Ranville’s work is largely project-based with location, landscape, and the artwork itself determining the medium. His installations, sculptures, film, photographs, recordings and prints investigate a variety of interests including architecture, environment, fieldwork, cartography, and community. When a viewer encounters Ranville’s work, he hopes to trigger the recognition of a new path, vantage point, surface, or space. The balance between the formal and functional aspects of the work often elicit those interactions. Ranville realizes these ideas using ecologically sensitive methods which emphasize notions of revitalization and resilience.
FIELDWORK Q&A – July 2015
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork is an integral part of my process when I approach a new project or artwork. It starts with thorough research of a location before I arrive, almost a sort of pre-fieldwork. This is to establish the project and get the most from future on-site interactions. Then when I am in the environment and traversing the landscape–often by walking, hiking, or other human powered transport–I collect data. This data is often the same kind recorded by scientists and researchers in the field, but I am also making aesthetic decisions in real-time as I gather and interpret that data. The projects are then communicated through photographs, drawings, writings, films, sculptures and installations. Though in the past several years the artwork has also been the process of the project itself, so I see fieldwork as a medium in its own right and have been working through concepts with friends and fellow artists on how to present it as such. This is connected to an idea I regularly outline in talks: that the medium is dictated by the artwork or project. For example, I don’t set out to create a sculpture or photograph, but rather respond to the environment or landscape I am in. The diversity in locations and resulting fieldwork is a large part of that.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
In short: immersive, holistic, and rigorous. In a manner similar to scientists or researchers in the field, I first develop frameworks to assist in thorough investigation of the landscape or environment. These frameworks are often a combination of encyclopedic and online research, photography, GPS/GIS data collection and interpretation. Then, as an artist, I allow for my direct experience of the landscape or environment to transmute those frameworks and translate the aesthetic/considered output that results.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
Through publications, artist lectures, and exhibitions. Each summer I also run a remote residency program on Rabbit Island (rabbitisland.org). The conversations and discussions with the selected artists on and off the island I see as a sharing space for ideas of fieldwork as an aesthetic medium. My own fieldwork on Rabbit Island is shared with other artists through or comprehensive residency documents and maps and also with the program’s wide-reaching online audience through our website and publications.