public: DEEP TIME Encounters - violence (1)

So early last week I presented a 'paper' at a conference held at the University Edinburgh by the Environmental Humanities area. Conference title being: 'Unexpected encounters with Deep time: Violence

I was initially drawn to the title because of its reference to deep time (a concept referring to 'geological time' which spans vast time spans and coined by Scottish geologist James Hutton 1726-1797). It is a theme which has in various ways made its way into my work particularly over the past few years. In saying that, I dabbled in it without really knowing about it in an older series of works called 'Excavated Realities' which I exhibited back in 2010 shown below. The previous blog post about the work in detail can be read here.

Back to the conference- as it was an academic 'presenting a paper' type format, I thought I would simply exhibit in the conference space a set of sculptural works which I exhibited in Spring 2015 (see below) as it seemed to fit perfectly with the theme. The piece was looking at future histories of our archeologies and the possible geological remnants that might be discovered and archived from our current 'plastic-ized' age.

“25. Anthropocene fragments (1950-2020 AD)”, plaster, soil, acrylic, plastic found objects    
In relation to the theme of deep time and violence, I was thinking about material violence as a result of the collision of different materials as well as with other factors such as heat and pressure to form new materials over lengthy geologic time ages- eg organic material to form oil which is then extracted and transfigured to become plastic. All taking place over billions of years. 

However, simply exhibiting a previous piece would be too easy! The conference organisers then suggested in addition to the sculptures, to propose a piece of work which I could 'present' in the 20m slots. So I then got to work to quickly put together an abstract (so that I could formally submit my proposal) and found out a week later that I managed to get a slot! I then thought, yikes got to get to work and make a piece! 

I guess what this blog post is mainly about (asides the piece itself) is presenting your ideas within alternative formats and spaces where this notion extends beyond the physical space pertinent to a specialism to 'invading' other frames/spaces of other specialisms. In this case is proposing & presenting artworks in a traditional academic space e.g. a conference which has been set up solely with written papers in mind and a non-art sphere. 

Blurring boundaries has always been part of my interest - if theres a line you just have to cross it. It started out with mediums themselves for instance crossing painting over into printmaking, sculpture into printmaking and then it extended to specialisms themselves where I worked crossing art and science working with the algae scientists. 

As well as sharing my work within gallery spaces or 'art' spaces within alternative venues, I am also interested in sharing my ideas within other organised communal spheres which in the academic world are based around conferences and symposiums etc. These so called spheres have particular frames, formats and processes  e.g the 'call for papers' for a conference - the 'CFP'. Many of these formats have expanded in order to accommodate other types of formats such poster presentations (shorter papers) in order to showcase more interdisciplinary works which are not necessarily based around the academic 'word'. However the format in this case was a series of 20m slots  organised into 3 'panels' of similar themes to essentially present your paper. My presentation fell under the 'Geo-speculations' panel. 

Asides this, you are also in a way restricted by the 'venue' - many conferences are held in big lecture theatres or in a large seminar room or teaching space. This often means you can't get to 'install' in the space days prior unless it has been booked by the conference organisers for a good period of time. Usually these spaces are chargeable and in heavy demand so this is unlikely. This is unlike a gallery space where you might have the space for say 7 days and can install (normally!) days prior to opening.

Interestingly, in this case the venue got changed the day before!

You are also potentially restricted by equipment availability etc. Though there is the possibility of renting out equipment but with my limited knowledge of technical aspects, no car and budget I had to make do with what I had and these venues just have the basics of computer/speakers and projector - hopefully all functioning!

Keeping this all is mind, I then got to work! 

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