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Loss and Trace

This Section returns to the themes of loss and getting lost, in specific relation to the traces that we human species leave behind us in the Anthropocene Age – geographically, geologically and culturally. It returns to and engages more explicitly with the dilemmas that artists face when they are practising in, and towards uncertainty, including the ethics of preservation. What is it that we choose to preserve from the landscape-archive for future generations and how indelible should our current traces be as artists? What is the best approach to the landscape-archive, that of increased stewardship, or that of 'wilding' programmes? Are they mutually exclusive?


I draw conclusions about whether Grizedale artists have responded to the effects of climate change, and then extend this to UK and international artists. I analyse the strategies that UK artists have adopted, including that of the artist-archivist who has become an archivist of the landscape-archive.  This was tested through a post-doctoral sited artwork at Grizedale and through the Practising (in) Uncertainty Colloquium.


See for subsequent research.




Practising (in) Uncertainty Colloquium



The Colloquium was designed to address the geographer Kathryn Yusoff’s question ‘What knowledge becomes useful to us in a time of abrupt climate change? How can we creatively practice towards such uncertainty?’ *


If artists are meant to make sense of radically ambiguous situations and move forward in the face of uncertainty then this implies an acceptance of being lost as both methodology and practice. The Colloquium explores what happens when practice (as in a habitual action or repeated exercise) and practise (as in being experienced in, or currently active and engaged with) collide with the unknown. What happens when habitual practices becomes challenged by uncertainty and risk?


The event focused on the uncertain processes of making, the unpredictable contexts that this work is presented in, and the uncertainties about how audiences might engage with projects which engage with our (mis)understandings of biodiversity, landscape or site. It involves prominent national and international artists who have adopted strategies to Practise (in) Uncertainty, including  Heather Ackroyd (Ackroyd & Harvey), Justin Carter, David Cross (Cornford and Cross), Nick Edwards, Edwina fitzPatrick, Tania Kovats and  Mark Wilson (Snaebjornsdottir & Wilson). They share their insights in both Glasgow and London, and the event will take place through live links.


* Yusoff, K. (Ed). (2008) Bipolar. London: The Arts Catalyst p. 6


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