Engaging visual technologies for innovation, emotion and wellbeing
Corporeal Connections in Contemporary Landscapes
Gregory Dunn (BIAD Birmingham City University)
This AHRC (fully funded) collaborative research project will question the relevance of protected landscapes to contemporary society. The specific site for this enquiry is the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Modern pictorial, photographic, and cinematic composition has been shaped by numerous eighteenth century artistic responses to the areas' unique physical features. In 1770 William Gilpin explored the valley via the river. Gilpin framed and subsequently recorded the ('Picturesque') landscape through the mediation of a small, handheld, oval tinted mirror: the Claude Glass (or Black Mirror); an instrument to used to refine terrain to its simplest expressions and it’s capacity to reflect the landscape in an idealistic light.
TV critic and author, Charlie Brooker utilised the term Black Mirror as the title for his Channel 4 drama series. Brooker articulated the reasons for his title choice on the Guardian web site: ‘The "black mirror" of the title is the one you'll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone’*. The smartphone is today’s Claude Glass; a modern means of capturing, containing, categorising (and now sharing) our view of the environment.
The intention of the research is to haptically and visually elicit a corporeal and geo-emotional dialogue with the location through collaboration with contemporary visitors and art practitioners. The participants will be immersed in the landscape, their bodies keying into the location and their mobile phones recording their own specific viewpoints.
Must remember to breathe...