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A/S/N MUTUAL PRESS

BOND FOR A FUTURE IN 2009, NINE MEMBERS OF ART/SPACE/NATURE ESTABLISHED A/S/N MUTUAL PRESS IN ORDER TO REALISE AN EXPANDED ARTWORK THAT COULD ACT AS A MULTIPLICATOR OF CREATIVE, INTELLECTUAL AND FINANCIAL ENERGIES. BY INVESTING £5 EACH PER WEEK FOR EIGHTEEN WEEKS, A/S/N MUTUAL PRESS FINANCED OVER 50% OF THE PRODUCTION OF FIELDWORK IN AN EDITION OF 1000 COPIES, OF WHICH 100 ARE SIGNED AND DATED. FURTHER WEEKLY INVESTMENTS FROM EXISTING AND FUTURE MEMBERS OF A/S/N MUTUAL PRESS, PLUS REVENUE FROM SALES, ENSURE THIS LONG-TERM INITIATIVE. Jacob Bee Ronald Boer Valerie Dempsey Erin Gleason Florian Graf Naomi Hennig Melissa MacRobert Julia Martin Christine Wylie


CONVERSATIONS WITH ART/SPACE/NATURE

5 INTERLOCUTORS Joseph Kosuth, Clémentine Deliss and Sanna Marander 17

FIELDWORK AS REVERIE Marc Camille Chaimowicz

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THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY OF A PROGRAMME Eelco Hooftman

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THE SLOWNESS OF FIELDWORK Tim Ingold

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FIELDWORK AS FREQUENCY Martin Parker

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THE FIELD AS VOID Alan Johnston

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URBAN FIELDSTATION Dan Peterman

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THE FIELD IN BETWEEN Clémentine Deliss

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OUTSIDE THE STUDIO Art/Space/Nature

117 NOTES Image Index References Contributors


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INTERLOCUTORS JOSEPH KOSUTH, CLÉMENTINE DELISS AND SANNA MARANDER

JK

In the 1970s, the fundamental issue for artists was the ontological question of what constitutes an artwork, how does it become one, and how do artists produce meaning? How do you decide what an artist must know in terms of education? When you organise a curriculum for an artist, you’re describing art. You’re making presumptions about what an individual’s art may be. This is a very creative area. But at that time, the art school, in most parts of the world, was a trade school that only focused on the how. It taught different crafts, how to use materials, a chisel, and so on. So the question of why, which is the ontological question and the one that was relevant at this time, was not addressed. When I taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York, my course was called The Theory of Art Workshop. I ran a series of talks and invited Ad Reinhardt, Robert Smithson, Sol LeWitt, Carl André and a whole list of people to speak to the students. It was like a conversation. If I spoke it was because I had something to say, not because I was a teacher. It was a wild thing to do all those years ago, and yet so appropriate. I always had a struggle when the time came to grade the work. From my point of view, the worst students were those who sat there everyday on automatic work mode, working to avoid asking questions and taking everything for granted. They weren’t thinking about anything, they were just developing the technology of eye-muscle, getting it right. But why was it right? Then the School thought that I should do a traditional still life course with them. So I lined up all the students with their easels next to each other around the room. These classes were big – there were 30-40 students around the room – so they extended out of the door and down the hall. I had the first student paint from the still life and told the others to paint from the painting on their left. One person would use cadmium red, another alizarin crimson, then it would go from yellow to red to orange to blue to green because everyone had different paint sets. It quickly became Kandinsky! It was like noise, based a 5


little on Chinese whispers. I wanted to find ways to get them to think out of the box. CD

Joseph, you studied anthropology in the early 1970s following your studies in art. Today, nearly forty years later, anthropology has been greatly substituted by cultural studies. Indeed, James Clifford has referred to the “border war” between the two disciplines. And, significantly, there are very few art students now who study anthropology. The majority will do cultural studies.

JK

How would you define the difference? CD

Cultural studies is a malleable new discipline. Therefore, it can be defined by whoever decides to teach it. It is not a problematic, self-critical discipline that grew out of imperialism and colonisation. JK

It’s not self-reflexive at all. CD

Well, I haven’t quite said that. I would suggest that it’s about a discursive empowerment of people who were once the object of anthropology and are now taking the reins and saying: this is our identity, this is our culture, this is our fragmented, entangled, multi-perspectival position within a global situation. When I studied social anthropology in the early 1980s, fieldwork was still the central methodological space within which one worked. You conducted research, which then lead to a particular fieldwork experience for which you found a written form of interpretation. Nowadays, anthropologists don’t go to foreign locations in quite the same way. With the traffic of ideas, the movement of peoples and globalisation, you can be an anthropologist in your grocery downstairs. However, the construction of the field still continues. Art/Space/Nature questions this method. Students learn how to work on a new idea in a city or location that is often unknown. Yet there remains a tension between responding on the basis of background knowledge – a certain precision reconnaissance and 6


intentionality – and travelling in the mode of a flâneur with less structure at hand. In my case, I want to know exactly whom it is that I need to talk to if I’m somewhere new. I don’t want to change the language of my practice. I know the intelligentsia is there. I just have to find it. So the last thing I want to do is to float into a location. I have to generate a meeting of intentionality between the other person and myself and for that I do the research before I go out there and I don’t compromise. SM

Exactly, it’s about constructing a language and continuing to construct that language. JK But

does that approach risk not taking advantage of difference? Of the unexpected? Of spontaneity? You are bringing a whole mindset to a place when, in fact, it’s a matter of trying to get away from that mindset that took you there in the first place?

CD

I have worked with intentionality in places where the opposite was common. For instance, most curators in the early 1990s would go to countries in Africa and negate that there might be an art critic or a philosopher, that there were artists there who were model engineers working with conceptual ideas and social contexts rather than materiality. With Art/Space/Nature, there is a fine line between training for this fieldwork approach, and just going there and checking things out as they happen. JK

I kind of like the roll of the dice of invitations that come my way. When I go to a place, it is because a museum or a gallery invites me, or because I’m invited to do a public work. It’s focused from the get-go. But sometimes I’ll go to a place and have no ideas. I’m cold. Yet I’ve pursued things and projects in subject areas that I never imagined possible and become very involved. Everything becomes visible until you spend time away. Then you notice a lot of differences, small cultural ruptures, and at that point ideas come out, if not consciously then at least unconsciously. But with Art/Space/Nature, how do you choose where you’re going and what is it that you do when you are there? 7


A/S/N

That’s a good question because it varies from place to place. The first project we did was on the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. We were based in Stromness for around eight days. JK But

why did you pick Orkney?

A/S/N

Well, actually there is an interlocutor there: the Pier Arts Centre, which is in Stromness and has a very good collection. One project is to cultivate a relationship between the Pier Arts Centre and Edinburgh College of Art, so in a way we are there as pioneers. The Orkney situation also has to do with finding oneself as a group. It’s the first project that we do together. As students, we have come to Edinburgh from all over the world. We don’t know each other at all. So, in the second week of the course, we spend time together. We may or may not collaborate but we live in the same hostel, we cook together, explore the islands and collect materials to make work. We experience Scotland as well, the journey up there, and the landscape of this country. All of which forms the context we will be in for the next two years. Then there is the Garden project where we work towards an exhibition in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Following that is the City project which is set in an urban context. We are thrown quite deliberately into very different contexts and have to respond to these. It has to do with the interdisciplinary position of the course that exists between art and landscape architecture. In the first year, our projects are based on something you could call a brief. As you would as a designer or an architect, you have a project outline, certain site-related topics or ideas, and a location that has to be addressed. But this is not necessarily the practice that you find in fine art. Art/Space/Nature tries to combine the disciplines and expose fine art students to this site-related way of working, and similarly, to expose architecture students to the idea of producing work for an exhibition and developing an artistic practice beyond the site and the brief. In the second year of the course, there is the Chicago residency, where the brief is open and you are not obliged to produce anything. It is based on individual artistic research, using the city as a context, a stage, or a library. 8


JK

What kind of preparation do you do for the trips? Do you study where you are going to? Do you figure out what you might do when you get there? A week or ten days isn’t very long. It can take three days just to figure out where you are. A/S/N

Generally, there is an almost instinctive reaction to the diverse and unfamiliar situations we are thrown into. There isn’t a logical development or absorption of process or methodology. Research seems to develop through an individual connectivity between all the experiences taken together. That’s the interesting thing about the course: it creates a rhythm, and after a while you get used to that rhythm and a pattern emerges. You learn how to spot the surface of a new place within the first few days. Then you dive underneath that surface and find out something about the context that is not so visible and obvious. Perhaps the aim of these fast projects is to speed up that process by going through it repeatedly. That involves arriving somewhere and locating what is most relevant to your practice, creating your network of information, gathering material and bringing it back, thinking about it and processing it. In Greenland, we didn’t have an interlocutor. We went there and experienced the place as pseudo-tourists, anthropologists of sorts, or artists in the field. However, this project continues, and has branched out into individual research and collaborations with Danish anthropologists. In contrast, in Chicago we used Clémentine’s networks. Some of us didn’t make any work in the studio, didn’t exhibit anything, but spent five weeks making every contact we could, and making more, because that was relevant. Chicago meant engagement with specific people, and Greenland was a very different form of engagement. They were both intense experiences and both beneficial. SM

Certain fundamental questions should be brought with you wherever you go, but openness to the unknown or the unexpected is also important. JK

But I suppose you all do your individual work as well? Does that create a problem with the group collaborative dynamic? 9


A/S/N

We learn to organise our individual and collaborative practices in parallel. Sometimes they overlap, as with this publication for example. In addition, the network of the course gives people the chance to return to a place that they visited in the first year, but with an individual agenda, perhaps following graduation. Joseph, how important is the physical experience of the field for your work? Today, with the internet and online facilities, it is perfectly possible to do fieldwork from your armchair or to just google everything. JK

I always do a site visit. A lot of photographs are taken or provided but usually I go there and take my own. I use these to do initial proposals using Photoshop and work with this material back at the studio. This is different from twenty or thirty years ago when I really needed to spend a lot more time at the site. We use the computer more and more and it frees me up tremendously. I was always a bit shocked by Sol LeWitt who would just send his assistants to do a wall drawing and never visit the place – to never really understand what it feels like to come into the room and see this or that. For my show at the Brooklyn Museum (The Play of the Unmentionable: An Installation by Joseph Kosuth at the Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA, 1990), I did a model and made miniatures of each work and physically played around with them. At that time, on my farm in Tuscany, I didn’t have any electricity. Finally I got a phone and we were able to rig up a gasoline generator which could provide electricity for a fax machine. I had assistants at the Brooklyn Museum who would fax me photographs of objects from the collections. I had to read the faxes by candlelight because there wasn’t enough electricity for lights, only just enough to run the fax machine. I felt as though I was between one age and another. With thermal fax paper, I also had to be careful I didn’t loose the images when they were on the wall. That’s how I conceived a lot of the show at the Brooklyn Museum from Italy, by dealing with ghost-like images on the wall. I wouldn’t have to do that today. A/S/N

You were responding to a specific urban situation in a large city but from a rural context, working almost in a medieval way but with the help of a network of collaborators. It’s almost like fieldwork in reverse.

