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  • Jeremy Pataky

Reading & Exhibiting Nature International Conference

WESTMINSTER, London, England | I was invited to represent the Anchorage Museum at a conference convened by The University of Westminster called "Reading and Exhibiting Nature." This three-day conference examined how nature is understood in contemporary cultural and artistic production. The conference concluded with a poetry reading by myself and a performance by Inupiaq artist Allison Warden. I also gave a talk that introduced the work of two Inupiaq poets, Joan Naviyuk Kane and Cathy Tagnak Rexford, to the group.

The conference focused both in and beyond the polar regions, exploring how artists and scientists apprehend and represent natural phenomena, engage with emerging non-human materialities and translate environmental data into aesthetic experience. The conference sought to explore the shifting definitions of nature and how nature, including plants, animals, land, water/ice, and earth inserts itself into human affairs and cultural representations.

The conference was planned in conjunction with an exhibition presented during January and February 2014 in Ambika P3, the flagship exhibition space at the University of Westminster. Out of Ice by visual artist Elizabeth Ogilvie was a new commission of environments created with ice and ice melt, constructions, films of ice systems, film of scientific expedition from Antarctica, and poetic film, much of it created through collaborations with Inuit in Northern Greenland, and reflecting on their deep and sustaining relationships with ice. The exhibition portrayed the psychological, physical and poetic dimensions of ice and water and drew attention to ice processes. It described the presence of ice in the world from a human perspective in which the observational traditions of fieldwork combined with the artist’s trademark visual splendour.

The "Reading and Exhibiting Nature" international conference was planned in association with the University of Westminster and co-hosted by Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh and the Anchorage Museum, Alaska. The organizing committee included Elizabeth Ogilvie, visual artist, Edinburgh; Mark Eischeid landscape architect/artist, Edinburgh; artist and curator Michael Maziere, University of Westminster; Lindsey Bremner, Director of Architectural Research, University of Westminster; Katharine Heron, Head of Department of Architecture, University of Westminster; Jo Vergunst, anthropologist, Aberdeen and Julie Decker, curator, author, artist, Anchorage Museum. Keynote Address by Professor Tim Ingold, Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.


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