Experimental geographies, artists, and institutions: spaces of and practices for knowing
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To allow publications from thesis material.
This thesis draws on previous engagements between art and Geography in experimental geographies to explore relationships between artists and different forms of institutions. It focuses on experimental artists and associated experimental artist-led collectives, which I term ‘artist-led groups’, to explore how these artists and groups have experimented with different forms of institutions’ as part of their work around science and technology. These experimental artists and groups draw on successive waves of institutional critique in the art world, alongside forms of social practice, to ask key spatial and social questions of institutions. This thesis explores the approaches these experimental artist-led groups and two other key artists have used to experiment with key facets of institutions, allowing them to ask critical questions of science and technology. In doing so, this thesis demonstrates creative approaches to engaging publics around science and technology which offer potential for expanding inter- and cross-disciplinary conversations in geographical discourse. This thesis uses an experimental methodology combining a form of artistic practice as research method on the one hand and ethnographic methods on the other. It combines these methods as part of an ethnography to explore how these artist-led groups associate with one another in a social network. The thesis then focuses on two experimental artists in this social network whose works are becoming increasingly heard within geographical discourse. These experimental artist-led groups and artists are shown to operate different creative approaches when engaging with institutions. I show these in three ways, showing how 1) artist-led groups experiment with different modes of institutions to bring contemporary science and technology issues into the public realm; 2) experimental artist Neal White uses artistic experiments to critique science and technology; and 3) experimental artist Richard Pell uses his Center for PostNatural History to experiment with ways of prompting public discussions around science and technology. Accordingly, this thesis argues that these experimental engagements highlight the benefit of inter- and cross-disciplinary conversations in better understanding and shaping institutions. For geographers, this experimental approach can create novel forms of knowledge to help better understand the social nature and implications of institutions.
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter
PhD in Human Geography