No More Elsewhere: Melancholia, Subjectivity, Landscape
First and second supervisors
Prof Jane Rendell & Dr Victor Buchli
No More Elsewhere: Melancholia, Subjectivity, Landscape is a practical and theoretical research project into the art of making and unmaking the world. It uses art practice as a methodology, along with archival analysis, and a cross-disciplinary application and synthesis of spatial theories, archaeology, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy.
I propose to examine this through a focus on the end of the Heroic Age of Exploration, by addressing the biography, writing, pencil sketches and watercolours of Doctor Edward Adrian Wilson (1872-1912). Wilson was an Antarctic explorer and one of the fated members of the Scott party, who died on their return from the quest for the South Pole. The death of Scott's party in 1912 inspired huge public mourning.
My title: No more elsewhere suggests the loss of a world in which there are places yet to be discovered.
Melancholia can keep open that relation to the past as a continuing encounter, creating new perspectives. This project seeks to apply those new perspectives to contemporary concerns over environmental losses.
Antarctica – historically a place of non-architecture and non-archaeology is for that very reason, an elucidating example to consider through these disciplines. Antarctica figures as the unbuilt environment outside of human history, all that is natural rather than artificial, born rather than made, in stark contrast to the built environment of human endeavours.
The problem of dwelling in that especially inhospitable environment poses the broader question of dwelling in the world. Our homes too, now seem perilously linked to the sustainability of the distant place that, for most of us, exists only as image.
The image of Antarctic landscape functions as a prophetic warning, to be found at the heart of the urban industrial world, communicated to us through spectacular high definition TV pictures, as the image tag for any climate change related web or news article. This is my reason for linking theories of dwelling and embodied spatiality with practices of representing site and landscape: to explore the risk entailed in ‘the world as picture’ –and the part that technologies of visualisation play in this, and the consequences that these disembodied spatial practices have for action.
Polly Gould is an artist who shows regularly in the UK and abroad. She has a First Class BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and MAs in Theory and Fine Art from the Jan van Eyck Academie for Postgraduate Research in Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Gould has lectured in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London for the past ten years. She also has a collaborative practice as Eggebert-and-Gould, working on commissions for public spaces and installation.
Gould is an AHRC PhD Studentship recipient.