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CD

That raises our question again: what is fieldwork? After two years studying with Art/Space/Nature, where is the location of the work itself? Does it lie in the production of art works following your experiences in the field, or is it located in the methodology and specificity of fieldwork itself? JK

In a catalogue that I made with students in Madrid (At Last I Believed I Understood (Madrid) / Al Fin Creí Entender (Madrid), La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain, 2008), I told the students to write a paragraph of instructions on how to make a work of theirs. No diagrams, no visual material, just written instructions, like you’d find on a shampoo bottle. The paragraphs were then exchanged and the students had to make one of their colleague’s works and interpret what they had been told to do. So my question was, where is the work located? Was it in the original concept or was it in the interpretations? And that is how we produced the show: we exhibited the paragraph with the student credited, and we showed the production with the other student credited. And in keeping with my Guest and Foreigners series, each artist was Spanish speaking but not Spanish. They came from countries where Spanish was spoken but there was a certain level of removal.

A/S/N

There is a connection here to Art/Space/Nature, which regards translation or how different languages follow through into a practice. English is obviously the predominant language on the course, but there are also German, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese and Greek speakers.

CD

Students come not only from landscape architecture, architecture, graphic design or fine art but they also come from different places – you’re guaranteed that they’ve got completely different ways of working and information in their heads. So you are dealing with some people who may have little idea of the discourse of art, and other people who do. JK

I think this is very interesting. It’s quite Beuysian in a way.

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SM

As long as you are introduced to the discourse of art at some point. Because I don’t think you can have an idea about making art if you do not know the fundamental questions relating to the ontology and the language of art. CD

So does this mean that this procedure is creating a new type of artist? Something more akin to a model engineer? A hybrid practitioner? A practical intellectual from an interdisciplinary background who travels around the world, but who cannot be easily represented in the obvious art market, gallery, or museum situation? SM

Well, that’s very good, I think. A/S/N

A lot of what Art/Space/Nature does is to create energies between people. Students from a discipline such as landscape architecture may look at the art debate with perhaps naïve but fresh eyes. And the other way round, students with an art background challenge the knowledge and methodologies of architects because they don’t have the whole history and reality of architecture as a burden on their ideas. They inspire and teach each other, and this opens up wide their modes of perception and creation. In many group exhibitions by A/S/N students, works come together and form a coherent show as though it was curated. And that synergy is what makes the sparks fly. We try, in some way, to harvest that energy.

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FIELDWORK AS REVERIE MARC CAMILLE CHAIMOWICZ

A/S/N

Marc Camille, have you developed a specific ritual or methodology that bridges working practice and daily life? Can these two domains be separated? MCC

I think it is important that they are separated. Something that is centred to a large degree in subjectivity will be too inaccessible or obscure if it isn’t processed in very particular ways. I think my work is a kind of idealisation in terms of possible models. In the 1970s, when I started, there were no pre-existing models by which to make work, which meant one had to find one’s own. Gradually I began to establish a particular working practice, which was pluralistic and multi-formed but always dealt with subjective questioning. It meant that one was working with activities that at the time were un-named, and that was what was exciting about them. Much of the work was ephemeral. At first it was called events, then performance, and later installation. Then, interestingly, as these activities became recognised, I became more and more frustrated by the very fact that they had become recognised or named. At that time, I wrote regular criticism on performance for the short-lived magazine Studio International edited by Richard Cork. My final column, which never got published, highlighted a fundamental contradiction – namely, that you couldn’t actually write about performance because the very principle of that premise was based on a formalised reading of practice. From that I developed a frustration relative to the degree of objectivity which is needed to write criticism. I felt more and more drawn to writing for myself, to actually including writing within practice. I think that most of us who write, given that we come from the visual arts, write inordinately slowly. To me, journalism is the antithesis of how I use the written word because the pressure in journalism produces a false urgency.

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A/S/N

You use the form of the diary in some of your publications. Does this way of working with text come closer to how you want to portray your work? MCC

Certain forms of writing fascinate me and the diary form may be one, but it is not the only one. If it does feature on occasion then it is, in a sense, a kind of falsehood. It won’t actually be from the diary, but a fictional reconstruction of the diary as a possible arena for reverie. You never really write just for yourself. Subconsciously you want to be read. One needs to find forms by which to structure sensibility. The apartment as personal space has been another form that I’ve used a lot. Again that has to be processed very carefully otherwise it simply comes across as autobiographical, which may suit someone who is interested in social-realist practice but that’s not my intention. A/S/N

Could you say that these forms portray the everyday, yet not quite? MCC

I find the everyday so mundane and often so disappointing that one has to go beyond it, but still keep a check on external reality, otherwise one ends up in a totally deluded state. The trick is to tweak the real so that one can transcend it and, in the process, hopefully render it of interest, not simply to oneself but to others too. I think the photograph that I happened to find in Nantes of the Café du Rêve was a good example of a simple visual form that said everything I wanted to say. It implied a kind of sociability in a place where you get a wide cross-section of people, all dealing with their own solitude. They go to the Café du Rêve for a number of reasons: to pick someone up, or to get drunk, or to find warmth, or to engage in social intercourse. But because the title is Café du Rêve it also implies something else: that one can transcend and actually go into reverie. That’s a very simple example of what you are hinting at. The everyday in this photograph is not any old café. It has specificity. 18


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A/S/N

You mentioned nameless activities. In some ways fieldwork is an activity that remains nameless or invisible. MCC

I think so. Jean Genet offers a good example here. He found it difficult to make work, i.e. to write, once he’d acquired a degree of visibility. He found mature success rather suddenly because a number of key players, including the other dandy, Jean Cocteau, took on Genet’s writings and started to introduce him to members of the elite and the establishment, which in some ways was a necessary development. At that time, Genet was in deep trouble. There was an obscure law in the French penal system whereby if you were found guilty of whatever criminal act, however minor, on more than five or six occasions you were liable to be given a life sentence. Genet was facing that threat. He was drawn to the criminal world and until his midthirties had spent eighty per cent of his life in institutions: an orphanage, a reform home, a prison, and then, I think, four or five years in the army. He became addicted to the eroticism of criminality and risk. But when you’re faced with the fact that you may never be free of prison, this becomes something else. At this point, Genet began to write in a very unusual way, on bits of lavatory paper, on old cardboard, and he hid everything under his mattress. He wrote to make sense of things for himself, because he was imprisoned, because he was not well connected at the time, and in no way could he presume the probability of finding a publisher. With time, this secret activity became recognised through his manuscripts. Jean Cocteau introduced him to a number of very wealthy patrons who bought these manuscripts. Suddenly he was making a lot of money, which meant that for the first time he was able to get suits made and live in hotels. It also meant that he was increasingly alienated from the fieldwork that had nourished his first writings. Then he had a crisis. He tried other activities such as filmmaking. He produced one masterpiece, which lasts fifteen minutes. He went back to thieving. Eventually Cocteau introduced him to Jean-Paul Sartre who, with others, formed a pressure group that was able to solicit a pardon from the President of France. Jean Genet has become the personification of existential man. 20


A/S/N

So how would you define fieldwork? MCC

I think I would define it as a kind of freedom. There’s a great quote from André Gide: “Poverty is a slave driver. In return for food men give their grudging labour. All work that is not joyous is wretched, I thought, and I paid many of them to rest. Don’t work I said, you hate it. In imagination, I bestowed on each of them that leisure without which nothing can blossom, neither vice nor art.” It’s perhaps excessively romantic but, as Gide points out, his definition of freedom has to be anchored in the real. He’s happy to give people money to live and to free them up to be creative because most work is a kind of drudgery. I guess my definition would be to try to structure one’s life so that one has a high degree of freedom, which then enables one to resist the pressures of either the market place or categorisation, or a particular way of working. It means that everything is possible however modest that may be. Sometimes I’ve just made a model of a piece of furniture out of cardboard and that’s enough to enable me to give form to something I need. A/S/N

Such freedom from external pressures requires a very pronounced ability to improvise and to constantly initiate new contexts and formats for making work. MCC

My very first publication was called Field-Work. This would have been in the mid ‘70s. It was at the time of my first teaching job at Croydon School of Art. There were some good students there. I felt it would be great if we did an event together, so we met up and did some rehearsals. It was a performance type thing, which we toured to a number of venues. We showed at a place called Oval House, a community arts centre, which used to be quite good for experimental theatre. They also had their own printing department in the days when one still used the technology, which preceded photocopying. I collated all the sheets of paper myself, and stapled them by hand. We had fun. We used different coloured paper, all low-cost and low-tech. The cover was a reproduction of a filmstrip from the performance: black and white filmstrips of people working. 21


A/S/N

Would you say that artists produce their own field rather than go to an existing field to take notes, describe and analyse it? MCC I guess

we feel a certain urgency to furnish and furbish our own world rather than respond to the way the world is furnished. In a way, it’s a reversal, is it not? I am interested in itinerant workers, in the journeyman, who in previous centuries would go where the work was. Most architecture, as well as stone carvings in graveyards or decorations in baronial houses, has arisen from that movement of skilled people. Take Carouge, which is a small town outside Geneva. It is remarkable for its Italianate architecture and that’s simply down to the fact that the great architects and master craftsmen came from Italy via the Alps to Geneva and then moved on to Paris. They stopped in Carouge for many years, settled, and built their own abodes. So you get a moment of Italy by Lake Geneva. The problem with fine art is that it’s based on the principle that the artist is God and doesn’t compromise, which is absurd because we have to ingest compromise and deal with it in the best way we can.

Once a year or so, I get involved in a public art project of some sort. Often, I will have to compromise because of restrictions in terms of the budget, technical means, and time. You just do the best you can with what’s available. I guess that was frowned upon, and instead one idealised the studio as the sacred space where the artist was fully in control. But I don’t think that necessarily produces the most interesting work. I don’t really have a studio – I have a storage place but I don’t really go there to make work. People ask, “where do you work?” and I never know what to say – on a bus or in bed or in a cab? Where does one work? I’m enjoying working here in this flat at Randolph Cliff in Edinburgh. I’ve got a photocopier, I have two tables where I can cut and paste and that’s a very happy place to be working in. At home in London, I work often on the kitchen table, but it can be distracting – bills to pay, telephones, TV, washing to do. It’s a different environment and although I do quite like working at home, there’s a kind of intensity and clarity of thought possible here in this apartment that I don’t have at home – because it’s unfamiliar.

