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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Mike Crang

Moss FlatsCrang, Mike Bare Life in the Mȳrr, Mēos, and Mire. 2015.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

A specially commissioned text by Professor Mike Crang, Head of Department of Geography and member of CVAC (Centre for Visual Arts and Culture) for the exhibition "The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material" by Laura Harrington.

Laura Harrington is interested in the natural world and how humans understand and interact with it – she works with multiple mediums including film, drawing and installation. A shared interest in upland environments and peat as a lively and dynamic material provided the impetus for a collaboration with physical scientist Dr Jeff Warburton (Department of Geography, Durham University) as part of a Leverhulme Trust Artist Residency. Their collaboration focused on Moss Flats, an upland bare peat flat in the North Pennines. Harrington has evolved this research into an exploration of this dynamic eco-system through moving image, words and sound.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by artist Joseph Beuys who once described a European bog as ‘the liveliest of elements’ and scientist Noel Hobbs who referred to peat as an ‘ordinary extraordinary material’ due to its unusual characteristics and behavior as an earth surface material.

The exhibition includes: The Liveliest of Elements, a new moving image work that explores the nature of Moss Flats through image and sound – the supposed nothingness revealed in its entirety; dis/sonance, a new four channel sound installation consisting of five voices recorded at Moss Flats – aiming to capture the movement and rawness present on the surface of the site, translated through the most primitive and paired down instrument we have – the human voice; and Haggs and High Places, an artist's book published by New Writing North as part of the Durham Book Festival 2015 – providing an insight into the research and ideas behind the exhibition and including contributions by Jeff Warburton and new writing by poet and shepherd Josephine Dickinson.

References

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Huijbens, E. H. and G. Pálsson (2009). "The bog in our brain and bowels: social attitudes to the cartography of Icelandic wetlands." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(2): 296-316.
On the Properties of Things, John Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum, a Critical Text, eds. M. C. Seymour, et al., vols. 1 and 2 (1975); vol. 3 (1988).
Tyler, D. (2015). Uncommon Ground: A word-lover's guide to the British landscape London, faber anf faber.
6 pages 38-9, Serres, M. (2010). Biogea. Minneapolis, Univocal.
7 Bogland Seamus Heaney, in Door into the Dark 1969, Longman.
Vendler, Helen Hennessy.Seamus Heaney. Harvard University Press, 2000.
Smith, J. (2015). "‘Lithogenesis’: Towards a (Geo) Poetics of Place." Literary Geographies 1(1): 62-78.
Cohen, J.J., 2015. Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
Flader, S. L. (1994). Thinking like a mountain: Aldo Leopold and the evolution of an ecological attitude toward deer, wolves, and forests, Univ of Wisconsin Press.
Massey, D. (2006). "Landscape as a provocation - Reflections on moving mountains." Journal of Material Culture 11(1-2): 33-48.
Grosz, E. A. (2008). Chaos, territory, art: Deleuze and the framing of the earth, Columbia University Press.
Dixon, D. P., H. Hawkins and E. R. Straughan (2012). "Wonder-full geomorphology: Sublime aesthetics and the place of art." Progress in Physical Geography 37(2): 227-247.
Gladwin, D. (2013). "Eco-Haptic Photography: Visualizing Irish Bogland in Rachel Giese's The Donegal Pictures." Photography and Culture 6(2): 157-174.
Crang, M. (2010). Visual Methods and Methodologies. The Handbook of Qualitative Geography. D. Delyser, S. Herbert, S. Aitken, M. Crang and L. McDowell. London Sage: 208-225.
Donald, M. (2014). "Guddling About: Experiments in Vital Materialism with Particular Regard to Water." The Goose 13(1): Article 35.
Stewart, K. (2008). "Weak Theory in an Unfinished World." Journal of Folklore Research 45(1): 71-82.
Siewers, A. K. (2013). "Earth: A wandering." Postmedieval 4(1): 6.

Notes

Exhibition essay for The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material, Durham Castle and Woodhorn Colliery Museum October- November 2015