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Immersion Emergencies took its initial form through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded Research/Creation project from 2011-2014. The project has expanded to include subsequent articulations through public events and exhibitions.

The original framework for the project is offered below in order to offer a sense of direction from which the current and future projects flow:

 

In the present socio-cultural moment, water is increasingly the subject of discussion and contestation in public discourse. As Canadians, we know it as a resource that is ubiquitous within our history and an increasingly desirable international commodity.  Our project uses research and practice in visual art to address the subject of water regarding its cultural and environmental importance, by linking the historical art practice of picturing nature with the potential of visual representation to offer opportunities for aesthetic and socio-cultural engagement.

It is a goal of the project to bring together Canadian and international artists/researchers from multiple backgrounds to highlight a multitude of linked concerns of those individuals and their work. The project views water from diverse perspectives in order to exemplify it as complex and variable, and to problematize the idea that there could possibly be a monolithic attitude towards such a “universal” substance. With its emphasis on multiple and possibly competing perspectives, our project offers itself not as categorical regarding water, but as a context through which information, attitudes and “values” – even spiritual or sacred ones — pertaining to water find a site of display and discourse.

A key preoccupation around which the project is built concerns shifts in the way water is presented in the art of today with respect to historical art. Questions as to how we understand the way visual representation affects our social relations in general and how they are relative to concerns of the environment and sustainability is important. Ultimately, the intention of this project is to form links between contemporary artistic representations of water, scientific and social science research.

Immersion Emergencies integrates approaches to artistic research and practice regarding the subject of water to manifest a broad spectrum of artistic methodologies, foregrounding the types of preoccupations shown by many contemporary artists today. Because research by artists takes many forms and includes such activities as fieldworktextual engagementstudio practice and experimentation, and the development as public manifestations and interventions, this project assumes the importance of artists forging links with other artists, researchers, and communities.

The conceptual approach of Immersion Emergencies to science and social science knowledge acquisition is based on strategies that will enable the artists to gain broad exposures to pertinent areas of study and, through discussion with researchers (as well as observations of their fieldwork when possible), to identify questions and concerns that may be transferred across disciplines. Interviews, field visits, and exploratory research are among approaches that will be undertaken to build a new knowledge base among the artists. The intention is not to do science as art practice, but to allow science and social science based inquiry and methodology to inform artistic engagement.

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For all inquires contact Patrick Mahon

pmahon [at] uwo.ca

http://www.patrickmahon.ca/

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