Audiovisual installation as ecological performativity: A creative research practice.
Connors, T. M. (2017). Audiovisual installation as ecological performativity: A creative research practice. (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12825
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12825
Audiovisual Installation as Ecological Performativity lies in the fields of sonic arts and audiovisual practice, which experiment with developing non-linear installations from a temporally dynamic aesthetic. The project was initiated by my recent shift in artistic practice away from fixed-media audiovisual formats to non-linear procedures and by recent ecological discourses of human and nonhuman agency. The research aims to locate an ecology of practice that, rather than being autonomous and reductive, is directly affected by the specificity and proximity of connections made in practice and process on a relational level. The submitted non-linear installations resulted from three field recording projects carried out between June 2014 and December 2015, spanning the west coast of North America from the Salton Sea in Southern California, to the northern regions of western Canada. From initial processes with practitioners from the fields of moving image, my iterative creative practice developed and applied computational methods to tease out co-creative apparatuses from the audiovisual material gathered. These techniques came to include convolution, data sonification, computer vision and improvisation as a means to explore nonlinear processes. Barry Truax, Damian Keller, R. Luke Dubois, Andrea Polli and Jean-Marc Pelletier provided useful insights to contemplate these computational processes as co-creative devices. The work Undercurrent incorporates material gathered from the Y alakom River in British Columbia, Canada, using visual material by media artist Shannon Harris. The remaining works-Flight Variant, Cathedral and Piano at the End of a Poisoned Stream-emerged from two audiovisual collection journeys through the south-western regions of the United States with filmmaker Andrew Denton. My research was guided by the belief that non-linear creative processes exploring co-creative devices from the agency of material can elicit different sensibilities and lines of communication, providing an alternative way in which to be in creative practice and experience the world-one that is emergent, contingent and performative. Thus my project was drawn to concepts of material agency and performativity in the writings of Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Andrew Pickering, and Timothy Morton. In addition, the philosophical provocations of Timothy Ingold, Erin Manning, Brian Massumi, Isabelle Stengers, and Thon Van Dooren were enlisted to locate my ecology of practice in a relational mode of experience that emphasized an ecological awareness. From the position of creative research, attention to these theoretical discourses provided an opportunity to reconceptualise and ask new questions from the core of artistic practice. The result evolved into what I have come to call Ecological Performativity. This is a mode of practice that considers-in act and thought-the context and formative creative process, and the resulting artefacts, as a responsive embodiment of larger structures of phenomena. The outcome is a reorientation of my creative thinking-making procedures. The notion of creativity shifts from an anthropocentric understanding to a relational and performative ontology where the interactions between people, places and things constitute a dynamic mode of artistic practice. Ultimately, my practice-based research is a multimodal endeavour deeply entangled in the mesh of the world: matter, materials, and modes of thinking. In line with the discussions on agency and performativity, this research considers the complex, emergent and dynamic encounters available through situated experience and experimentation. By considering the world as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent, the result is a performative engagement and attunement with the world that functions as an aid to the imagination. Human activity is placed into a larger environmental context as it intersects with forces greater than those of human design, providing a multilayered point of creative enquiry. This, I believe, works towards an artistic philosophy that purposes the way we imagine the world and how we act in it reciprocally inform one another. As such, the concept of Ecological Performativity developed alongside the iterative creative practice. The creative and written components of this dissertation are two expressions of the practice, process and outcome and should be considered holistically. Documentation films and the creative code accompany all resulting artefacts, and are located on the external flash drive as indicated in the Appendix. Aspects of my research have been published internationally during the course of my research.
The University of Waikato
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Appendix DVD discs available with the print copy of this thesis, held at the University of Waikato Library.
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