Dr. Alys Longley – University of Auckland, New Zealand
If Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous quote, “the limits of my language are the limits of my world” proves accurate, then I think we are in deep trouble. My sense is that the limitations of especially the English language are preventing many of us from realizing, articulating and understanding our roles in ecological systems.
If we extend our understanding of ‘language’ to creative practices such as design, dance, visual art, music, and performance, we greatly extend what we are able to attend to, articulate, know and share in relation to place, space and meaning. Such practices carry affective resonance, enabling complex, optimistic, playful and imaginative responses to ideas around sustainability and ecology.
The Fluid City project brings together diverse scientists, social scientists, artists, architects and educators to engage a wide range of people in Auckland City to consider the issues and values around water sustainability. In 2012, the project was staged in a high-density urban area on Auckland’s waterfront. In 2014, the team worked with a secondary school over a four-month project to co-create a new iteration of the project for the local community. Attempts to map and document this project are generating innovative approaches to social sciences methodology, which bring together research practices drawn from both artistic and qualitative research techniques.
This seminar will discuss a series of research iterations emerging from the New Zealand-based project Fluid City, which have been responding to the following research questions: How can we give voice to water in all of is vulnerability and necessity? How can we place liquid perception at the centre of our methodology? How might we present ecological thinking across disciplinary borders, merging spaces between information and imagination to value the importance life forms beyond our own? These questions are addressed through photography, documentary and animated film, poetry, sound recordings, ethnographic journaling, creative workshop designs, maps, choreography, drawings, architecture and fleeting public responses to art installations. These artistic methods allow space for the evocation of meaning at the edge of linguistic sense – for affect and presence, for space and place, for a becoming-fluid of communication.
The seminar will be web-broadcast live as an eSeminar of the ‘Culturizing Sustainable Cities’ project, which is supported by (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (FCT).
Alys Longley is a performance maker, researcher and teacher. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Dance Studies Programme at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Alys’s research interests include practice-led research, interdisciplinary projects, creative writing, somatic practices, cultural mapping, ecology and inclusive dance education. She has recently led the project fluid city, an art-science-education project on water-sustainability. Her artist-book The Foreign Language of Motion presents a series of experiments in choreographic writing, and was published in 2014 with Winchester University Press’s Preface Series.
Scenes from the Fluid City project ….