Wilding the Edges
"Wilding the Edges" is a one-day geographical survey of Wimbledon led by several UAL pathway leaders and faculty members that was held in March 2015. The event was held in the wake of course introductions on the topic of Psychogeography and in particular, the novel "Edgelands" which addresses the liminal ecosystems and environments to be found both within and surrounding man-made structures. This field trip paired groups of ten to fifteen students with different leaders, each taking a different itinerary through Wimbledon beginning at The Wimbledon College of Art and ending at the Dog and Fox Pub. Notes were compared and a round table discussion was held during which impressions of the walks were fielded and exchanged in the larger context of human growth and ecosystems and sustainability as it relates to creative practices. Each group took a slightly different itinerary, making observations with a slightly different focus. In all cases however, there was a concerted effort to understand how the five senses informed an understanding of art and the environment. Although I was initially scheduled to be in a group withe sound expert David Toop, I found myself instead in a group with David Cross (sustainable practice) and Geraint Evans (Painting). During our walk, David brought our attentions to the way land tenureship and heightend traffic has changed the landscape of Wimbledon and affected rights of passage. Geraint brought to the fore the vital importance of visual information-manifestations of human intervention which influence our impressions as artists.
This experience was vital in providing me with a more universal basis of understanding for the stimuli that the sights, sounds and smells present in the immediate neighborhood; the experience allowed me to gauge how others are also affected by these sensorial factors and the manner in which social orders are established by physical impression. As an artist, this exercise in observation(s) and analysis is critical in adressing how one's work can respond to environments in a thoughtful and stimulating way.