Research Areas of Interest & Expertise
SOUND // Video // Transmission
Documentary // Experimental Documentary
place + cultural memory
water // oceans // springs // rivers
Sites in Memoriam
Animal Communication + Animal Cultures
Human + Animal Interactions // Industries (fisheries, hunting, etc)
Landscapes in Flux
Despite evoking timelessness at first glance, all landscapes (urban and rural alike) are constantly undergoing significant, often immediately imperceptible forms of change. The march of time wears away the sharp edges of mountainsides and fades painted facades, and entire natural systems and ecologies come and go in cyclical, impressionable, unpredictable impermanence. Simultaneously, places may transform quickly or dramatically due to direct and indirect human impact-- war, climate change, development, natural disaster, and so on.
I have great interest in the act and consideration of flux , particularly as it relates to natural spaces. This ranges from considering societal perception, conception, and misconception of transformation, to the facts of the transformation itself, to the question of the "passing," death, or obliteration of places as they once existed. My fascination with the slippery intersecting slopes of impermanence and site results from lifelong relationships with now-fast-changing Arctic landscapes, and a family history in a field obsessed with the impact of time and the transformation of sites-- homicide investigation.
Through personally undertaking fieldwork, research in memory and perception, reevaluating my homicide investigative background, and interdisciplinary cultural analysis of understandings of landscape (personified landscape, the meaning of landscape transformation, onomastics, and transforming ecology/biodiversity of fast-changing places), I have developed insight into the importance of consideration of landscape dynamics, especially as they relate to (and lead to) development of art and media.
ADDITIONALLY: LAND+CHANGE AND MEDIA
I have begun compiling a series of case studies demonstrating landscape in the midst of rapid transformation. Often creative people are drawn to the questions posed by change. When one way of knowing a place is no more, what then? I actively curate and catalog artists working with flux or space creatively documented or "re-created" in media artworks-- the artist as archivist, journalist, or salvaging figure. I examine concepts of permanence and impermanence, timelessness, nostalgia, memory, and cross-cultural considerations of climate change through media art.
How is biodiversity qualified by an individual? Quantifiable assessment-- the counting and numbering of species in a location, is one method to ascertain the given biodiversity of a place. These numbers are often far-removed from average citizens, however. An individual's personal evaluations of the assessment ofbiodiversity is determined by personal, economic, and cultural questions/bias. Can the value of biodiversity be increased through documentation, or by the making-accessible, or making-tangible of ambiguous or inaccessible data? I strive to offer intermediaries to make the seemingly-impersonal more personal. I create written and/or audiovisual creative media projects (e.g., assessments, story bibliographies, performances, and visualizations) that help individuals connect the concept of biodiversity to real-world implications, species, and lives-- including their own.
Ecologies and Cultural Memory
How is a community or culture's understanding of place linked to its understanding of or engagement with local ecology? Or, for that matter, other species? Indigenous cultural memory in the historic sense was (and can still be) inextricably bound to place due to the needs of subsistence, and community adaptation and innovation to survival in a landscape. Knowledge colors one's understanding of a place. Knowledge of other species is a key part of local knowledge (i.e., one knows that a certain species migrates through location A at a certain time of year, and thus location A is linked forever to that species). But what happens when ecologies begin to change? How does human understanding and mythos of a place transform with shifting of species dominance or species presence? I examine cultures, communities, and outposts that, even in the era of globalized trade and TV dinners, are directly linked to or rely on the presence of other living species (ie., fishing communities in Northern Iceland linked to local cod and herring populations, etc.). When climate change, overfishing, natural disaster, pollution, or other such transformative forces cause great change, how do cultures react? How does the movement of ecologies inform the memory and mindsets of community members? By working as a naturalist and partnering with scientists, ecologists, and community members in creative partnership, I explore and analyze the ways in which cultural memory and ecology are bound.