On the oblique imperative: an examination of the obfuscating nature of spectacle in art and conservation

Wilson, Mark and Snæbjörnsdóttir, Bryndís (2018) On the oblique imperative: an examination of the obfuscating nature of spectacle in art and conservation. In: Minding Animals International Conference (MAC4), 17-24 January 2018, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico. (Unpublished) Full text not available from this repository.

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Abstract

As artists working serially with specialists in other fields (botany museology zoology and many more) the complexities we encounter in relation to subjects of our inquiry are respectively extended and intensified. The way an artist presents information or the way s/he chooses to withhold "spectacle" for instance rather than tapping its easy currency is paramount in disrupting preconceptions in respect of a given subject. For this reason whatever individual thing is already clearly seen is rarely in fact likely to be the focus of the work. The oblique view suggesting what is beyond simple sight is the privilege of the artist whose view is always greater and more complex than what it is s/he may present. We believe that this mechanism of strategic withholding and disclosure can also be of significance in relation to how humans must now consider the environmental jeopardy of habitats and species. In this paper the apparent paradox is explored through the lens of a single event which came to light during research for an art installation matrix (2016) by Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson. Central to the project is a study of architectural variance in polar bear dens and their relation to a nexus of human activity in the arctic including indigenous peoples the oil industry conservation agencies and tourism. As is the case with much of our work we channel the principles embodied in the act of searching in this case an oil industry surveillance flight over the coastal terrain of the Northern Alaska using forward looking infrared technology (flir) to identify late autumn denning sites. The disturbance that this particular search prompted is a trigger for conjecture in relation to interspecific protocols and the questionable primacy of "sighting" in eco-tourism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Fine Arts
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2019 14:46
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2019 14:46
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4349

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