Doctoral and Post Doctoral Research (not in chronological order)
PhD exhibition at Grizedale, April-June 2014
Edwina completed her AHRC funded collaborative practice based PhD in 2014. Studying part time, she worked with Glasgow School of Art and the Forestry Commission at Grizedale in the English Lake District, to explore Artists’ geographies of the landscape-archive: trace, loss and the impulse to preserve in the Anthropocene Age.
Her starting point was that the landscape is a cultural archive, because in the Anthropocene Age the planet bears permanent geological traces of our activities – through the effects of climate change – which are superimposed on the modifications made to the planet's surface by humans over the millennia. Hence the term ‘landscape-archive’. However, in the 21st century climate change may cause loss to habitats and biodiversity, which is why loss and the impulse to preserve have become critical.
The art archive’s purpose is also to preserve histories and activities, which reflect an aspect of our culture. Part of Edwina’s remit was to create an archive of the temporary sited work at Grizedale Forest since 1977. Once again, loss and the impulse to preserve are central to the enquiry. Her aim was to create new insights into how artists can positively contribute to our understanding of the landscape-archive, and they might operate as artist-archivists themselves. Please see the images of the exhibition showing the practice based findings opposite.
This practice-based research involved a series of experiments. For full information about this project see:
eSharp online Journal. Issue 20: New Horizons. May 2013
Into the Unknown: Navigating Spaces, Terra Incognita and the Art Archive
This paper is a navigation across time and space – travelling from 16th century colonial world maps which marked unknown territories as Terra Incognita, via 18th century cabinets of curiosities; to the unknown spaces of the Anthropocene Age, in which for the first time we humans are making a permanent geological record on the earth’s ecosystems. This includes climate change.
The recurring theme is loss and becoming lost. I investigate what happens when someone who is lost attempts to navigate and find parallels between Terra Incognita and the art archive, and explore the points where mapping, archiving and collecting intersect. Once something is perceived to be at risk, the fear of loss and the impulse to preserve emerges. I investigate why in the Anthropocene Age we have a stronger impulse to the archive and look to the past, rather than face the unknowable effects of climate change. This is counterpointed by artists, whose hybrids practices engage with re-imaging and re-imagining today’s world, thereby moving us forward into the unknown. ‘Becoming’ is therefore another central theme.
The art archive is explored from multiple perspectives – as an artist, an art archive user and an archivist – noting that the subject, the consumer and the archivist all have very differing agendas. I question who uses physical archives today and how we can retain our sense of curiosity. I conclude with a link to an interactive artwork, which visualises, synthesises and expands this research (See Prezi on the right)
Key words: Art Archives, Terra Incognita, Climate Change, Anthropocene Age, Cabinets of Curiosities
Post Doctoral Research and Outcomes
Bright Light Journal. Issue 1: Implicit Geographies. 2014
Translocation and Witness in the Anthropocene Age
This paper explores how the landscape operates as an archive in the Anthropocene Age, which is so called because human beings have left a permanent geological trace on the planet. It initially explores this landscape-archive through the lens of colonial dislocation of both flora and fauna, and then moves to contemporary artists who engage with translocating organic materials to raise awareness about climate change, through asking the viewer to be witness to that object.
Global geographies been subject to colonial translocation for centuries. Flora and fauna have been moved across continents and geographic topographies have been replicated for both economic and nostalgic purposes. This literal and metaphorical uprooting of objects from the ‘natural’ world has led to the Wunderkammer, the Cabinet of Curiosities and more recently, the natural history museum. All of which mediate our (mis) understandings of these objects, and the biodiversity that they were taken from.
The contemporary artists discussed include Tania Kovats, Angela Palmer and Bryndis Snaebjornsdottir & Mark Wilson. Rather than simply displacing objects, their translocations raise sophisticated questions about these historical clichés. They interrogate how we engage with and witness difficult issues such as the effects of climate change, questioning what we need to preserve and remember in the Anthropocene Age.
Key words: climate change, witness, Anthropocene Age, translocation
The geographer Kathryn Yusoff has posed a timely question. ‘What knowledge becomes useful to us in a time of abrupt climate change? How can we creatively practice towards such uncertainty?’
The Colloquium explored how artists both practice, and practise in uncertainty. It focused on how we might create and present artworks which investigate cultural (mis)understandings about biodiversity, landscape or site. This included how audiences might engage with the actual artworks.
This was the first event to take place between the Graduate Schools of CCW and Glasgow School of Art. It was manifested through live links between London and Glasgow; and the artists speaking include Heather Ackroyd (Ackroyd & Harvey), Justin Carter, David Cross (Cornford and Cross), Edwina fitzPatrick, Tania Kovats, and Mark Wilson (Snaebjornsdottir & Wilson).
Practising (in) Uncertainty Colloquium, May 2014
The PhD paper was published through Lambert Press in December 2014. It is available from Amazon.
Artists' geographies of the landscape-archive. December 2014.
