Paula Bruna’s artistic research is framed in the study of the ecological conflicts of contemporary societies. Taking concepts of political ecology and ecological economy as a reference, she is interested in the struggle of forces between a socioeconomic system based on continuous growth and the finite nature of the environment. She investigates these issues within the process of artistic works.
Paula is currently working on an Anthropocene narrative from a non-human point of view, in a extended ecosystemic conception exercise. In recent years she has participated in several events and exhibitions, including: After the end of the world (CCCB, Barcelona), Aplec Saó (Center d’Art i Natura, Farrera) and Projector International Videoart Festival (Madrid). Her work has been selected in competitions such as the Guasch Coranty grant for artistic research and XX National Contest of Plastic Arts University of Seville. She has published scientific texts on art and ecology, participated in conferences and held workshops.
Paula Bruna studied Environmental Sciences (BA) and Terrestrial Ecology (MA) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Fine Arts (BA) at the University of Barcelona. She is currently a PhD candidate in Advanced Studies in Artistic Productions at the University of Barcelona. She has worked in ecology and sustainability, and is a resident artist at Hangar, Center for Visual Arts Production and Research, Barcelona.
FIELDWORK Q&A – June 2019
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
My artwork usually starts from the fieldwork, but not from an intentional artistic one. My job as an environmentalist often involves field visits. There, on occasions, I find images or situations that catch my attention, sometimes without even knowing exactly why. I register those findings in the form of photographs, videos, drawings, or notes, which I collect in a kind of inspiring archive – an archive of real situations that hide messages and contradictions about our society and how we deal with the rest of the ecosystem.
In a more extended interpretation of the word ‘fieldwork’, I would consider data collection and studio research as part of it. My studio is something similar to a lab. I use artistic practice as a research method, an intuitive and experimental way of knowing and understanding. Thus, the creation process is key. One artwork leads to another, and the results of a project raise issues for the next one, in a similar way to scientific research. At this point, borders between artwork and process and between process and fieldwork become fuzzy.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
My fieldwork activity relies very much in observation and experimentation. My inspiring archive of found situations has its origins in attention and observation. Back at my studio, I initiate processes that more or less escape out of my control, and observing every detail of the process evolution becomes very important.
Sensorial experimentation is crucial in my fieldwork, and hence in my artwork. In a world full of images and data, experimentation becomes more emotional, and emotion has an important role in reaching empathy and deep understanding.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
In an extended interpretation of the word “fieldwork”, the difference between artwork, process and fieldwork becomes blurred – so, it could be said that I share them all by means of installations that question our relationships with the rest of the ecosystem network. My installations contain the research process and allow experiencing at least part of it. Installations are complemented with talks and conferences, where I share my artistic research using narrative fabulation, and occasionally academic writing.
Also, to fully answer this question I think it is important to mention that I collaborate with ecological, environmental and biological research centers of my city. That implies a mutual sharing of fieldwork and knowledge between them as scientists, and me as an environmentalist and artist. As most of us are already good friends, informal meetings and field trips have become an interesting, productive and enjoyable way of sharing our experience and points of view.