Amphibious Trilogies

Rhizome, nexus and vector

Referring to publications in art research and public art (by Mika Hannula and Miwon Kwon), Slager (2015: 61-62) in a chapter entitled ‘Context responsive research’ points to a shift towards narrative as making places and site leaving its specificity of context to become a discursive artifact in and of itself. He points to Merleau Ponty’s notion of the viewer being engaged via a mode of a ‘phenomenological vector’ (entailing being grounded, fixed and actual), ‘… seems to have been definitively replaced by three completely different basic components of ungrounded, fluid and virtual’ (Slager 2015: 61).

In Amphibious Trilogies we have met such a shift in the very character and engagement of an extended choreography out in the world where our original notion of amphibious has been very much about these three components as we have explored them in the themes of island, pond and passage.

ISLAND may be partly positioned as concerned with ‘territory’ but following Deleuze, we are concerned with acts of deterritorializing knowledge through practice and reflection centred on transdisciplinary artistic inquiry. Thus territory becomes ‘ungrounded’, to refer to Slager. This is so in the sense that its public character as practice based inquiry is connected to a diversity of sites but that these extend beyond the mapping of fixed spaces and forms in their being between land and sea and due to their archipelago and ‘rhizome’ like qualities and relations. 

The theme of POND may be seen to be centred on the notion of site and thus ways public gatherings, for personal and group processes, may be situated. However, ponds are both calm and centre us around an expanse of water; they may also be stagnant and unappealing.  However, for us ponds are above all liquid, situated in the ground but in effect inserts and receptacles within the physical landscape. They draw us into a different materiality and may often allow us to see its boundaries, where shores and expanses of water are metaphorically bound. They function as a ‘nexus’, literal and figurative, less site, more venue for processes of becoming and transformation.

Our selected theme PASSAGE refers to both physical spaces and to journeys, between shores and across distances on land. However, it also entails our imagined and conceptual movement in and between locations, physical and virtual. In this sense we may approach passage as a volume, a channel, a voyage or a narrative event built of elements over time. However, passage has become more than this in our inquiries for it has largely become an amphibious passing of space and time, a kinetic ‘vector’ of change.

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Slager, H. (2015). The Pleasure of Research. Ostfildern: Hante Cantz.

“Rhizome connection point” by ‘Fragments pictosophiques’ is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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