Friday, February 26, 2016

After the Ph.D; working in the third movement of "Blued Trees"

Gaining a Ph.D late in any artists career is controversial.  Those who think an artists task is to present the visual evidence and then step back, take exception to all those words, all those hours of research about content. I have always argued that an artist's research work at the Ph.D level becomes a more complicated process than routine studio research, and in the Anthropocene era, art should be more complicated.

Last weekend, I was in Zurich for a reunion of sorts, with the cohorts who had gained Ph.D's from the Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium, initiated by Roy Ascott at Plymouth University, UK. The occasion was the presentation of Models of Diversity at the ETH, and the Zurich University of the Arts, where we had convened under the supervision of Dr. Angelika Scott, my first supervisor, and Dr. Jill Scott, my second supervisor, who started that program in 2005. It was the end of a unique integration of environmental sciences, technology and studio art.

The work of mine that was shown for the exhibition was from a 2007 group show, "Called to Action," curated by Lillian Ball. The view and details below, are from an installation visualization of trigger point theory,  which became my dissertation topic (Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism). That theory inspired the website, and led to Blued Trees.

"Trigger Point/ Tipping Points," work in installation in "Models of Diversity", 2016
This was the first full installation of the complete work, Painting and drawing on paper with photography300 cm x 200 cm
This work compared several sites in the Gulf of Maine to a site in Riverhead, NY, the location of the gallery, and the changes over ten years of time to the Ghost Nets site.

Installation detail 1 These details just compare two sections of the Ghost Nets site, the wetlands is the process of restoration, and the uplands riparian zone in 1997, and then ten years later, with the schematic analysis of the project sphere of affect from the nucleation process of the trigger points.

Detail 2 of "Trigger Points/ Tipping Points" installation. This is a detail shot of how one coastal city could effect an impact on a wider ecosystem on land and for marine life.

As part pf the conference that was part of the event, "Grounded Visions," I presented a PPT, that tracked how my theoretical work, which began before doing the Ph.D, culminated in Blued Trees, after completing my research.

Slide from conference presentation of Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism, to Blued Trees presented at ETH
Feb. 19, 2016 for the "Models of Diversity," conference. In this slide, I explained the role of law in effecting trigger point theory to stop fossil fuel proliferation, and made the relationship between the rules of law, the incidence of chemical discharge in Newtown Creek, and corollaries to musical systems in Blued Trees.

I am now into the third movement of Blued Trees. It will continue until the summer solstice anniversary of the launch of the overture. In considering the copyright aspect of the project, I am focusing now on the the implications of the term, droit morale, which literally means, moral rights. Originating in the French Revolution, the term means the spiritual value of the artwork has inalienable rights. That concept is the basis for all copyright law. The difference between approaching

Trigger Point Theory before and after the Ph.D work, is that I can now frame my questions on multiple layers, with formal parameters that are far more sophisticated, leading towards more complex questions. The original idea, was that there are small geographical points, physically located, whose restoration might effect a larger systemic healing to degraded ecosystems.

I think the same skills that might have accomplished that physical identification of trigger points, has become a model to identify more complex points of intervention, such as the legal points in Blued Trees. I can now ask, "what has happened to the moral-spiritual value of artmaking?" and it's corollary, "what relationship might there be, in the Anthropocene era, between making art, and the moral basis of justice?" Could droit morale be a key to that answer?

1 comment:

  1. This is an exquisite entry and your work is moving my mind in a new direction that supports the complexity of my own art making and research trajectory within my Resilience Aesthetics Theory. Art content is critical to art surviving what many still believe is only on an easel. Your work inspires much more and with more urgency. And yes, visually is stunning. Thank you.