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THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY OF A PROGRAMME EELCO HOOFTMAN

A/S/N

When you are given a brief as a landscape architect, how do you engage with it in terms of fieldwork? EH

Being a landscape architect is completely intertwined with the idea of having a site. I like the term field, because it’s neutral. It doesn’t have a particular dimension attached to it. As an entity, field seems to indicate a boundary around a set of operations, otherwise where would it start, where would it stop? Fieldwork is not a word I would normally use. I would probably refer to site-analysis. For a landscape architect, regardless of the style you proclaim, the most important issue is that the product comes out of a particular place. I don’t think I would ever just take a product to a place. Some artists do, so that’s not a criticism. The Land Art movement got out of the gallery in that way and some of the best writings on the subject are by Robert Smithson. He had inspirational ways of seeing a landscape. Whenever I go for a job interview, I visit the site first. The site is where it all starts. That is our ethos. Over the years, I’ve become very interested in the aspect of time. Because the more you collaborate in an interdisciplinary way, the more you feel the need to fall back on what you really are. What makes us landscape architects is that we work with time. Every landscape has a different time-line that runs simultaneously from the very long, slowly evolving geological process of erosion, to the other end of the scale, which is the heat of the moment, the rupture and the big change that is often the result of human intervention. In Holland, where I come from, it’s about a landscape of mud and tidal movement in continuous flux. In Scotland, it’s about bedrock, it’s about geology. You’ve got monsoons, eruptions like Arthur’s Seat and then millions of years of slow decay. It’s different from a tidal landscape. The beauty of the profession I’m involved in lies in getting under the skin of a landscape and trying to understand 27


the connections and relationships between layers. This makes you realise that you’re just writing a chapter in a book, so to speak, because there’s always something that is already there. Something else will take place afterwards, but the land remains. However, the reality today is that a lot of projects, and sometimes the most interesting ones, are predicated on a kind of non-site and that’s challenging too. These sites have lost a sense of place, have become lookalikes because of globalisation, so the airport becomes the same everywhere, and every shopping street in Britain looks the same. Here, the Art/Space/Nature programme becomes relevant, because each project we do has a site which has to be worked with. A/S/N

Is your concept of non-site related to Alan Johnston’s notion of the void? EH

I don’t think the void and non-site are the same. Alan’s ideas of the void are related to his experience in Japan, in particular to Sesshu’s garden in Yamaguchi. The source for a lot of his work literally comes from a garden, and I find that fascinating. The void is very loaded. It’s a void full of meaning. When I refer to non-site I’m talking about contemporary conditions, and ways in which society is losing its relationship to the land. I don’t want to talk about tradition, but about origin. That’s why I like looking at historic maps as part of my fieldwork. There is a relationship between man and land, which is born out of necessity. Since the Industrial Revolution, the vertical relationship has been replaced by a horizontal one, which is about networks, infrastructure and exchange and not so much about a vertical layering. This new way of networking and thinking has no site. If you refer to site on the internet then that’s a completely different thing again: it’s virtual. But the level of complexity is the same as when I speak about layers of time in the landscape. We should not avoid that complexity because that constitutes the landscape. A/S/N

How do architects and artists influence each other?

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EH

I think an artist should always be a free agent. I cannot call myself an artist. But I know artists who have begun to operate with large offices and twenty people working behind computers to produce their art. To me, that becomes design. Of course there’s an overlap, but I still think that artists should remain free agents and not be institutionalised in any way. They can act as eye openers. A brief encounter with artists can be important. As landscape architects we don’t do the temporary, or else it’s very banal. But as an artist, you can say, this is an installation and it’s temporary. Also, as an artist you have a product that you identify with, and which will get you invited to do exhibitions or other projects. That is quite different from landscape architecture, where you have to work with somebody else’s ambition in order to deliver a product. You can see stylistic consistency, but I don’t think it is as coherent as most artists’ portfolios are, where there is a philosophy in line with the product. I studied landscape architecture at an agricultural university surrounded by farmers’ sons and daughters. I was interested in art and that always remained at the back of my mind. So when I got the chance to teach Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, it was a great opportunity for me. But, at the time, the departments at the College weren’t talking to each other and there was no apparent overlap between art and architecture. So Art/Space/Nature was born out of that situation, and out of the dialogue between Alan Johnston and myself. We started doing projects together and moving in the same circles. A/S/N

What is the approach for you behind A/S/N and where do you see its flaws? EH

Art/Space/Nature was always based on the idea of doing rather than talking, and on engagement, so it was always quite hands on. This has been its strength and its weakness, because if you talk about intellectual debate or theory in Art/Space/Nature, I think that we have under-performed. We never really built up a canonical reading list or set of references. These were inherent, done intuitively. You don’t have to talk too much to know you are working on something that makes sense. We developed

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a relationship with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and some of the scientists and botanists there. Scientists have a fantastic approach to making discoveries: they can allow for failure. They experiment, go with the flow, and then suddenly find an application or connection between different fields. I think this is an underlying intellectual issue that could be explored further. It basically has to do with Edinburgh, the Enlightenment and metaphysical concepts of visuality from Hutton, Hume, Madison through to Geddes, who tried to break boundaries between professions, between botany and science, and between political and social awareness. Therefore, it makes sense for Art/Space/Nature to be based in Edinburgh, as a locale that has bred schools of thought that are about internationalism. We think about visuality, physical proof and look for connections between music, architecture, art, and botany. With Art/Space/Nature, it has been about consciously attracting the right mixture of artists, architects and designers. I teach very differently in a landscape design studio than I do in the Art/Space/Nature studio. In the design studio, I can insist that a student read this or that book. It’s like being an apprentice, you have to learn, and you do that by pushing and shoving, by trial and error. You have to prove that you’re equal on a professional level. But Art/Space/Nature doesn’t lead to a vocation. That’s its strength, which gives it freedom, and that freedom is extremely important. We want to open people’s eyes and build dialogue, and we see this course as a period during which students can create a platform from which to develop. The motivation and rationale has to come from them. Sometimes people ask, where is the market for this? But Art/Space/Nature has not been about the market, it’s been genuinely about practice-based experience. An art school should be where synergies take place. I always wanted the course to be international. It’s fantastic that American, Japanese, Chinese and European students are involved in it. Art/Space/Nature’s philosophy has to do with collective memory, the memory of a programme. Therefore it’s always about the strength of the individual within the group. The collective is that which you build up over time and represent.

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THE SLOWNESS OF FIELDWORK TIM INGOLD

A/S/N

In your opinion, to what extent does fieldwork differ across the disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, art, and architecture? TI

It differs a lot. Comparing anthropology and archaeology first, the difference is that anthropologists usually work with living communities whereas archaeologists usually work in places where, although there may be living communities there, the people who left the impressions in the landscape that they’re studying aren’t around anymore to talk to. With art and architecture it’s traditionally been very different in the sense that the artist or the architect may be engaging quite directly with the landscape but doesn’t have the same commitment as an archaeologist or anthropologist to a truthful description of a form of life that they actually find there. Archaeologists will still think that their aim is to understand something of how life was once lived by people in the past. They cannot just come up with anything they please. There are constraints in the nature of the material that they are dealing with that push them to interpret things in one way or another. And, in that way, I think that the comparison may be with an artist or perhaps a musician who also feels that their job is to come close to something that is there. Take for example some forms of Chinese or Japanese calligraphy. One could say that the calligrapher is an artist because they practice for decades trying to get it right, and produce beautiful work. But for a master calligrapher, the real challenge is to produce calligraphy that comes somewhere near to the perfection of the ancient works that they are copying. Perhaps in the same way that a Western instrumentalist, a violinist or a pianist, may strive to get Mozart right. You can never get it completely right; it’s like working towards an asymptote. In doing so, they are being thoroughly creative, maybe even innovatory. But there is still the horizon of attainment that they are trying to achieve and that is already there in the conditions of the world as they find it. 35


The question, which is unresolved, is: to what extent is this true of an artist or an architect? Some artists would say that one’s obligation as an artist is to come as close as possible to realising and understanding what is there. But other artists would say that their aim in life is actually to completely dispense with what is there and come up with something radically different. So it is not a resolved question. A/S/N

There are architects who respond to the site and intend to incorporate the architecture into the landscape. And then other architects... TI

…who say, just scrap the landscape, let’s put in something completely different. They can choose but I’m not sure that this is a choice an archaeologist or an anthropologist can make. An archaeologist can’t walk in and say, well scrap this, I’m not interested in this past, I’ll just invent another one. They will say that often there is no such thing as the real past, that pasts are always things we construct retrospectively in our own ways. And one or two might go as far as to say that you can construct the past in any way you want. But most, I think, will say that there are some basic obligations and commitments that one has as a scientist. Likewise, anthropologists will say that they have a basic commitment to the people that they are working with, the form of life that they are observing, and that they can’t just wish these away and portray something else instead. That would not be honest. So there are these kinds of scientific constraints. A/S/N

How does the relationship between the fieldworker and the field change over time? And how does this transformation influence the knowledge generated through research? TI

Most anthropologists do their first fieldwork when they are relatively young, in their early or mid-twenties. At this time they are growing up and maturing very fast. I think every anthropologist would say that their experience of fieldwork has made them into a different sort of a person than they would have been had they not done that fieldwork. It influences quite fundamentally the way you move, the way you think, the way 36


you talk to people, the way you interact, the things you observe, the things you notice and the things you don’t notice. I did my first and main fieldwork when I was twenty-four and I’m now just past my sixtieth birthday and still discovering things that I learned in the field that I didn’t realise until now. If I look back and ask myself why am I thinking the way I’m thinking now, I discover to my surprise that it was actually something that was set off way back then, but that I didn’t realise at the time. In the reverse direction, the fieldworker affects the field by their presence. There are people they get to know who remember them and often life-long friendships and relationships are built up. It’s not really that different from what would happen in any other ordinary area of life in which you spend time with people. It tends to be that the impact of the field on the life of the fieldworker is greater than that of the fieldworker on life in the field. So it’s a big impact for one fieldworker and a fairly distributed, diluted impact for the people who are actually living in the field. The key point is that knowledge of any kind grows out of some kind of engagement of the knower and the world. So it’s completely mistaken to think that because an anthropologist or a fieldworker has been caught up in the lives of people, it’s impossible to produce a properly objective account, or that their study is bound to be affected by subjective bias. There is no contradiction between participation and observation. It’s not as though participation makes you subjective and observation makes you objective, or that participation puts you into the world and observation puts you out of it. To observe anything you have to be set in the world and involved in relationships with the objects of your observation. So it’s not that participation is a methodology that is bound to fail because you can’t get proper objectivity. Rather, observation is all the more powerful because of that engagement. A/S/N

In art and architecture, for various reasons, the fieldwork period is often shorter. Do you think it is possible to reach a similar depth of knowledge? TI

