Art as Environmental Inquiry: Collaborative and Technologically Driven Approaches

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Abstract / Description of output

As forms of critical exploration, art works are often inspired by the rigours and questioning of scientific inquiry, while retaining art’s traditional concern for creative freedom. As such, they position creative imagining, intuition, and subjectivity not only as parallel and complementary to scientific objectivity, but arguably essential to the concerns of landscape research. If anything, they are effective at illuminating the complex knot of collaborative and technologically driven approaches.

Through laboratory-style and field-based experiments, the work of two art practices, Collins-Goto and London Fieldworks, explore the technological simulation of natural phenomena. Their projects encompass collaboration, testing, and revealing. Using long-term systematic investigation, they illuminate how environmental interpretation is contingent, requiring time and study.

In Eden3, Collins-Goto worked with scientists, computer programmers and musicians to customise a portable monitoring station Plein Air that combined the traditional artist’s easel with digital sensors and transmitters. Eden3 operates as a mobile laboratory that reveals the biogenic interaction of trees within the atmospheric chemistry of cities. While informing their on-going inquiry into empathetic human/nature relationships, the information gained provides a platform by which to engage environmental planners and policy makers in leveraging change in land management and urban development.
London Fieldworks have incorporated smart materials, brain imaging software, industrial robotics, and biomonitors in their projects. Early works, such as Syzgy (1999), Polaria (2002) and Little Earth (2005), explored the subjective gap between scientific observation and natural phenomena, using technology to reveal processes of natural and human physiology. More recently, Outlandia, an off-grid architectural hut set in a remote forest, utilised satellite broadband technology to produce Remote Performances (2014), a work that highlighted local aural and linguistic traditions as forms of environmental knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2015
EventECLAS Annual Conference 2015 - Tartu, Estonia: Landscapes in Flux - Tartu, Estonia
Duration: 21 Sept 201524 Sept 2015


ConferenceECLAS Annual Conference 2015 - Tartu, Estonia
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