Karen Squire

karen.squire@plymouth.ac.uk

St Just Portal, July 2018, Karen Squire
Adit Sky Disc 1, January 2019, Karen Squire

Mattering the commons through choragraphical practices

Historically the purpose of documenting the material environment through making topographical maps and surveys has been to create ‘vicarious enclosure’; that is to say a symbolic carving up, a scaping of the land to suit the ambitions of whomsoever has ownership over it. This mode of representation of representational space acts as both a first step in industrial, colonial, processing of the material environment and as a means of social control through exclusion, in which mental, social, and physical spaces seem to interrelate.

The inherent power of quantifying the landscape in this way has largely been wielded by a privileged few for the benefit of that privileged few and conversely to the detriment of others. Links have been made about the implications of lack of access to land-space upon social and mental freedom, but little is being said about what impact the representations of those spaces might have. I would like to explore how these representations might agitate change, for, if topographical maps reinforce unequal societies by denoting ownership, enclosure and therefore an imperative for “knowing one’s place”, might a different method of documentation support the opposite effect?

Taking inspiration from the inherent paradox found in landscape rituals like Beating the Bounds; in which the material environment is interacted with percussively in order to access an immaterial or intangible place; I would like to explore through my printmaking practice ways to create work that provide ‘vicarious access’ to spaces by developing alternative, ‘choragraphical’ processes of documentation. And by creating an intangible, yet material, ‘commons’ with which to explore the ‘mattering’ of representational spaces I will start to unpick and explore the question of how it might be possible to ‘Beat the Bounds’ and access the inaccessible.