fitzPATRICK, Edwina

Edwina is a UK based artist, whose work explores the living environment, especially in regard to mutability and change.

The artworks explore what happens when ‘grey’ (architectural); ‘green’ (parks/forests/landscapes/growing spaces) and ‘blue’ (oceans/rivers/canals) environments intersect. They focus on how humans have, and are affecting the nature, culture and ecology of a place. They also reflect upon how these delicate local balances relate to complex global issues such as climate change or marine pollution.

Edwina uses interactive fieldwork as her working methodology. This involves layered onsite research, celebrating narratives and conversations that are deeply informed by the history and the specific qualities of a place. These inclusive projects engage with the value systems and priorities of local individuals because they are experts in where they live and work. Edwina also collaborates with experts across a range of disciplines, including horticulturalists, biodiversity experts, engineers, architects, perfumers, foresters, archivists and composers.

Edwina’s practice encompasses both sited projects (as permanent or temporary works) and work presented in galleries. The two are not mutually exclusive, as responding to a specific context has always underpinned her approach to making and installing work. She completed her AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) funded collaborative practice-based PhD about sited artwork and climate change in 2014. | |

FIELDWORK Q&A – January 2018

How is fieldwork part of your practice?
My artwork always engages with space and place (including questioning what we mean by these terms). Taking ‘fieldwork’ – an established research methodology, wherein the researcher leaves their (enclosed) laboratory to deepen their understanding of their subject at first hand as its starting point; interactive fieldwork quite literally investigates where the artists and their audiences position themselves.

How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
It takes many forms, but is always performative in that it invites exchanges of narrative and dialogue relating to the place. A few years back, I was artist in residence in a forest. I had read that woodland birds hear birdsong at a much slower rate than humans do, so slowed down my recording of a robin accordingly. To me, it sounded similar to whale song. Having brought the recording and speakers along with me, I realized that I was being stalked by a robin, so proceeded to serenade it with the robin/whale song. I’ve never seen a bird fly away so quickly. This reminded me that forest are complex and unknowable places, and that my fieldwork must be sensitive to and not damaging to the site’s biodiversity (however briefly).

How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
Through my websites, collaborations, conference presentations and artworks.

Arboreal Laboratory