“Art in the Anthropocene” conference at Trinity College Dublin from Friday 7 June to Sunday 9 June 2019. The conference is being organised in collaboration with the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities, and the Science Gallery’s exhibition on PLASTIC.
The Anthropocene has been defined as the present geological epoch in which the earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity are being slowly disrupted by human intervention. The term has become commonly used since the beginning of the twenty-first century when Paul Crutzen argued its importance in a Nature article, and since then scientists have debated its credibility and possible starting point, suggesting the end of the eighteenth century (with the birth of the industrial revolution) or 1945 (with the commencement of nuclear weapons testing).
Within this Conference, Laurie Reynolds will presenting a paper entitled “Feeling through Landscape” which explores a practice based approach to understanding landscape within the context of the Anthropocene. Through a desire for materiality and modernity our relationship to landscape has changed. The notion of human as an organism which 'feels'its way through the world, that "is itself in motion”, as comprehension on the world by living in it (Ingold, 2000), affords not only an interpretation of landscape, but also constructs a boarder lexicon that allows inclusiveness and receptiveness for a wider audience.
Within the paper, the author builds upon W. J. T. Mitchell’s theses on landscapes (2009) through a practice based exploration of the Swedish playwright August Strindberg’sCelestographs (1984) and a theoretical exploration of his essay ‘Chance in the Artistic Creation’(2008). By recreating his process of making celestographs on every full-moon since the strawberry moon of 2018, allowed the documentation of humans interaction with the landscape. The work comprises a dialogue between of materials used, including light from the night sky, its surrounding environment and elements that incidentally fall into the durational process. As part of the papers analysis it explores Pickering’s ‘Dance of Agency’ (2012), a dialogue between both natural and human agency though artefacts such as Mika Tajima’s Meridian - Gold (2016).
This paper focuses upon Mitchell’s first premise: “Landscape is not a genre of art but a medium” in which he changes the context of “landscape” from a noun to a verb, in order to aid ones understanding of landscape as a social product that has changing readings. This changing of perspectives towards an action verb affords an insight into landscape that has been mediated by both culture and science.
Feeling through landscape can offer an insight to the external environment that the human inhabits, with a result that it provides a continuation of the theses of landscape; where landscape is not just a genre of art, but rather an ever expanding medium, that can embrace its own automation in content creation.