Eva la Cour
Valand Academy, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Supervisor: Andrea Philips and Jyoti Mistry
Project duration: February 2016 – February 2021
Funding scheme: Artistic Research, Valand Academy.
Call Objective: To pursue advanced research through artistic practice.
+46 793356802, +45 30276901
The Figure of the Guide: Mediating the Arctic Terrain
Eva la Cour is a Danish visual artist and researcher with a background in fine arts as well as she is trained in visual anthropology. She works with audio-visual and spatial forms of montage and display, performance and text, always negotiating with her surroundings. As such her work reflects a general interest in skilled visions, mediation and epistemology, which she particularly has investigated in relation to landscapes of narratives and raw materials in High Arctic terrains.
Project: While Svalbard often functions as visually representative of the High Arctic, this extraordinary archipelago can in many ways be regarded as a regional anomaly. This makes Svalbard an interesting place to explore the figure of the guide as a tool to investigate and politicize the mediating agency of customary geopolitical, geohistorical and geoaesthetic approaches to the Arctic region, within the domains of both arts and science. An idea central to the research is thus that of the image-political Arctic – a fundament explicitly related to artistic practice, but also to the Arctic’s neo-colonial location in the context of environmental crisis. In this sense, the topic of the research hinges in the intersections between environmental histories and their mediation; imaginary geographies and their materialities. It bridges anthropological debates on practice and the construction of knowledge with contemporary discourses on decoloniality and materiality, which allows for modes of inquiring that lack previous research: Through a critical approach to the notion of the essayistic film-experiment, and use of collaborative live-editing, the research brings together questions of ‘how to construct an altered sense of historical / contemporary narrative?’ with ‘how to share authorship and ownership in a live-situation?’. Because, this situates and skills the guide in a context of image production and political economy across artistic and scientific research. Designed as a consecutive series of film-experiments that uses years of fieldwork material from Svalbard, the PhD project more generally seeks perspectives on how artistic practices may enable a shift in focus from that of representation to that of mediation, while speculating on the political and aesthetical implications of such a shift.