As a poet-painter immersed in Nature as my initiation to re-collection and reflection, I also am a researcher (PhD) in the impact of tactile perception on the creative process. In my artist practice I walk as a Forest Flanuer* exploring the landscape in a random manner based on tactile attraction. I have found an incubation period of 15 days+ is vital to a long term tactile memory to draw on in the studio post walking. I am deeply interested in the variety of tactile experiences in the field as our daily lives seem to be attached to a mono-tactile screen cold interface. I believe the loss of tactile inputs from Nature diminishes our empathy and the more tactile perception opportunities we have the more reason to ‘feel’ akin to the Earth.
*Forest Flaneur = random walking in nature utilizing tactile perception. (Ruiz-Scarfuto, 2018).
FIELDWORK Q&A – June 2019
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork in my current discovery of tactile perception is essential to the creative process in order to gather my inputs for a colour palette and deeper understanding of the poets that I study in situ. These poetic landscapes are inspiration points researched prior to the fieldwork and then once in the vicinity, I randomly follow the poet’s footsteps to get a ‘feel’ of the geological crevices, rock formations, flora and fauna that add value to my final project. I use small pocket-sized sketch pads for notes. I am not a landscape painter in that I do not create on site nor use the elements of the landscape in collages of found objects. I follow the sheep in the sense of ‘grazing’ on the natural elements with tactile attraction.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
My practice in the field is an intuitive quiet walk that begins with a pre-survey of the landscape without tactile inputs. Once the non-tactile walk is complete, I return to the area and allow the natural elements to call me to them. I do not plan the tactile walk and allow for forward, backward and re-stepping the area touching those elements that attract me. This tactile walk tends to focus on details of the landscape that were missed or omitted in the prior survey non-tactile walk. I explore especially with the forefinger that registers the heart beat and pressure of touch deepens the memory input. This is not a kinaesthetic study of movement, but rather a haptic method. However, the reflection of time before studio work is started in the form of visual art and poetry allows for a long term memory to set in from the fieldwork activity.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I share my work in public art installations and collective shows as well as literary magazines. In addition, I created an open website (Re-Bound) dedicated to my fieldwork and post studio process based on this fieldwork. The interactive installations are very rewarding encouraging others to walk the poetic landscapes to stimulate creative works. With people living near the fieldwork area, I have co-created with the participants to achieve a combined workshop/installation that includes their ideas in the final show. This type of cultural/natural heritage landscape interface is exciting to share as they know the landscape as well as I or even more having grown up there, especially the young people. Their tactile memories are fresh from childhood play and yet embedded in their long term memory for instant recall. I find the fieldwork a bridge to their cultural heritage that shaped the poet as well as my new 3D poetic canvas that adds to the collective memory of the landscape.