In this blog entry I wish to give informative details about my Arts Council funded project and to clarify the direction my research and thinking is going in so far.
As a part of my research project I am doing an artist’s residency at Scotswood Community Gardens (SNCG) in Newcastle. SNCG was established nearly 20 years ago and it was designed as a permaculture forest garden on a two-acre site. There are orchards, wild flower meadows, woodland, several ponds and vegetable plots. I have been a regular visitor to the gardens for over 5 years now, and during the last few months I have been venturing around the garden guided by my artistic agenda. I am there to gather images, videos and thoughts; collecting material towards the final art products and towards a workshop which I will run in the garden with the existing youth group.
My initial research premise is an exploration of how mythology is created from our relationship with the landscape/nature and how those mythologies can be informed and addressed by modern scientific and philosophical understanding of the world. At the core of this research idea is a deep ecological and political conviction that what is wrong now in the current environmental crisis is a lack of a meaningful relationship with the natural environment.
These last couple of weeks have seen a clarity in my thinking as to how the research will relate to a production of a body of art work. My time working in SNCG and reading such books as “Myth and Philospohy” by L.J. Hatab, Nick Lane’s ” Life Ascending” and Daniel Chamovitz’s ” What a Plant Knows” has set me thinking about links between permaculture and evolution and how these might be portrayed in a mythopoeic way.
On the one hand, I have been thinking about key ideas of Permaculture that leads to the creation of a sustainable, agriculturally productive environment; an edible ecosystem. On the other hand, I have been drawn to the “great achievements of evolution” as put forward by Nick Lane, namely : photosynthesis and to the third kingdom of fungi and their reproduction system. I am particularly interested in the fact that photosynthesis is a driving force of evolution and that it enables living organisms to create their own food. In contrast to this I am fascinated by the opportunistic and symbiotic fungi; their significant role in ecosystems and their complex reproductive system.
Within eclectic scientific and philosophical ideas I see the possibilities of a mythopoeic art landscape; a complex poetic narrative.
My project will culminate in an exhibition at Newbridge Project Gallery in Febuary. The exhibition will be curated by Arts Territory, from London. I will also produce a publication.
Images, thoughts and sketches from my work in progress to follow (daily!).