I have witnessed a strange river: re-placing non-human entities within visual narratives of three Australian freshwater sites

Cooper, Victoria Pamela (2012) I have witnessed a strange river: re-placing non-human entities within visual narratives of three Australian freshwater sites. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Through the medium of artists books, this study explores the re-contextualisation and repurposing of scientific images within visual narratives of freshwater places in Australia. Aquatic fungi are featured in these visual stories as a representative for the more-than human inhabitants of these aquatic environments, that lie mysteriously, like the Bunyip, beyond normal human perception. Appearing as apparitions, these natural recyclers metaphorically de-compose the detritus of the colonial freshwater narratives to assert the presence of the non-human. Many issues arose from the interdisciplinary work as objectivity of science collided with subjectivity of a physical and metaphysical experience of place. In this contested space, preconceptions of scientific knowledge and values were challenged and then reconciled. In this work I was informed by Gaston Bachelard's deliberations in Poetics of Space and the concept of 'science as cultural practice' outlined in the collected writings of Donna Haraway. Yet this was not a Consilience, as EO Wilson would prefer, but a montage layering of intervention and flow within site-specific, place narratives of fresh water.

The study concludes that the visual montage and the narrative offer inclusive and extended potential to deconstruct rigid structures and then recombine or hybridise these elements into an unexpected diversity of ideas. Intentionally, the reader is not offered yet another eco-political environmental narrative of water and rivers. These stories flow from one site to another, from colonial perceptions of progress and production to a natural recognition of absence and presence, and from scientific fact to mythical reality.

Item ID: 31799
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: visual stories; narrative space; place narratives; scientific narratives; human perception; alternative dialogue
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 02:17
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190103 Art Theory @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190503 Lens-based Practice @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950305 Conserving Natural Heritage @ 50%
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