Coding Movement in Landscape: Form and Language Development Through Embodied Exploartion Without Vision: Allegory, Citation, and Robert Smithson’s Picturesque.
All the clear ideas of what had been done melted into perceptual puddles, causing the brain to gurgle thoughts. Walking conditioned sight, and sight conditioned walking, till it seemed like only the feet could see. Robert Smithson, 1969.
This project is a fine-art (practice-led) exploration of non-visual embodied thought. My paper aims to interrogate the intersection between perception and analysis, asking how an environment might be experienced, its data indexed, scrutinised, and interpreted, in the absence of an ability to verify that information with the eyes. Under these conditions the explorer’s role as both recorder and archiver of sensory information is exponentially heightened, foregrounding the extent to which a language can be said to adequately represent what is felt, heard, smelt, tasted, grasped as the constitutive components of a present tense reality.
Via a comparison of practices founded on citation and in relation to Robert Smithson’s picturesque, I aim to re-contextualise the experience of an environment as an intersection between the language used to describe that environment and our experience within it. I aim to evidence, that rather than preventing a full appreciation of lived space, navigating without vision enables a more acute understanding of the ways in which language rewrites or conditions representation (in the broadest sense), in the moment of its occurrence.
Whilst developing this research I will be drawing on the experience of individuals with sight-loss through a series of workshops designed to generate dialogue around the intersection of language and navigation.
My research is made possible through the generous support of the AHC Doctoral Scholarship.
- MFA Fine Art (Painting), Slade School of Art, London, 2007-2009
- BA Fine Art (Painting), Wimbledon School of Art, 2001-2004