Intimate material: Artful beyond words in the ‘posts’

Year: 2016

Author: Foley, Angela

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper traces the struggle for meaning during a pre-ethics-approval research space through creative practice. Faced with how to get beyond the moral imperative of identity politics in research with Wurundjeri people on Country in Melbourne, Australia, the non-Indigenous author sat confronted in a fraught space beyond words. Through an incidental excursion into the practice of printmaking, a highly formalised and procedural art form, the researcher was able to stay in an exacting place of unknowing and engage with the multiple, diverse intimacies of experiences in place. The intensely methodological nature of producing art prints created a space to experiment with complex unresolvable questions and remain in relation with the demands of this slow emotional work.Being alive to surprising encounters with material data and being open to wonder and potentiality (MacLure 2014) emerged as a vital element in the body-space-place research domain. The chine-collé technique featured in some of the author’s etchings is sometimes misunderstood as any type of glued collage, but really involves reanimations of glues and fibres in intimate processes of stickiness, coupling, weight, moisture and bonding. Continued creative encounters through printmaking unfolded ways to explore diverse kinds of body-space-place relations: between people and plants, papers, inks, steel, wood and glue materials; between people’s bodies and things; between people and places. The author draws on Ingoldian lines (2007) and Carter’s Ground Truthing (2010) to examine her experience of working in the postmodern emergent space of unknowing (Somerville 2007, 2008, 2013). Attention is directed away from qualitative research approaches that focus on final objects of artistic production such as drawings, paintings, maps and craftwork. Instead, this paper demonstrates the relational, intimate work involved in material thinking (Carter 2010) and mark-making (van Toorn 2006). The paper considers how artful research practice produced intimate encounters with materials and relationships to generate new modes of inquiry with Wurundjeri people on Wurundjeri Country. References:Carter, P. (2010). Ground truthing. Explorations in a creative region. UWA Publishing: Crawley, WA.Ingold, T. (2007). Lines. A brief history. Routledge: New York.MacLure, M. (2014). Reanimating data in qualitative research: The wonder of objects. Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester: UK.Somerville, M. (2007). Postmodern emergence. Qualitative Studies in Education, 20(2), 225-243.Somerville, M. (2008). 'Waiting in the chaotic place of unknowing’: articulating postmodern emergence. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 21(3).Somerville, M. (2013). Water in a dry land: Place learning through art and story. New York: Routledge.Van Toorn, P. (2006). Writing never arrives naked. Early Aboriginal cultures of writing in Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press: Canberra