One misconception is that anthropologists, when they are doing fieldwork, are simply interacting with the people and that artists 37


and architects, to the extent that they are doing enquiries in the field, are simply interacting with the landscape. I think neither is true. The anthropologist is engaged with the nonhuman just as much as with the human environment. It is the whole environment that one is immersed in and the same is true of artists and architects. But I think there is something about slowness, which is very important. Anthropology is a slow kind of research. It takes a lot of time. There are no shortcuts. You can’t just walk in and get results quickly. The question in my mind (and I don’t know the answer) is to what extent is that slowness a characteristic of art and architecture as well? My guess is that it is a characteristic of certain approaches to art and architecture but that with others it is just the opposite. There is some quick and dirty art and architecture, which is very un-anthropological, and some very slow art and architecture, which looks and feels much more anthropological in its sensibilities. A/S/N

In Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (London, 1995), Eriksen states, “many anthropologists involuntarily take on the role of the clown when in the field”, often unintentionally breaking rules of conduct in an alien society. He adds, “through discovering how the locals react to one’s own behaviour, one obtains an early hint about their way of thinking.” Is there a performative role that is taken up by anthropologists in the field – whether consciously or not – and can this role be said to be part of a methodology? TI

Yes and no. Everybody would recognise themselves in the clown position, usually unintentionally. I’d be surprised if there were any anthropologists who went in with the deliberate intention of clowning around in order to figure out how locals would respond to it. That’s a slightly dishonest kind of thing to do. The usual situation is that you put your foot in it, say the wrong thing, or dress or move the wrong way. People point it out and that way you learn from your mistakes. Many people describe anthropological fieldwork as something like an apprenticeship. Very often you work closely with a small number of people whom you get to know very well, and they tend to be skilled in areas of life that your research focuses on. 38


In my research, I was studying reindeer herding and worked closely with a particular herder. He was a very experienced guy. You come in as a novice and you learn in a hands-on way, as most apprentices do, until you can eventually handle a herd on your own. It’s almost entirely a case of learning by doing. So you watch, you follow what the other person does, you make mistakes, you are corrected, you learn from your mistakes. This is a pretty close approximation to the way most anthropologists learn. It can involve some of the simplest actions. For example, I once accompanied a fisherman; we were fishing under the ice. First you make a hole in the ice with an ice-pick. You have to make sure that there is a leather strap at the top of the pick and you put it around your wrist so that if the pick runs away from your hand under its own momentum, it’s held in place by your wrist. Of course, I never thought of doing that, so my ice-pick went to the bottom of the lake. A/S/N

In your recent publication Lines: A Brief History (London, 2007), you differentiate between wayfaring (travelling along a walking line) and transport (travelling across an area following a connecting line). Would you say that fieldwork is an activity that requires wayfaring, and to some extent, improvisation and freedom? If so, how does a wayfaring methodology sit within the rigid rules of science? TI

The answer to the first question is definitely yes. It is a matter of wayfaring and involves a huge amount of improvisation and openness, of finding your way as you go along. How does it fit within the rules of science? Not well, but one has to remember that nearly all practical science involves much the same thing. The field scientist, say an ecologist working in the terrain, has to improvise all along the way. There are all kinds of situations that were not anticipated in the original research design, such as weather changes, and you have to find a way through. In that sense, there isn’t a big difference between the way anthropologists figure things out as they go along and the way field scientists do. The big difference is in the way they write up their findings, because field scientists have to massage things, fiddle to make them fit, so that it looks as though they have been doing controlled experiments 39


according to rigid protocols. Anthropologists don’t have to worry about this because they know perfectly well that things don’t happen like that. They can write their material up in a straight narrative style. They are not bound by the conventions of scientific presentation and publication in the way that scientists are. The key is to keep on going. The parameters are of the same sort as you would have if you were playing in a jazz ensemble. It’s a matter of continually responding to what’s going on around you and then finding your own way through such that others will respond in their turn. You have to watch where you are going. You can’t simply fall back on a predefined set of questions. With anthropology, if you could define all your questions in advance and then go and find the answers, there would be no point in doing the fieldwork. What actually happens is that you start off with one or two very simple questions. Each question leads to a whole series of answers and each of those answers leads to another series of questions. So there is a cascade affect. Wisdom lies not in how much you know, but in how much you realise you don’t know. The questions you end up with are more detailed, more precise, more meaningful, and make more sense. There may be many more questions than you started with, but through the process of reaching them you have actually found out a great deal. A/S/N

Would you say that all these questions together form a field? TI

In a way, you could define a field as a set of questions. Everybody studying for a university degree comes in thinking they know all the answers. You then show that where they thought they had an answer, there’s actually a question. The older you get, the more you realise you don’t know anything about anything.

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FIELDWORK AS FREQUENCY MARTIN PARKER

A/S/N

Sound and light are both categorised by their wavelength within the field of electromagnetic radiation. This can be described as a field. As Academic Director of Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh, Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Dialogues festival, and a composer who focuses on encounters between computers, people and places, how do you engage with the notion of fieldwork as a creative reference point? MP Fieldwork

is a necessary part of almost any creative act but the scale and time frame of it is different with each piece and for each project. For me, fieldwork can take the form of measuring a space and finding the best place to position a loudspeaker. This can happen just before a concert, within a very short timescale. However, a much longer period of fieldwork can take place when the material of the performance piece is going to be directly influenced by it, through location recording, or rehearsing with other musicians. Another element of fieldwork that can affect the musical material directly can take place through the development of a sound processing system. Information about a room, a space or place will be researched and then converted into data that is subsequently mapped to sound manipulation parameters in a live performance or sound installation. I’ve yet to work with electromagnetic radiation directly although I’ve enjoyed the work of Christina Kubisch, whose sound installations involve the unmasking of electromagnetic interference by bringing it into the sound domain through specially engineered headphones.

A/S/N As a

composer, would you say that research and an empirical understanding of a location is vital to your work, and to what extent do you enter a cultural and musicological consciousness to absorb this influence?

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MP

Music rarely emerges from a vacuum. Contexts of place and culture offer a way to frame ideas, limit possibilities, and focus material. In my work, this can and often does happen on an abstract and arguably almost arbitrary level. With a sound installation that uses live sound, sourced from the space around the installation, one might be interested in the general soundscape or atmosphere in the building, but can’t possibly legislate for every possible sound that might enter this space and be sampled by the system. Therefore, the sound installation might accommodate the space by becoming a part of it. This was the case with Filament (2006) where sound from the city of Hall in Tyrol, Austria, was piped via fast internet exchanges to the town square in realtime. On the square, a curtain of copper wires made connections between these sounds, creating a kind of digital wind chime. Visitors would not go to visit it like an exhibit in a gallery, but would happen upon it. Therefore the sound material was ambient, incidental and non-intrusive. Closer listening would reveal a complicated mix of sound information for those that came to explore the curtain. Another example of accommodating location could be as simple as configuring a live performance for a bar or a café. I might perform louder to compensate for the hum of beer coolers, or apply a longer reverberation time to some of my output in order to help the sound evoke a sense of space or polish that is missing from the chaos of the environment. However, I’ll directly study a location when the piece or performance is site-specific. I’m not keen to render a narrative in my music but I am interested in a dialogue between the performance and the place it is presented in. For example, my performances in Japan with artist Alan Johnston used special resonating loudspeakers that excited the walls of the room and automatically generated rhythmic material based on the proportions of the distances between these speakers. The frequency response of the sounds was particular to that location and the materials within it. Meanwhile, I performed over the top of this ground, modulating my actions in response to the way the room behaved. A/S/N

What significance do you place on visualisation and live performance in your practice?

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MP

Performance is where my work actually happens. I’ve made very few pieces for fixed media. For me, the studio is where practice and rehearsal takes place. Pieces are not finished until they have been presented; they can’t work without a performance. I’ve often found that documentary recordings of my works just don’t capture the energy or unique conditions that might make something work well in the moment. I find that I often amplify my gestures in performance in order to communicate to the audience intentions and responses to my actions. This helps the audience to follow music that comes from a computer, however it also causes a kind of interference between the purity of the dialogue, between sound and space. I use gestures to help the audience know when a section might be about me and when it might be about the location and the sounds within it. This is certainly a form of visualisation of the sound. I’ve done a lot of work on visualisation using computer systems and, to be honest, I’m still sceptical about the way this works. At present, I think it is important to have two distinct layers of visuals and sound, each running at their own speed, where occasionally synchronisation is deliberately engineered but is often a function of chance. Contrary to what Hollywood cinema would have us believe, we can interpret sound and image as discreet entities when played together so I’m interested in playing with that idea. I often create work that will be performed only once and develop configurable computer systems that mean each time they are used, the output is significantly different. There is nothing special or original in this. Performance necessitates variety and imagination and all performers develop ways to deal with this, no matter what technology they use.

NOTES

Filament (2006), commissioned by the Tyrolean branch of ISCM through composer Günther Zechbeger. See tinpark.com Performances in Japan with Alan Johnston used special resonating loudspeakers. See Gel Loudspeaker by SFX Technologies, sfxtechnologies.com 48


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THE FIELD AS VOID ALAN JOHNSTON

A/S/N

How do you respond to the term fieldwork both within your own practice as an artist, and in relation to the MFA course Art/Space/Nature? AJ

Similarly. About two years before the Art/Space/Nature programme came into being, we decided to take students to Orkney to have a look around and experience the place. Interdisciplinarity was a prospect needing application, and this in the context of our existing Basel Studio programme that addressed a closer relationship between art and architecture. After talking to Eelco Hooftman, we ended up with about forty students from the School of Drawing and Painting and the School of Landscape Architecture. On the way up to Orkney, on the bus and boat, Eelco and I discussed the idea of letting the art students, who weren’t landscape architects, explore the site in a way that they wouldn’t normally. As for the artists, they didn’t have a variegated, or structured experience of looking at a site. I wanted to remove them from the familiar view of landscape or urbanscape. So Eelco briefed the artists to look at the context of the field as a landscape architect would, and I briefed the other students who were bound by architectural practice. The field is a comparative metaphor for how one starts to look at the nature of an enquiry. Within this metaphor of the field, there are all sorts of models that lead into mythologies, cultures, and philosophies of space. There are boundaries within different cultures that define how centres and peripheries exist. And how fields of consciousness, fields of perception, or fields of reality exist. The prescription of how we perceive the field is as much part of a cultural dimension as a scientific one. Enlarging the nature of a field of enquiry, study or research is incipient. The field can also be a void.

