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Lures for Feeling: Selected works from the States and Territories project (2014-2016)

Rousell, DS (2018) Lures for Feeling: Selected works from the States and Territories project (2014-2016). Summer Institute in Qualitative Research, Manchester Metropolitan University, 10 July 2017 - 14 July 2017.

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Abstract

This exhibition brings together a series of photographic and video works that have been selected from material produced over the course of the States and Territories project. Over the last three years, the States and Territories project has collectively re-imagined the learning environments of a regional university campus through a series of environmental art installations, locative media interfaces, and participatory fieldwork involving students and academics working in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The exhibition draws on Whitehead’s (1978) theory of prehension to work with visual research data as ‘lures for feeling’. In thinking data as a series of propositional lures, analysis shifts from a linear representation of time and causality towards the ‘event-time’ of play, performativity, and ethico-aesthetic experimentation (Massumi, 2011). This enables the research data to effect a time slip, such that objects and images begin to resonate with the virtual elements of memory (pastness) and potential (futurity). Videos and photographs produced over a period of several years thread vectors of previous spaces and times into an incipient unfolding of the present. Rather than being passive or inert, each image is actively happening with every moment as a living archive of its own experience: ‘a renewal, a novelty, a fresh creation’ (Shaviro 2009, p. 18). We could say that the image prehends its surrounding environment through the data that accretes on its manifold surfaces. The image therefore contributes its own aesthetic force to the making of the research event through prehension, such that the protagonist of the encounter is neither the image, the researcher, the artist, the participants, the audience, nor the data, but the subjective character of the occasion as a vector of feeling (how the data is relationally felt). This is one of the surprising implications of the ‘vectorcharacter’ of prehension: it means that data which are relatively distant in space and time (such as the moon outside your window, or a childhood moment captured in a photograph) can be felt here, in this very moment, simply by prehending them. This opens up the immanent potentiality of the image by feeling the data as the lure for a novel form of togetherness, regardless of spatial or temporal proximity.

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