Waters of the Past

Tracey Benson, Australia.

My online contribution would take the form of an interactive map which enables participants to add their stories of place, overlaying my initial genealogical narrative which is composed from my family history and the ethnicity of my DNA which will also be part of a soundscape..

My project is an expansion of another project that I am focusing on titled “Changing Tides: Waters of the Past”. This project is the latest chapter in an ongoing project about the connections between water, humanity and culture – Words for Water initiated in 2013.

In 2017, I have been invited to develop “Changing Tides: Waters of the Past” at Drammen Kommune as an artist in residence and it is my intention to link these residencies together on a number of levels. I will be in Norway for 3 months in Norway developing this project. My plan is to build a visual knowledge and language base from a range of media including DNA, photography, video and augmented reality. During my time in Norway, I will be building my knowledge of the region, with a focus on the countryside around Oslo, Drammen and Hurum (where I have ancestral connections).

As an artist ideas of place, identity and environment have been ongoing themes in my work as well as the notion of journeying. I would be interested in using the material gathered to also develop an augmented reality artwork that would virtually remain in Plymouth. While in Iceland and the Faroes in 2016, I started to learn more about early language and the Runic symbols and alphabet. This interest is slightly disconnected from my main focus of water and water stories but has links to my interest in culture and storytelling. At SCANZ Mahia, I have expanded this work, collaborating with a Maori artist to create runes from found objects and then ‘offering’ them back to the sea.

My intention is to explore the iconography of the sea and natural environment as a juxtaposition to the runic symbols. For me, these symbols represent a culture and language lost as well as a ‘proxy’ for ancestral links to the old country. I see the reinvigoration of these symbols very powerful in regards to constructing a narrative about place, history and belonging as well as offering a link between culture and environment at an experiential level.

Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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