Flora Parrott’s work looks at notions of the subterranean, experiences of darkness and the restructuring of the senses. Parrott has been based in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway University London since 2017 studying for a practice-based, TECHNE-funded PhD. Recent projects have experimented with the idea of fieldwork and with the expansion of the conference format; co-ordinating interdisclpinary, thematic events that exist outside of traditional conference environment. The work is inherently collaborative, often developed with other artists and academics.
Parrott trained in Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art and The Royal College of Art. She is a lecturer at Kingston University and is currently the Leverhulme artist in residence at Royal Holloway University Geography Department. Parrott was also the 2016 artist in residence at the Royal Geographical Society collection developing a project titled Swallet studying caving and exploration of the underground. In 2014 she collaborated with Professor Paulo Boggiani resulting in an installation in the Museum of Geology, USP, the project also comprised of an evolving ‘workspace’ and lecture space at Projeto Fidalga, SP. Recent exhibitions include I’m In the Bath On All Fours, a collaboration with Lindiwe Matshikiza first shown at Well Projects, Margate and now touring as part of Sonia Boyce’s ‘In The Castle of My Skin’.
FIELDWORK Q&A – April 2018
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
A year or two ago, I would have had a direct answer to this question. Until recently, I made works that attempted to transpose information from the field into a gallery space. Materials collected on planned trips would be configured and reworked into diagrammatic installations. The results of this process were interesting but there always felt like a disconnection between the fieldwork and the outcomes. At the moment I am thinking about how I define fieldwork and more importantly how I define the lines between fieldwork and studio work. I am interested in the compulsion to discover and to fix and the frustrations that arise as the results slip away before they can be fixed. As a result of this rethinking, I find this question about fieldwork really interesting to think about but difficult to answer!
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
I have a long-standing preoccupation with exploration of the underground. Recently the work has included archival study, reenactment of expedition, trips with caving clubs and with extreme sports organisations. I am interested in what motivates these explorers to continue into the undefeatable depths of the earth, not knowing what it is that they are looking for, failing more often than succeeding. The work that I am currently developing draws parallels between physical fieldwork in which explorers search for unreachable clarity and definition, and the ambiguities of fine art studio based work.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I was artist in residence at the Royal Geographical Society Collection and have a Leverhulme residency in the Geography department at Royal Holloway University. Activities will include field trips, workshops, a publication and symposium.