Collapsing environments in performance and sculpture is the work of artist Luce Choules. Through a spatial enquiry encompassing writing, image and sound they use fieldwork, language and live event to explore precarity and temporality in a radical rethinking of our time on this planet.
Choules has performed, exhibited, and held screenings and presentations internationally, recently at ONCA Gallery, AADK Spain (Centro Negra), Royal Geographical Society, MIMA, Hangar Barcelona, GroundWork Gallery, British Library, Baltic 39 (WOON Studios), Verge Gallery, DeVos Art Museum, AirSpace Gallery, Project Space Plus, Burton Art Gallery, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, Arts Catalyst, The Culture Capital Exchange, and Centre for the Geohumanities Royal Holloway University of London. Their practice has been supported by Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Hangar Barcelona, Curator’s Network Madrid, a-n, Invisible Dust, Heritage Futures, Rabbit Island Foundation, Arts Council England, Centre for Life-Writing Research King’s College London, Rednile Projects, and CRP Hauts-De-France. Choules is a collaborator with AADK (Centro Negra) and Nau Côclea in Spain, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. They founded and coordinate the itinerant artist network TSOEG.org
Their works deal with ecological precarity, accelerated change, extractivism, post-industrial tourism, social movement, aggregate structures, material and immaterial transformation, temporal loop, and shape-shifting. The Thin Layer on Which We Build Our Lives (2020 ongoing) is a body of process- and time-based work exploring behaviour, environment, and instability. The film After-image (2019) is about persistence and explores the enduring material field to imagine a post-human space of the vast future. Mountain Festival (2016 ongoing) is a counter-cultural event that takes place in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in the French Alps, and is an observance of vast geological time set against humanity’s brief entity. Littoral States / Interior States / Superior States / Relative States (2017) is a large-scale installation of multifaceted dynamic parts observing the changing structures and rhythms of a remote landform in permanent flux.
Choules contributes to environmental and academic symposia on the subject and object of fieldwork, and led the Itinerant Actions fieldwork programme for the Encura 3 research residency at Hangar Barcelona 2019. They lead three workshop programmes with organisations, groups and individuals, including: Immaterial Fields, The Transported Body and Practicing Passivity; and are currently curating the TSOEG itinerant project Loose Leaves (2020 ongoing) to present collective fieldwork as live event.
Their work is in collections across the UK, Europe and US, and their practice has been written about and featured in Critical Distance in Documentary Media (Palgrave Macmillan), Topografías de lo Invisible: Estrategias Críticas entre Arte y Geografía (Universitat de Barcelona), and Form, Art and the Environment: Engaging in Sustainability (Routledge).
FIELDWORK Q&A – May 2015
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork is an embedded part of my practice. I have an unfixed idea of what fieldwork is – it is multi-dimensional, has many roles, and is a variable framework within which I make work. My fieldwork involves research, performance, survey, mapping, charting, documentation, and more – it is an itinerant mode of working that is experiential, experimental, changeable and ephemeral. Fieldwork is central to my praxis as an artist – not a separate or parallel activity – it is physical and involved, rather than academic theory or exercise. As an artist I have been shaped by my experiences in the material and immaterial fields of landscape and natural environment, and through my work and activities have developed fieldwork as method and form.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
My activities deal with an exploration of the Earth’s surface – unfixed topographical features and fluent spatial dynamics, envisioned as the activated spaces of landscape to be surveyed and mapped. Travelling between object and situation, field trips and expeditions form a framework for an itinerant practice of fieldworking. I have developed an evolving framework for exploring different geographical environments and situations, using artist-led expeditions to encounter and enter landscape. Through performance surveys, I look at the underlying structures of the physical environment – I am interested in the form of the earth, how I negotiate the idea of form, and how I navigate place.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
My fieldwork activities trace through performance and sculptural concepts, and involve documents made through still and moving image. My extensive range of fieldwork documents for projects Guide74 and Estudio de Campo, are used to take an audience on metaphysical journeys to the Alpine regions of France and mainland Spain through a series of performance lectures involving spoken word, books, maps, objects, and photographic images. Other fieldwork documents are made into a large range of publications including maps, books and folios – these are distributed through exhibitions, presentations and live events.