[Artist Tim Knowles on a 'windwalk' near Charing Cross, London. The contraption he wears, pictured below, is equipped with a video camera, GPS unit and a pivoting sail that points Knowles in the direction of wind flows in the city.]
Tim Knowles’ windwalks appear in Data Flow 2, amongst a diverse collection of many other creative works. We are particularly drawn to Knowles’ playful, yet direct exploration of urban ephemera; the way he combines physical embodiment with design craft and a creative mode of inquiry. A bit like the contemporary flaneur meets experiential urban ecologist.
Tim Knowles’ nightwalks (above and below) have a similar emphasis on mapping embodied movement through space. Using a long exposure, the photographic image records the artist’s nighttime treks along ridges, paths or compass bearings, carrying lights that reveal where he has traveled.
The artists other works also explore landscape phenomena through constructions beyond his own body, such as trees forced to draw, the wind as mapped by tethered helium balloons, and packages with cameras and motion detection equipment sent through the mail (forensic infrastructural studies?) . But in all of his works there is a direct, physical engagement with landscape phenomena – both ‘natural’ and constructed. The works themselves and the processes of arriving at them lack abstraction or reliance on received assumptions. They are more a series of physical experiments and observational studies of real space.
Walking. Seeing. Sensing. Touching…our shared, unavoidable condition of physical embodiment. The praxis of being in cities and landscapes. How is the notion of an ecological urbanism informed by embodied and direct forms of perception in addition to more abstract knowledge? Oddly, embodied forms of knowing seem to have slipped to the sidelines in our contested interpretations of systems and ecologies. Such forms of knowing certainly are not the emphasis. The immediate, intimate scale of ecology is less explored. Why? What’s lost? What might we gain by re-injecting a contemporary, expanded phenomenology into the research? Perhaps it more a question of scale and how to better link the immediate to the massive.
As summer approaches we are craving something like the Lucha Libre Landscape. Fecundity and the sensuous abound. We’ve added an embodied category and hope to explore a series of posts related to it over the next few months. Guest contributions and/or tips related to the topic are welcomed.
(all images courtesy Tim Knowles’ website)