Amphibious Trilogies

Passaging

In the Amphibious Trilogies project, passage has been taken up a metaphor for different experiences, conditions and encounters, journeys and emergences that are connected to movement out in the world and ways our worlds move and in so doing shape us. Central to these forms and formulations is interest in the artistic and poetic playing out of way finding and design-artistic-communicative-performative relations of becoming. By this we mean movement in and as and about relational co-creative and emergent ontology.

Here we might rather be saying passaging than passage. The meanderings, unfoldings, swerves and surfacings that have been part of engaging experientially and analytically in moving in and through and with key societal issues and phenomena and their forces and weightings in the second decade of the 21st century. We work in times and conditions and changing environments and values where a climate emergency, human migration propelled by war and economic need. We are entangled in researching movement artistically and via poetics in a world where aspirations and certainties are undermined by an ethos of uncertainty. We try to shift or work beyond spaces and settings where expectations and trust are often bridled with dissolution and deception.

How then are we to set out into the world together and alone as a project team and embroil ourselves in experiences and settings where the ice is literally shifting beneath our feet – as much as metaphorically, psychologically and affectively. What are the poetics of such endeavours? How might they be understood as performative acts of inquiry while remaining creative and even prospective offerings for others? Where might we travel and land and wait and dwell? How would out diverse backgrounds and experience and expertise meld and shear apart? In what ways might they challenge us and enrich our understanding and pursuits?Might we notice and elaborate on their ‘arrivals’, those we aspire to and those slipping through into different and unexpected rhymes, rhythms and routes?

We work in a moving mesh of artistic practice and its related critical experimentation and enunciation. We address the psychological and anthropological, the discursive and the performative, the mediational and non-representational, historical and future facing.

Passage. Rite of passage. A transition, a cultural threshold, a piece of text, a narrow straight, even a funnel, another piece of text, the process of writing, acts of composing, simply having gone through something together, a transit, a transition, a conveyance, travelling through time and space, a course of events, but also the interchange of experience and events, less dispute and altercation or the passage of arms, but a passing through, or a crossing, across terrain and territory but also concepts and ideas, from separation to limnality and ceremony and alteration and reconstitution. To see how much movement is implicit in artistic, professional, academic and dictionary definitions, to be surprised that there is so little explicit mention of the sanguinity of movement, of a lexicography of kinesis.

The word ‘passaging’ we meet rather rarely. A Google search returns ‘to passage subcultures of cells’. These are minutes and day and months and times, long futures too, while our bodies and minds, histories and aspirations are entangled in the Anthropocene of the now as we too drift along in the debris of our contributions, ice melting, waters rising, wealth concentrating, conflicts proliferating. We move in the present, increasingly aware we tilt towards tomorrow, on terms we partly understand and direct, swirls of information and anxieties alongside the insistent pressures of the present to survive and to find ways to move together creatively and even responsibly.

To open out and go within and through a passaging, that gerund or present participle being all about anticipation. Not only to take care ahead of time, in its medieval European sense. But to take care to move and to find out how it too is a central part of sustainable, vibrant and fantastic futures. Where artistic performativity, design co-creativity and social ‘accounting’ and critique also move alongside one another, now connected, then entangled, unfurled and projected, deeply questioned and joyfully addressed.

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