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Geology, art and imagination: creative propositions for visual representation and cultural narratives

Geology, art and imagination: creative propositions for visual representation and cultural narratives by Perdita Phillips and Suzette Worden

complexity in the froth

Artists who engage with the earth sciences have been able to explore all kinds of information about the natural environment, including information about the atmosphere, extremes of physical formations across immense dimensions of time and space, and increasingly ‘invisible’ realms of materials at the nanoscale. The results of this engagement are being shown not only through the way artists and designers are developing innovative visual representations but also through the way images are combined with other media or through artists challenging the status of the visual through prioritising other media, such as sound. The ways in which artists have worked with geological data is also a rich area for identifying the relationship between digital and material cultures. Many artists working with this subject are crossing boundaries and testing out the liminal spaces between the virtual and the real. Instead of accepting, or even creating, binary oppositions this paper will examine how virtual and material spaces are not oppositional but connected and communicated through creative practice for the earth sciences. This presentation will provide a short overview of theoretical links between visualisation and geology, mineralogy and crystallography, highlighting historically significant examples. It will include a discussion of themes being explored in the work of interdisciplinary artist, Perdita Phillips whose project, The Sixth Shore is exploring the geological formations and the natural environment at Lake Clifton, in the Yalgorup National Park, Western Australia. Phillips works with spatial sound, presenting immersive sound environments in galleries and in situ (using GPS technology). How connections are made back to the material world and the consequences of meshing the visual and the sonic will be analysed and discussed.

Worden, S., & Phillips, P. (2014). Geology, art and imagination: creative propositions for visual representation and cultural narratives. In C. Kennedy & M. Rosengren (Eds.), SPECTRA: images and data in art/science. Proceedings from the symposium SPECTRA 2012 (pp. 77-87). Adelaide: Australian Network for Art and Technology.

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