CCW research and public walking tour. March 2015
Wilding the Edges
There has been a plethora of interest in psycho geography over the last 6 years, which has crossed from popular literature into the art domain. The following best selling authors write about the landscape from a personal and itinerant perspective, yet are regularly being referenced by postgraduate students and researchers: George Monbiot, Paul Kingsnorth, Rebecca Solnit. Paul Shepheard, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
They discuss how we are engaging with landscape as culture – specifically where the ‘wild’ and the ‘cultivated’ environments overlap, and this resonated with us. We analysed the social and political implications of these hybridised spaces and explored the distinctions between disregard and allowing environments to follow their own course. How proactive should we be in regards to both the landscape and the city?
Wilding the Edges was an interactive walking tour around the little known areas of Wimbledon exploring the 'unexamined places that thrive on disregard' (Farley & Symmons Roberts) which straddle the city and the countryside. It was followed by a BarCamp taking the themes encounter, experience and enchantment as starting points for a subsequent exhibition at Wimbledon.
The tour guides were Paul Kingsnorth (writer and co-founder of Dark Mountain), Nick Edwards (Cape Farewell), Lucy Orta (artist) and David Toop (artist and writer).
It was co-convened with Geraint Evans
Curation of exhibition at the Wimbledon Space Gallery. November 2015
Larsen's Lost Water
The Larsen’s Lost Water exhibition features work by Ackroyd & Harvey, Lucy Orta, Tania Kovats, and Snaebjornsdottir & Wilson, and take place in both the main reception area and the Wimbledon Space gallery. It also features Fine Art students from Wimbledon College of Art.
Why this title? Antarctica’s Larsen Ice Shelf lies between the Bellingshausen, Weddell and Scotia Seas. It also forms a barrier between the Southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. As a result of unprecedented global warming, the B part of the Larsen shelf dramatically fell into the Weddell Sea in 2002. What has happened to this melted water? Has it reached the Arctic yet?
The exhibition focuses on the ways that the relatively uncharted parts of the globe – the polar regions and the seas – are (mis) represented, through exploring context and how introducing an alien or unexpected object into a space affects both components’ readings.
Larsen’s Lost Water coincides with the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris. Larsen B’s demise was watched from on high by satellites – the images being relayed around the world. However, as few of us have visited the polar regions, these images are remote and abstracted. The exhibition is an exercise in translocation, seeking to play with the dislocated object as cliché, metaphor and metonym in relation to climate change, about how the polar regions are no longer blinding white wildernesses but metaphors for fragility.
CCW Year of Resilience walking event. July 2016
Getting Real: Interactive fieldwork
Getting Real: Interactive Fieldwork followed on from the Wilding the Edges walking tour. It explores what happens when research and teaching take place outside the academic institution through engaging with proximity, and thereby creating spaces for empathy. Taking ‘fieldwork’ - an established research methodology, wherein the researcher leaves their (enclosed) laboratory to deepen their understanding of their subject at first hand as its starting point; Getting Real asks why do we spend so much time teaching within the art college, when much of the work produced there references the places and spaces beyond it? We call this ‘interactive fieldwork’.
Getting Real’s aim is to create a non–hierarchical shared environment, where recently graduated students, academics and technicians can connect and spent a few hours together outside college.The walking tour aims to support innovative thinking about how we can be resilient in our personal, creative and professional lives. This will hopefully trickle into what we do next academic year.
The day-long event is led by artists Ackroyd and Harvey.
MIRAJ Journal July 2022
Artists Kicking Back: Brief Metaphors for the Birds and Bees
This 6000-word paper applies principles from Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies publication (2008) and New Formations article (1989) to three specific artist’s video works:
Jordan Baseman’s Fabula (2020) – Mental Ecology (human subjectivity in relation to Covid)
Jaki Irvine’s In A World Like This (2006) – Social Ecology (cross-species interaction).
Edwina fitzPatrick’s Biostrata: After Von Humboldt (2019) – Environmental Ecology (in a decolonized post-Enlightenment world)
As time is running out for many species, including humans, it ponders what The Three Ecologies might look like today and in the future. It discusses how time-based practices might rupture, disrupt and re-shape our engagement with difficult subjects such as diminishing biodiversity, climate change, unethical land management, including colonialism and the depletion of natural habitats. Guattari states that events such as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and AIDS were nature “kicking back”.
Given that we now live in the Anthropocene Age, which is to say that for first time in this planet’s history humans are leaving a permanent geological trace on the planet, the selected video works inevitably engage with Guattari’s Environmental Ecology and human subjectivity. How can artists “kick back” against these issues? What moving images have the agency to engage with, rather than alienate the increasingly media-savvy viewer? It will also offer potential strategies that moving-image artists might use to create new Environmental Ecologies through re-thinking dominant and habitual disciplinary knowledges about narrative, duration, repetition, fragmentation andimmersion.
What unifies Artists Kicking Back: Brief Metaphors for the Birds and the Bees is that all artworks feature key indicator species of biodiversity at risk – insects and birds – which often elude the human attention. Insect and bird ecologies are deeply intertwined as many birds predate on insects.