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A/S/N

You talk about setting traps for students in the way that Art/Space/Nature is structured. Could you expand on that? AJ

Much of what you’ll experience as artists or architects will take place when you find yourselves in a trap of aspiration. You want to do something but at the same time, how do you escape from the trap of circumstance? How do you resolve a prospect creatively? One of the challenges we set is an emphasis on problem solving. For that, Art/Space/Nature projects are open-ended. We don’t dictate form, or a formulaic device, or a way through. We encourage an open-ended solution. You can look at this approach in contrast to the current pedagogic prison, where the pressure is on for people to be measured empirically. What we are trying to do is enter into a real life situation, where you find your way out to a fresh construct, where you see the potential in the realities of professional practice. The Orkney project is full of traps, people can be seduced by the twee aspect of the landscape, indulging in an escapist environmental metaphor. Instead, we help you to get inside all the possible morphologies and analogies, but with the idea that you are searching the field to find something out. I think that moment, the existential moment, is about realising what is going on, in the sense of say, Sesshu’s Marvellous Void: it is an active, yet ambivalently passive void. Experiencing a non-directed set of circumstances becomes a test of perception, of discerning thought and spatial tactility as sustainable structure. The spatial field is like a nervous system rather than a Euclidian definition of space, although a tactile Euclidian notion of organisation is, ironically, something, which does appeal to me. We dispassionately apprise ourselves of various warnings, for example like the timely one from that other exponent of the void, David Hume, in his Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary (Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1903), when he writes: “It is evident that every man loves himself better than any other person, he is naturally impelled to extend his acquisitions as much as possible; and nothing can restrain him in his propensity, but reflection and experience, by which he learns the pernicious effects of that licence, and the total dissolution of society which must ensue from it.” But do we act on this?

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The spatial comparative is deeply set in that which Eelco and I have brought to the programme. In Eelco’s mindset, looking from the Netherlands’ tradition, it’s so organised toward survival that there’s a kind of spatial construction to all dimensions, even if it’s an organic one. This could only be found in the Dutch context: e.g., the hyper-organisation of constructed space to keep water out. An apposite comparison is the vertical dimension of Japan, where the growing of rice is also a way of keeping the mountain together, from sliding down. It’s a kind of reverse irrigation, slowing the water down as it rushes to the flooding plain. A/S/N

In the very early stages of the Art/Space/Nature course, there was a lack of studio space. Was this the stimulus for a less studio-based practice? Could you discuss the motivation behind sending students across the globe to do fieldwork in different contexts? AJ

Spatial constraints forced us to exteriorise the course, to find space elsewhere. All of our projects apart from the final one take place outside of the College. But there is a kind of tension there. To come back to the spatial metaphor, a long time ago, before I went to art school, I had a deep interest in Edvard Munch. When I was about sixteen, I travelled to Norway to see his work. There you find a Northern dimension of how visual culture works, within the Northern romantic tradition, which takes you right back to Caspar David Friedrich then to Munch, and then to Mondrian and a notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk (Harald Szeemann). I found quite a lot of that echoing in the politico-spatial concepts of current Swiss art and architecture. And that’s when you go past a certain point and start to look at the spatial analogy sympathetically. These stratagems are, of course, quite deeply set. I wouldn’t emphasise that they have a didactic or pedagogic importance. They are experiential, and you have to find your own way through them. I think this works well with Art/Space/Nature because it is small scale and we can operate in and out of such things without too much rhetoric.

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Our thesis is that in visual culture, the construct whereby the artist/architect engages with the built environment, with landscape architecture and architecture, has been consistently disappearing. So what we we’ve done, in a rather conservative way, is to restore it, to refresh the interface. We’ve refocused people to look at sites, systems and many other factors, even though they are not site-conscious or if they are, they’ve got a perception of the site that is locked into the physical delivery of the work. If articulation between artists and architects can start at the base of all of projects, it moves one away from these kinds of clichés. Falling into a cliché means you can be marketed, as in, “I’m an environmental artist”. It’s too late for that now. I think artists need to be quite light on their feet about these things. Ad Reinhardt said: “A fine artist needs a fine mind”. It’s about engagement with continuities and also realities. A/S/N

Do you think you are preparing students for these realities when they leave? AJ

The care of students is an important factor. But that’s got nothing to do with preparing for realities. You have to be able to take the rough with the smooth not the smooth with the rough. One of the things that we try to do is to make students identify with how to construct ways out of the trap. Some of the people that are in this publication, for example, have developed interesting relationships to that notion, such as Dan Peterman. Peterman creates a new, very Geddesian prospect of constructed relationships, a constructed economy where people are actually outside of the framework of conventional promotion, but very much part of a solution, however utopic that is. The best pedagogy is practice.

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URBAN FIELDSTATION DAN PETERMAN

Experimental Station, located on the south side of Chicago at 6100 S. Blackstone Avenue, is an initiative founded and directed by artist Dan Peterman. It is an independent, non-profit incubator of innovative cultural, educational, and environmental projects and small-scale enterprises. In addition to housing Peterman’s studio, its facilities provide essential resources enabling vulnerable initiatives to stabilise and flourish. These resources include office, exhibition, and other workspaces at discounted rents, information networks, tools and technical support. Experimental Station seeks to maintain a diverse and interdisciplinary balance of participants and activities and to generate events, lectures, and exhibitions, which are free and open to the public. Areas of primary interest include, but are not limited to, art, ecology, cultural criticism, independent publishing, and alternative models of education. Art/Space/Nature met with Dan Peterman in Chicago and became involved in the activities at Experimental Station. They volunteered at the 61st Street Farmers Market, visited The Blackstone Bicycle Works and attended lectures organised by The Invisible Institute. A/S/N

Do you think Experimental Station would be successful in another context or culture? DP

There is an openness to local conditions at the core of this project that indicates to me that if Experimental Station was extended or moved to another cultural context it would evolve into something very different in appearance. Attentive listening and observing, scavenging and curating, and a willingness to make oneself available to layers of meaning discovered in place, have continually influenced Experimental Station’s developmental decisions. Specific forces – regulatory, social, material, and aesthetic – have also pushed and pulled, and in the end left their imprints on what Experimental Station currently is. 89


To answer your question, we also have to explore the concept of success. Success sometimes involves eliminating the need for what it is that you are doing. In other words success sometimes means that the ideas you’ve put forth are assimilated by others. Or their time has simply passed. This disappearance doesn’t cancel out a project’s success any more than the plodding, ongoing operation of a project ensures it. Part of considering how successful we are, here or elsewhere, depends on whether Experimental Station is viewed as an entity for launching new ideas, and maintaining some degree of ongoing disruptiveness, or viewed as a kind of service organisation that provides continuing support for projects that help meet local needs. We currently do some of each. Figuring this out is part of our ongoing struggle to stabilise and mature. A/S/N

Experimental Station can be considered its own community with its own micro-economies and systems of apprenticeship, and therefore something like an urban fieldstation. How does your studio relate to these economies? DP

I have been very interested in micro-economies for a few different reasons. First, there is an aesthetic dimension to systems, networks, economies, and ecosystems that I enjoy exploring. I find thinking about and participating in this kind of thing deeply attractive. A supermarket might provide the opportunity for buying an egg, but the egg handed to you by the farmer who produced it has more energy in it, or at least the egg exchange with the farmer carries with it more energy. Even further, a warm egg produced by your own hen results in an even richer exchange of food and shelter for the bird, and eggs for you. It carries with it, if you choose to be observant, reminders of the ecosystem of which you and the hen are a part. The point here for me, is that we’ve inherited an economic system that over and over again demonstrates its inability or refusal to account for the complexity of the full conditions that make its own functioning possible. So back to my studio – I’m drawn to the creative dimensions of exchanges and to the dynamic, adaptable, complex dimensions of small-scale economics that can accommodate

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more subtle dimensions of human experience. The studio is my sheltered spot to incubate these and other ideas. A/S/N

Reflecting on your time at 61st Street, was there a point when you ceased being an outsider and became a local? DP

To some, even after twenty five years, I’m still an outsider, and in some ways I still feel like one. There are so many ways in which one might consider what being an outsider or a local means. Experimental Station is located in a very contested neighbourhood. The racial, economic, and social politics that have played out here are intense. On the one hand, the voice of the community has been held tightly by those most adept at a particular Chicago brand of hard-ball politics. For this particular fraction of the community, at my own peril, I’ve been an outsider. On the grass-roots level, and on certain cultural levels, I’ve been very active and connected and, increasingly, a local. Experimental Station has also had a hand in changing what the idea of the local is. We help to promote alternative models of thinking about this community and explore new ways that people can involve themselves in it. A/S/N

How essential is it for you to define yourself as an artist, or to cease to define yourself as an artist? DP

I find myself frequently crossing boundaries and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of identifying myself, or being identified, as an artist. I consider these terms completely negotiable. I recognise the ways in which this identity can undermine how people react to, explain, or participate in a particular project. However, because enough people don’t understand what it is that I actually do, or care about it in relation to art, this is surprisingly simple. Even if I’m identified as an artist, there is usually little or no basis for understanding how I might, in that capacity, be linking artmaking to a more social practice, unless I’m there drawing those lines of connection. But before I do that I’ll stop, think about it for a while, and see if I find enough reason to do it.

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A/S/N

Where do you want to take Experimental Station in the future? How long-term does this initiative need to be? Is there a danger of turning it into an institution, bureaucratised and heavy? How can one prevent this? DP

This remains to be seen. There are different sets of interest that now operate that will only reveal their future potential over time. Things need to play out further and I need to determine how I fit into them as this happens. Becoming over-bureaucratised is one of several struggles that Experimental Station faces. There are many subtle dimensions to how a site like this operates and how diverse enterprises and projects share space and resources. As we grow and attract more people, there is the constant task of maintaining systems, sometimes around the logistics of maintaining the facility and other times more conceptual systems that support an aesthetic, artistic integrity, or the specific mission and goals of a programme. I’m fascinated by how some people can get involved in something here and quickly see the whole picture, bringing strong instincts for what needs to be done in order to maintain and build. Others stubbornly refuse to see beyond a fixed set of perceptions or assumptions that define how they can participate. I’d like people to have a feel for the principles of how something like this works with all its subsets of activity, rather than needing to constantly appeal to specific sets of rules. It frequently comes down to questions of forms of governance and politics. This requires a lot of care and attention. A/S/N

How does Experimental Station enter into your work as an artist who teaches at the University of Illinois? Can there be a synergy between these two fields? DP Increasingly,

I’ve directed my teaching at the University of Illinois toward some of these questions. Not necessarily by using Experimental Station as a specific model to follow, but by building a framework for understanding ideas of simple networking, grassroots development, and a conceptual versatility that draws on schools of thought found in both ecology and art. There

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is a synergy here between my formal teaching situation and Experimental Station. It is revealed in differences rather than similarities. At Experimental Station I’m more interested in how people navigate on the level of individual subjective experience. Experimental Station currently operates on very different terms between divisions like those of students, staff, faculty and administration, for example. It is not invested in the same distribution of labour, expertise, and internal hierarchies. Exploring why and how this is the case continues to be a useful lesson for me both as a teacher, a student, and an administrator.

