Landscapes of Energy & Extraction: Landscape as Archive

18 March 2022

In this talk Dr Alex Hale and Dr Gina Wall shared their collaborative work which explores heritage landscape-as-archive.

Their interdisciplinary research engages in the practice of what Henk Slager calls the para-archive, provoking affective ways of thinking and making which have the potential for new intersubjective relations to manifest between the human and the world. The archaeological tropes of excavation and stratigraphy speak to the discipline’s historic concern for the extraction and archiving of artefacts, including human remains, from the past. However, to think of the landscape-as-archive is to orient our attention to the surface, and to the archaeology of the present. In the thick present, the past and present are diffract through each other, and the future is continuously re/assembled.

This session was chaired by Michail Mersinis.

Alex Hale is a Senior Archaeology Researcher at Historic Environment Scotland. He undertakes research into Scottish heritage landscapes, ranging in scale from historic and contemporary graffiti, to climbing heritage landscapes. His work attempts to be collaborative, practice-based, creative and research focused. He was recently awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh research workshop grant with the aim to explore archaeological perspectives to the political, economic and environmental challenges facing Scotland in the present day. Alex is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists. 

Gina Wall is a research-led practitioner who works within the landscape, exploring the relation between land, photography and text. She has an interest in the physical and photographic encounter with landscape as spectral which has led to a preoccupation with time and landscape, and a sense that particular landscapes of ruination may lend themselves to experience and interpretation as places of competing temporalities. Gina is an invited member of a number of external funded research networks and she is an active member of the cross-disciplinary Reading Landscapes research group at the Glasgow School of Art. 

Michail Mersinis is an artist from Greece, whose work revolves around the utopian imaginary and the sense of place.

Art & Archaeology References

Bailey, D. W. (2014) Art//archaeology//art: letting-go beyond, in I. A. Russell & A. Cochrane [Eds] Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms. New York: Springer-Kluwer, pp. 231–50.

Thomas, A., Lee, D., Frederick, U. &White, C. (2017) Beyond art/archaeology: research and practice after the ‘creative turn’ forum, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 121–9.

TOP IMAGE: Roseisle Forest © Gina Wall

Scalan Graffiti © Historic Environment Scotland

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