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Publication Detail
Towards a fractured topography of the present: art, ecology and the political economy of speed
  • Publication Type:
    Thesis/Dissertation
  • Authors:
    Curran FG
  • Date awarded:
    2016
  • Supervisors:
    Sleeman J,Rawes M,Davies P
  • Awarding institution:
    University College London
  • Date Submitted:
    01/01/2016
  • Keywords:
    environmental art, ecology, politics of technology, landscape
  • Addresses:
    University College London
    Slade School of Fine Art
    Gower Street
    London
    WC1E 6BT
    United Kingdom
Abstract
This research examines landscape, explored within my own practice and within visual art practices since the 1960s, as sight (representation/mediation) and site (material). The aim of the research is to contribute to enriched ecological ontologies that further the development of a spatialised ecological politics. Two interlinked questions guide the research: 1) How can a situated art practice contribute an alternative aesthetic and material approach to contemporary debates on the environmental impact of new technologies? 2) Can landscape, as representation and material within art, offer critical significance in examining conditions of power in late capitalism? Adopting a transdisciplinary theoretical methodology rooted in the studio practice of assemblage the research focuses on spatial and temporal imaginings that enable alternative social-aesthetic-material formations to emerge. The chapters are organised around a series of landscape tropes - Tropical, Desert, Glacial and Atmosphere – each exploring the movements between the material and metaphorical meanings of space. The speculative fictions of J.G.Ballard are deployed alongside Paul Virilio’s concepts of “grey” ecology and “dromospheric pollution,” extending ecological debates to include the temporal and planetary impacts of new technologies. The thesis proposes that thinking “grey” ecology with and through visual art practices allows new spatial and material imaginaries to form. These newly assembled landscapes operate along a natural-technological continuum, able to incorporate the radically artificial environment that has emerged into visibility in the Anthropocene. The research argues that attending to the visual-material dialectic of landscape as sight/site reveals a situated geopolitics of knowledge production that is essential to the shaping of any post-anthropocentric ecological politics. Speculative spatial and temporal imaginaries are re-tethered to political possibilities for the human through acknowledgement of shared environments that are more-than human.
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