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THE FIELD IN BETWEEN CLÉMENTINE DELISS

In 1975, Joseph Kosuth published a seminal text entitled The Artist as Anthropologist. Structured as a sequence of numbered paragraphs, Kosuth intersperses a selection of quotations within his own writing. These quotations make explicit the relations forged by artists in the late 1960s and ‘70s between the discourse of contemporary art and the disciplines of anthropology, philosophy, and sociology. In citing Michael Polanyi, Martin Jay, Max Weber, William Leiss, Stanley Diamond, Bob Scholte, Edward Sapir, Meyer Fortes and Meredith Tax, Kosuth draws a map of contextual adjacency that destabilises the authority of western Modernism and Scientism as the defining references in contemporary art. In contrast, he argues for an “anthropologized art”, “an art manifested in praxis”, an “engaged” activity founded on “cultural fluency” whose criticality succeeds because it “depicts while it alters society” (Kosuth’s italics). Kosuth’s article highlights a period when art practice in North America and Western Europe was informed less by developments in art history or cultural studies, as we find today, than by interpretative models appropriated from the epistemological and politicised self-questioning of anthropologists. Not only Conceptual art, but also Actionism and Performance took their cues from the writings of Swiss ethno-psychoanalysts Paul Parin and Fritz Morgenthaler, German scholars such as Hubert Fichte, Hans Peter Duerr, and Michael Oppitz, the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss, and the Anglo-Saxon reflexivity of Bob Scholte, Clifford Geertz or Rodney Needham. More than just a reading list for emerging artists, this intellectual stance corresponded with the aftermath of the first Independence period in 1960s Africa, global student demonstrations in 1968, and the fall-out of the Vietnam War. The relationship to social and cultural anthropology was built on the articulation of linguistic and contextual propositions that might activate a recursive adjustment to ways of understanding and representing art. As Bob Scholte wrote at the time, 99


“What seems to me to be urgently required is a genuinely dialectical position, one in which ‘analytical procedures (and descriptive devices are chosen and) determined by reflection on the nature of the encountered phenomena and on the nature of that encounter’ (Fabian, 1971). This would mean that every procedural step in the constitution of anthropological knowledge is accompanied by radical reflection and epistemological exposition. In other words, if we assume a continuity between experience and reality, that is, if we assume that an anthropological understanding of others is conditioned by our capacity to open ourselves to those others (Huch, 1970), we cannot and should not avoid the ‘hermeneutic circle’ (Ricoeur, 1971), but must explicate, as part of our activities, the intentional processes of constitutive reasoning, which make both encounter and understanding possible” (my italics). Concerned with activist and intersubjective approaches to making meaning, it was the existential status of art that was at stake – ‘a subject self-defined’ – as expressed by Kosuth in an early artwork from 1967. Further, beyond the prerequisite that the viewer completed the work, there was no institutional or peer pressure placed on artists to be accountable to a wider non-art constituency. This stands in marked difference to the mannerism of the “artist as ethnographer” from the 1990s (Hal Foster), whose role espouses a social and institutional purpose, both “community-specific” and “audience-specific” (Miwon Kwon). As Kwon writes, “without doubt, artists, critics, curators, art institutions, and funding organizations are pressured today to think and act as if communities exist as coherent social entities awaiting outreach. The field continues to covet images of coherence, unity, and wholeness as the ideal representation of a community” (my italics). With the “ethnographic turn” (Alex Coles) of the last fifteen years, the ideational allegiance between art and the social sciences is no longer predicated on the ontological issue, but on the artist’s emulation of cultural analyses and contextual documentation, taken to the point of “ethnographer envy” (Hal Foster). Renée Green exemplifies the trope of the artist as ethnographer with a work from 1993. In Scenes from a Group Show: Project Unité, Green spends ten days living and working in an empty apartment in a run-down housing block built by Le Corbusier in Firminy, South Western France. She plans as follows: 100


“The character has decided to do fieldwork on herself in this place which was unfamiliar to her, but familiar to its remaining inhabitants. She considered it fieldwork because she was on unfamiliar terrain, outside of the city, attempting to inhabit an uninhabited area of a monumental ruin where she was meant to stay alone. The fieldwork is on ‘the society (she) is condemned never to leave: (herself).’ She will execute a self-styled autoethnography. If others enter her narrative space they too will be described.” In an act of “epistemological violence” (Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak), Green appropriates fieldwork from its earlier context of anthropological practice and applies it to her own postcolonial position. She amplifies this process further by pointing to the accelerated mobility of her daily existence: “For me the apartment is one more temporary place to live and work. I’ve been transient for at least the last year, staying for short periods of time in different countries to work. In this case the work space, living space and exhibition space are one.” Green’s itinerancy corresponds to Kwon’s analysis of the shift from earlier site-specificity that “insisted on immobility” to the “fluid mobility and nomadism” of the ‘90s. “Thus”, writes Kwon, “if the artist is successful, he or she travels constantly as a freelancer, often working on more than one site-specific project at a time, globetrotting as a guest, tourist, adventurer, temporary in-house critic, or pseudo-ethnographer to São Paolo, Paris, Munich, London, Chicago, Seoul, New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and so on.” The comparison between the artist as anthropologist from the 1970s, and the role of ethnographer adopted in the 1990s helps to situate the reasoning behind this publication entitled Fieldwork. Inevitably, certain key concerns remain: the value of investigations conducted within short time frames in a plurality of urban and rural environments, the idiosyncrasies of professional roles and methodologies, and the self-reflexive and contingent conditions that underlie this form of enquiry. Yet, neither model from the past corresponds adequately with the present situation evoked by Art/Space/Nature. Conceived, edited and co-financed by students from Art/Space/Nature as part of their MFA degree show, Fieldwork calls into question the modus operandi in 2009 of a developing aesthetic practice. By intersecting the disciplines of fine art, design, and landscape architecture, Art/Space/Nature establishes historical continuity with Scottish democratic generalism (Patrick Geddes; George Davie), while concurrently destabilising the encroaching pedagogical standardisation of research in art practice today. 101


Devised in 2003 by Scottish artist Alan Johnston and Dutch landscape architect Eelco Hooftman, the MFA course makes no explicit reference to earlier anthropology or recent cultural studies, nor does it advocate an academic ethnography of site. Instead, the purposeful absence within the course of an existing method in common contributes to the subversion of any vocational definition and enhances ontological heteronomy. For students who come to Art/Space/Nature from architecture or design (and, occasionally, the hard sciences), the option of working to a brief continues to make sense. For others, educated as visual artists, individual practice is more likely to have been based on a cumulative, non-prescriptive process of enquiry that eventually leads towards a final production, a procedure that can sometimes preclude team-based collaborations. Nonetheless, it is the series of collective experiences on site in different locations, from the Orkney Islands to urban Chicago, coastal Slovenia to arctic Greenland that constitutes the area of interdisciplinary overlap. Unlike twentieth century anthropology where this method is structured through a tripartite progression from domestic research to foreign fieldwork, and subsequent textualisation, with Art/Space/Nature, the field itself, and the process of working through this discursive and real-life experience, is situated within a continuous, recursive loop. As a consequence, one is hardpressed to locate the final product, to insist that it is the result of an episodic moment, or to identify any linear trajectory that would provide an adequate portrait of the professional who emerges from this hybrid environment. This dynamic condition places Art/Space/Nature in the vulnerable position of being an “emergent” phenomenon, something “that can only be partially explained or comprehended by previous modes of analysis or existing practices” (Paul Rabinow). Arguably, the presence of the work and its critical appraisal mirrors the different definitions of enquiry suggested within the pages of this book. The collection of interviews, conducted by the MFA group of students, indicates the diversity of interlocutors that informs Art/Space/Nature. In the case of Dan Peterman, Marc Camille Chamowicz, Sanna Marander, and Joseph Kosuth, they have been guest artists-in-residence at Randolph Cliff, an initiative supported by Edinburgh College of Art, the National Galleries of Scotland, and patron Charles Asprey. Others, from 102


anthropologist Tim Ingold to composer Martin Parker, based at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh respectively, provide the reader with an extended concept of fieldwork that draws out the subtle shifts between observation, intervention, and the experimental character of form giving. Alan Johnston and Eeelco Hooftman offer two complimentary interpretations of Art/Space/Nature, which has been running for six years at Edinburgh College of Art. The central visual essay, along with the contextual diagrams and maps have been identified, photographed, and collated in sequence by the editors and co-producers of the publication: Jacob Bee, Ronald Boer, Valerie Dempsey, Erin Gleason, Florian Graf, Naomi Hennig, Melissa MacRobert, Julia Martin, and Christine Wylie. Taking their collaboration one step further is the micro-savings account set up by the group on the basis of individual weekly contributions. This Mutual introduces the economic coordinate into their aesthetic practice and, to a significant degree, enables their joint ownership of this publication, under the new imprint of A/S/N Mutual Press. If one concludes, following John Dewey, that the initial enquiry of Art/Space/Nature not only “begins in an indeterminate situation”, but is “controlled by its specific qualitative nature”, then this publication offers a set of operations that help to provide building blocks for this complex interdisciplinary structure. Such actions, suggests Rabinow, “may be practical solutions in ordinary life; they may be scientific solutions to a defined problem of an experimental form; they may be artistic solutions to a given challenge of artistic practice, etc. Hence problems and solutions are terms that are joined in practice and in that sense co-productive.” Art/Space/Nature promotes the indeterminacy of emergent practices against the pressure of pedagogic instruction and the hermetic specialisms that segregate co-terminous understandings of experience, be these visual, conceptual, spatial, theoretical or practicebased. Fieldwork evokes the dynamic, complex paradox that accompanies any pioneering production of meaning.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alex Coles (ed.), Site-Specificity: The Ethnographic Turn, de-, dis-, ex-., Volume 4, London, 2000 George E. Davie, The Democratic Intellect, Edinburgh, 1984 John Dewey, Essays in Experimental Logic, 1903; Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, 1938 Hans Peter Duerr, Traumzeit — Über die Grenze zwischen Wildnis und Zivilisation, Frankfurt, 1978; Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary Between Wilderness and Civilization, English translation, 1985 Johannes Fabian, Charisma and Cultural Change, 1969; Time and the Other, New York, 1983; Time and the Work of Anthropology, 1991; Out of our Minds, California, 2000 Hubert Fichte and Leonore Mau, Psyche – Annäherung an die Geisteskranken in Afrika, Frankfurt, 1980 Hal Foster, The Return of the Real, Cambridge, 1996 Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, New York, 1973; Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology, New York, 1983; Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics, Princeton, 2000 Joseph Kosuth, The Artist as Anthropologist, first published in The Fox, NY, no.1, 1975, pp 18-30; and in Art after Philosophy and After, Collected Writings, 1966-1990, edited by Gabriele Guercio, foreword by Jean-Francois Lyotard, MIT, 1991, 1993 Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another. Site-specific Art and Locational Identity, MIT, 2002 Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, Paris, 1955; La Pensée Sauvage, Paris, 1962; The Savage Mind, 1966; Le Totémisme aujourd’hui, Paris, 1962; Totemism, translated by Rodney Needham, 1963 Rodney Needham, Belief, Language and Experience, 1972; Right and left. Essays on Dual Symbolic Classification, 1973; Primordial Characters, 1978; Reconnaissances, Toronto, 1983 Michael Oppitz, Notwendige Beziehungen. Abriß der strukturalen Anthropologie, Frankfurt, 1974 Paul Parin, Fritz Morgenthaler, and Goldy Parin-Matthèy, Die Weissen denken zuviel. Psychoanalytische Untersuchungen bei den Dogon in Westafrika, Zürich, 1963; and Fürchte Deinen Nächsten wie Dich Selbst: Psychoanalyse und Gesellschaft am Modell der Agni in Westafrika, Frankfurt, 1971 Paul Rabinow, Marking Time – On the Anthropology of the Contemporary, Princeton, 2008 Bob Scholte in Joseph Kosuth, op.cit., and in Dell Hymes (ed.), Reinventing Anthropology, New York, 1974 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, The Post Colonial Critic. Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, New York, 1990 Volker M. Welter, Biopolis, Patrick Geddes and the City of Life, MIT, 2002

