The 'video polyptych' : an aesthetic approach to the visual representation of climate change
As a filmmaker I struggled with whether documentary, reliant as it is on ‘visible evidence’, could explore climate change, a process that is (so far) largely imperceptible to our senses? A process in which effects are displaced from their causes in both time & space? My PhD looks for a new aesthetic approach via moving image art. I am drawn to Svalbard by the sheer spatiotemporal proximity of the causes and effects. Remnants and continuations of a fossil-fuelled extractivist history sit cheek-by-jowl with retreating glaciers, disappearing sea-ice and melting permafrost. We even find traces of (abortive) geoengineering experiments. It is this proximity — richly laden with paradox — that draws me to reinvent a particular form from art history: the polyptych. In the hands of artists like Hieronymus Bosch these multi-panelled paintings were able to bring together here/there, past/present/future, cause/effect in aesthetic reconceptualisations of hyperobjects which occupied spatiotemporal dimensions beyond everyday human perception. In my video work, Svalbard — practically a showcase of the Anthropocene — becomes the ultimate Boschian landscape, providing the perfect site for my practise-led research thesis.
Planned fieldwork periods:
January-March 2020 (exhibition at Galleri Svalbard)
January-March 2020 (exhibition at Galleri Svalbard: )