s New Town. Some interesting juxtapositions of odd images with place names familiar to the audience should take place.