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OUTSIDE THE STUDIO ART/SPACE/NATURE: JACOB BEE, RONALD BOER, VALERIE DEMPSEY, ERIN GLEASON, FLORIAN GRAF, NAOMI HENNIG, MELISSA MACROBERT, JULIA MARTIN AND CHRISTINE WYLIE

EG

Scientists effectively educate the public as to why science is necessary for society. Yet, people are constantly questioning the importance of art and design, and these are often the first subjects that are cut when education budgets are tightened. Many people still believe artists work alone in their studios, make a product, sell it in a gallery and that’s it. NH

The problem is that we never have sufficient outreach into the community. A lot of people are excluded from the sort of language that we choose to speak, making it impossible for them to take part in a discussion about art. Speaking of the artist as an anthropologist means investigating parts of society that you are not so familiar with. FG

I don’t think art can have direct impact. You can’t predict the influence of art. It sneaks into society somehow. As art students, surely we are not educated to do social work? MM

We have worked with different communities on collaborative projects in Edinburgh. NH

Yes, but it would have been so much better to do these projects on a long term basis, to go regularly every week, and establish a real routine of working together. I see jumping in, doing something together, and then pulling out again almost as a form of exploitation. MM

If you want to have any depth of communication, it can take weeks or months. It’s not something that happens from one day to the next. That’s what Tim Ingold is implying when he speaks about the slowness of fieldwork. 109


VD

The Orkney project in the first year of Art/Space/Nature was the catalyst for me. I found it surreal, almost like a reality TV programme with such an eclectic mix of people of different ages, and from different countries and disciplines, who all met for the first time at the beginning of the course. CW

You can’t choose the people you study with. Maybe it’s the explorative nature of the course that’s allowed for a kind of experimental synergy between us as individuals, and our disciplines. VD

It’s been shaped by our travel experiences, field studies and exhibition projects outside the gallery context. We’ve built up our own community, and brought our individual strengths to the projects, which has resulted in collaborative works that we would never have considered or even attempted on our own. This includes establishing a micro-savings association in order to co-produce this publication. NH

If you set up projects with other people, you have to be very clear about your own commitment. How much can you invest in the group effort, what is expected from you, and what it is that you expect from the collective? There is a need to share, to pool resources on a larger scale. Not just financially, but also in terms of time, energy and ideas – a pool of possibilities from which things can arise. That’s why I keep going back to university, to establish this solid community of shared intent that leaps over into artistic interest. EG

Artists who diversify their practices beyond a studio/gallery setting often develop long-term working relationships with organisations outside of the art world. In a way, this is another form of the collective, and new possibilities arise from it. Consider the city itself as a medium to work with, including all different aspects of life there. An artist’s work can be as wide and varied as writing an article for a newspaper, being commissioned

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to work with a disadvantaged community, participating in a charrette with city planners, or even organising events. This diversification approach reminds me of the Korean-owned corner stores in Philadelphia. They are tiny but sell everything from imported Korean DVDs, flowers, magazines, and batteries, to kimchi, beer, and pretzels. They even have self-serve salad bars. One reason these corner stores thrive is because of the diversity of goods they offer. NH

Or take the Turkish vegetable shop monopoly in Berlin. They do so well because they are run as family businesses with a mutual interest in keeping the business going. There is an understanding that you invest time and effort. With Art/Space/Nature, we witnessed a similar form of relationship and collective artistic development. Traditionally, the university has been a breeding ground for all kinds of revolutionary ideas. Why is it so different now? I don’t see this capacity in most art colleges anymore. It feels deadly silent. The institution is in need of innovation. But change is mostly top down, whereas in the past it came from below. There was critical thinking amongst students. RB

But you can see new breeding grounds emerge in Hamburg or Berlin, where people like Ton Matton or Olafur Eliasson have set up structures to realise their own ideas of education, and bring in people to work together. JB

Teaching can be a means for artists to acquire a quasi-benefactor. If you are employed by a supportive educational system, you don’t have to worry so much about galleries. You can make art that doesn’t depend totally on a turbulent market, and still be able to feed your family. NH

But is this person still called an artist? If you choose to resign from being actively involved in the so-called art world, you also choose to be outside of the “conversation” (Kosuth). So the question arises as to why you would actually make art?

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JM

I think you should engage with the art world on your own terms. Within academia and educational institutions, there is a huge interest in concepts of teaching, in how students teach each other and organise projects. It’s a different discourse than the one that takes place at biennales or in art magazines. Operating from within an art academy can be really challenging for artists and lead to new approaches in research and art, or research as art. Having said that, I am ambivalent about full-time teaching. It can become too much of a safe place. NH

After all the thinking and questioning we’ve done in Art/Space/ Nature, and having worked in different media and in various places, it’s not simple anymore. I don’t think I can paint again, just like that. I may write texts, or work on education projects. FG

I am going to try to live an alternative life, by not aiming for what is standard and what we think we need. The first thing I might do is to start an agency for students to live with old people. In London I stayed with an elderly doctor, we played the piano together and really enjoyed each other’s company. But doing things differently is a very social act and impossible when you don’t know a lot of people in the place where you want to live. And it’s really much easier to do this in a climate where it’s always warm. JB

We don’t have to be poor of spirit just because we are economically poor. To be in those gaps in the economy of the world can be very positive and is something I am interested in, although I own a home, will have a child soon, and am heavily involved in the Western capitalist, private equity world. I think it’s a difficult challenge to exist in a truly alternative way. Thoreau’s Walden offered influential ideas for living a different life. Maybe in the 19th century, there were more of these thoughts, of life in the wilderness? NH

There is a great danger in romanticising the drop-out lifestyle.

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FG

Recently, I heard a lecture on mystical anarchism. It was a plea for total love. The lecture referred to flagellation, hermits, and spiritual practice and then led into the principle of anarchism. The premise was that all these saints and flagellants were anarchists because they refused to believe in the Catholic doctrine that says that there is God and then there is you, and that God is beyond you. Therefore, you need institutions, you need an authoritarian State, you need the Church in order to mediate the message. But if God is within you, then you don’t need to have all these things. These believers, these anarchists, were very individualistic people who tended to be aggressive towards the notion of the collective, and towards society. JB

What we seem to be getting at here is the difference between the given community, the chosen community, the desired community, and the economics of the present situation. NH

If you look at some of the most successful art institutions, think of PS1 in New York, or Kunstwerke in Berlin, they were built from scratch through private initiatives, through collectives of artists and curators. The Collective Gallery in Edinburgh is another good example of something that started out as an artist-run space, and has survived for over twentyfive years. The one thing that you can rely on is the value of personal relations and alternative forms of organisation. FG

But why do these initiatives have to be institutionalised? Why can’t they remain independent? What’s the real motivation in it for artists? NH

It’s a fact that a lot of artists work for close to nothing. However, you need to generate an income in order to invite international artists and have better equipment and facilities. That’s where the trouble starts. The goal should be to develop a smart system to sustain activity, something that perpetuates itself and gains momentum. I cannot stand the type of practice

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that only communicates within the art context, that remains inaccessible for the majority of the public. JM

Artistic activity and access to art are very differentiated today. There are major shows in museums with massive public outreach, and there are elitist and exclusive insider circles in galleries as well as so-called underground initiatives. The art academy, too, is often pretty exclusive. But there are also numerous rather undefined, dislocated and inclusive activities happening outside of these circles and institutions. They may still be hidden or obscure, perhaps because they have not yet been declared as art. NH

I think there is a shift from the centralised art scene towards remoter places such as Orkney, and towards an expanded view on how to engage with, and build an audience. Not only does location need to be reconsidered but also the whole picture of how, under what circumstances and with what effect, art is to be made in the future.

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ART/SPACE/NATURE LOCATIONS 2007–2009

October 2007 Orkney Islands, Scotland 8 days November 2007–January 2008 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland 90 days February 2008 Edinburgh Waterfront, Scotland 21 days April 2008 Piran, Slovenia 10 days May 2008 Ilulissat, Greenland 10 days July 2008 Vitrey, France 8 days October 2008 Nagoya, Japan 30 days November–December 2008 Chicago, USA 35 days January 2009 Stornoway, Outer Hebrides, Scotland 6 days February 2009 Cumbernauld, Scotland 21 days May 2009 Ilulissat and Qequertarsuaq, Greenland 10 days

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NOTES

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IMAGE INDEX

3

Power Station, Ilulissat, Greenland Photograph by Jacob Bee, 2008

4

The Loop, Chicago Photograph by Jacob Bee, 2008

13 Firth of Forth, Nautical Map, National Library of Scotland

Photograph by Valerie Dempsey, 2008 14 Saltpans Installation by Ronald Boer

Slovenia, 2008 Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 16 Man Looking Out of Window by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, 2006

Courtesy of Cabinet Gallery, London 19 Café du Rêve, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Nantes, 1985 23 Field-Work, publication by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, 1971

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2009 24 Plane by Erin Gleason, Melissa MacRobert, Christine Wylie

Edinburgh College of Art Studios, Chicago, 2008 Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 26 Waterfront Sewage Works, Edinburgh

Photograph by Ronald Boer, 2008 31 The Endless Landscape, Playing Cards

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2009 32 The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2007 34 Fieldworker, Icefjord Tour Boat, Ilulissat, Greenland

Photograph by Julia Martin, 2008 41 Old Heliport, Ilulissat, Greenland

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 42 Little Barkers, Overland Monthly (April 1894)

Photograph by Melissa MacRobert, 2008 43 Postcard of Narwhal, collected by Knud Rasmussen, Greenland

