Guest Lecture Series

Dr Polly Gould

Dr Polly Gould

No More Elsewhere: Antarctica though the Archive of the Edward Wilson (1872-1912) Watercolours

5pm, Thursday 8th December, Budden Lecture Theatre

In the light of recent centenaries remembering the heroic era of Antarctic exploration and the current focus on climate research in Antarctica, this research explores how art and writing, made out of observations of Antarctica through the archive, can inform contemporary questions regarding climate change. Art practice is a methodology within this research.

Particular attention is paid to Wilson’s impossible practice of ‘en plein air’ watercolour painting in the extreme sub-zero conditions of the polar environment. Wilson’s observations in landscape watercolours are then interpreted through the practice of observation in anthropology, with specific inquiry into the writing of anthropologist Franz Boas (1858 – 1942) and his work on the subjective interpretation of the colour of water.

The proposition is that the Antarctic archive can be interpreted to produce an ecological post-human optics founded on ice, charting a shift from a subject centered to an environment-oriented subjectivity - distorted, refracted, changed and challenged by its surrounding atmospheres and climates.

Polly Gould completed an AHRC funded PhD by Design in Fine Art and Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture in April 2016. Recent solo shows include No More Elsewhere, Danielle Arnaud, London, 2013. Curatorial projects include the touring show TOPOPHOBIA: Fear of Place in Contemporary Art, 2012. Gould has just been appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellow in design-led Architectural Research with ARC (Architectural Research Collaborative), Newcastle University with a proposal titled Ruskin’s Storm Cloud and Tyndall’s Floating Matter using watercolour as a speculative design practice to explore atmosphere and museum microclimates.