Photograph by Melissa MacRobert, 2008 44 Arctic, Historical Map, Newberry Library, Chicago

Photograph by Julia Martin, 2008 45 Geometrical + Structural Crystallography

Joseph V. Smith (New York, 1982) Photograph by Christine Wylie, 2009 119


49 E.I.S. Camera, Kangia Icefjord, Greenland

Photograph by Jacob Bee, 2008 50 Art/Space/Nature Performance

Stromness Pier, Orkney, 2007 Photograph by Julia Martin, 2007 52 Yesnaby, Orkney

Photograph by Julia Martin, 2007 54 Performance by Erin Gleason

Piran, Slovenia, 2008 Photograph by Melissa MacRobert, 2008 56 Recording for We, Gatherers

Art/Space/Nature Exhibition Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 2008 Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 58 Sesshu Garden, Yamaguchi, Japan

Photograph by Alan Johnston, 2005 60 Prairie Bookshop, Chicago

Photograph by Julia Martin, 2008 62 Blackstone Bicycle Works, Experimental Station, Chicago

Photograph by ClĂŠmentine Deliss, 2008 64 Air Vent Fans, Cumbernauld Town Centre

Photograph by Christine Wylie, 2009 66 Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh

Photograph by Naomi Hennig, 2008 68 Cumbernauld Town Centre

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2009 70 Kangia Icefjord Performance by Melissa MacRobert

Greenland, 2008 Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 72 Sam Burns Scrapyard, Scotland

Photograph by Melissa MacRobert, 2007 74 The Dwarfie Stane, Orkney

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 76 Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Photograph by Christine Wylie, 2008 78 Arctic TV, Ilulissat, Greenland

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 80 Installation by Ronald Boer and Valerie Dempsey

South Harris, Scotland, 2009 Photograph by Ronald Boer, 2009 85 Sesshu Garden, Yamaguchi, Japan

Photograph by Alan Johnston, 2008

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86 Blau/Gelb/Weiss/Rot by Blinky Palermo

Edinburgh College of Art, 1970 Photograph by Richard Demarco Reprinted with kind permission of Richard Demarco 87 Joseph Beuys in Scotland

Photograph by Richard Demarco, 1970 Reprinted with kind permission of Richard Demarco 88 Map by Dan Peterman, Chicago

Photograph by Erin Gleason, 2008 94 61st Street Community Garden with South Campus Chiller Plant

and University of Chicago Steam Plant Photograph by Melissa MacRobert, 2008 96 Blackstone Bicycle Works, Experimental Station, Chicago

Photograph by Clémentine Deliss, 2008 98 Diagram by Art/Space/Nature and Christian Flamm

Randolph Cliff, Edinburgh, 2007 Photograph by Clémentine Deliss, 2007 105 Lychen Grafitti, Greenland

Photograph by Jacob Bee, 2008 106 Letterpress, Edinburgh College of Art

Photograph by Christine Wylie, 2009 108 Currency Exchange, N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

Photograph by Ronald Boer, 2008 116 Installation by Florian Graf

Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh, 2008 Photograph by Naomi Hennig, 2008 118 Stromness Museum, Orkney

Photograph by Valerie Dempsey, 2007

A/S/N Mutual Press has attempted to contact all copyright holders, but this has not been possible in all instances. We apologise for any omissions and, if noted, will amend in any future editions.

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REFERENCES Chris Anderson, The Long Tail, New York, 2006 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, New York, 1964 Stuart Bailey, Peter Bilak (ed.), Dot Dot Dot, Vol. 11–13, The Hague, 2005, 2006 JG Ballard, The Drought, London, 1965; The Voices of Time and Other Stories, New York, 1962; Crystal World, New York, 1988 John Berger, Ways of Seeing, London, 1972 Wafaa Bilal, Kari Lydersen, Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun, San Francisco, 2008 Eugen Blume, Catherine Nichols, Beuys. Die Revolution sind wir, Göttingen, 2008 Svetlana Boym, Architecture of the Off-Modern, Princeton, 2008 A. Bracker, M. Higgs, M. McGeown, G. Metzger, Marc Camille Chaimowicz Celebration? Real Life, Köln, 2005 Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Café du Rêve, London, 1985 Sarah Cook, Beryl Graham, Sarah Martin (eds.), Curating New Media, Gateshead, 2002 Peter Davidson, The Idea of North, London, 2005 Tacita Dean, Jeremy Millar, Place, London, 2005 Clémentine Deliss (ed.), Metronome No. 3, Tempolabor, Basel, 1998 Clémentine Deliss (ed.), Metronome No. 11, What is to be done?, Tokyo, 2007 Mark Dorrian, Gillian Rose (eds.), Deterritorialisations. Revisioning Landscapes and Politics, London, New York, 2003 Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, London, 1995 Carl Hagenbeck, Beasts and Men, London, 1909 Charles Harrison, Paul Wood (eds.), Art in Theory 1900–2000, An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford, 2002 Deborah Hauptmann, The Body in Architecture, Rotterdam, 2006 Derek Hayes, The Historical Atlas of the Arctic, Washington, 2003 Hannah Higgins, Fluxus Experience, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 2002 Nancy Holt (ed.), The Writings of Robert Smithson, New York, 1979 David Hume Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary, Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1903 Tim Ingold, Lines: A Brief History, London, 2007 Ivan Karp, Steven D. Lavine (eds.), Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, Washington, London, 1991 Daniel Kehlmann, Die Vermessung der Welt, Hamburg, 2008 Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums and Heritage, Berkeley, 1998 122


Joseph Kosuth, Art After Philosophy and After: Collected Writings 1966–90, Cambridge, Mass., 1991 Miwon Kwon, One Place after Another: Site-specificity and Locational Identity in Contemporary Art, Cambridge, Mass., 2002 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Cambridge, Mass., 1991 Lucy Lippard, Six Years. The Dematerialization of the Art Object, London, 1973 George E. Marcus, Fred R. Myers, Traffic in Culture: Reconfiguring Art and Anthropology, Berkeley, 1995 Mary Warner Marien, Photography. A Cultural History, London, 2002 Herman Melville, Moby Dick, or, The Whale, London, 1851 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, Evanston, 1975 Monocle, Vol 11–20, London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, 2007–9 Nina Muntmann, Yilmaz Dziewior (eds.), Mapping A City. Hamburg-Kartierung, Ostfildern, 2004 JR Packham, AJ Willis, Ecology of Dunes, Salt Marsh and Shingle, London, 1997 Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, Academy Editions, 1996 Paul Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, New York, 1984 Knud Rasmussen, Observations on the Intellectual Culture of the Caribou Eskimos, New York, 1976 Ann Morris Reynolds, Robert Smithson: Learning from New Jersey and Elsewhere, Cambridge, Mass., 2003 David Seamon, Arthur Zajonc, Goethe’s Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature, Albany, 1998 WG Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, London, 1998 Peter Sloterdijk, Sphären, Vol 1–3, Frankfurt, 1998 Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, New Haven, 1977 D’Arcy Thompson, On Growth and Form, Vol 1–2, Cambridge, 1968 Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Boston, 1882 Christopher Tilley, A Phenomenology of Landscape: Places, Paths and Monuments, Oxford, 1994; Annelys de Vet, Subjective Atlas of Palestine, Rotterdam, 2007 Ruth Vollmer, 1961–1978 Thinking the Line, Ostfildern, 2006 Volker M. Welter, Biopolis. Patrick Geddes and the City of Life, Cambridge, Mass., 2002 Kenneth White, The Blue Road, Edinburgh, 1990 Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, 1888 Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, London, New York, 2002 123


CONTRIBUTORS Jacob Bee Artist Based in Edinburgh Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 jakewbee @ yahoo.co.uk Ronald Boer Artist and Landscape Architect Based in Edinburgh and Amsterdam Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 ronaldboer.wordpress.com Marc Camille Chaimowicz Artist Based in London and Dijon cabinet.uk.com Dr. Clémentine Deliss Metronome, Future Academy, and Randolph Cliff Edinburgh College of Art Based in Edinburgh and London metronomepress.com, futureacademy.info Valerie Dempsey Artist Based in Edinburgh Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 dempseyvalerie @ yahoo.co.uk Erin Gleason Artist and Designer Based in Edinburgh and New York Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 eringleason.com Florian Graf Artist and Architect Based in London, Chicago and Basel Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 floriangraf.ch Naomi Hennig Artist and Graphic Designer Based in Berlin and Hamburg Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 naomihennig.com Eelco Hooftman Gross.Max. Landscape Architects Co-Initiator of Art/Space/Nature Edinburgh College of Art Based in Edinburgh grossmax.com 124


Prof. Tim Ingold Anthropologist Chair of Social Anthropology University of Aberdeen Based in Aberdeen abdn.ac.uk/anthropology Prof. Alan Johnston Artist Co-Initiator of Art/Space/Nature Edinburgh College of Art Based in Edinburgh northernmirror.com Joseph Kosuth Artist Based in Rome and New York skny.com Melissa MacRobert Artist Based in Edinburgh and Glasgow Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 melmacrobert @ hotmail.com Sanna Marander Artist Based in Rome and New York Julia Martin Artist and Landscape Architect Co-ordinator of Art/Space/Nature Edinburgh College of Art Based in Edinburgh, London and Berlin julamir @ hotmail.com Dr. Martin Parker Sound Artist and Composer University of Edinburgh Based in Edinburgh tinpark.com Dan Peterman Artist Initiator of Experimental Station, Chicago Based in Chicago experimentalstation.org Christine Wylie Artist Based in Edinburgh Art/Space/Nature 2007–2009 christinewylie @ yahoo.co.uk 125


Edited and Co-Produced by Jacob Bee Ronald Boer Valerie Dempsey Erin Gleason Florian Graf Naomi Hennig Melissa MacRobert Julia Martin Christine Wylie Consulting Editor Dr. ClÊmentine Deliss Designed by Art/Space/Nature 2009 Dust jacket printed on letterpress at Edinburgh College of Art Edition 1000 of which 100 signed and numbered Printed by Allander Print Ltd 4 East Telferton Edinburgh EH7 6XD allander.com Published by A/S/N Mutual Press With the generous support of Edinburgh College of Art Allander Print Ltd With thanks to Stuart Bailey Simon Popper Steve McDonald Š The Artists, Writers & A/S/N Mutual Press Edinburgh 2009 eca.ac.uk asnse.eca.ac.uk ISBN 978-1-904443-34-6


JACOB BEE RONALD BOER MARC CAMILLE CHAIMOWICZ CLÉMENTINE DELISS VALERIE DEMPSEY ERIN GLEASON FLORIAN GRAF NAOMI HENNIG EELCO HOOFTMAN TIM INGOLD ALAN JOHNSTON JOSEPH KOSUTH MELISSA MACROBERT SANNA MARANDER JULIA MARTIN MARTIN PARKER DAN PETERMAN CHRISTINE WYLIE


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