| subscribe | live | repertoire | media | company | search | email |
| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | References |

Bonemap's Ecological Hybridisation.
an approach to contemporary art practice

An ecological paradigm relates to the creative philosophy, working practices and processes of the contemporary art group Bonemap. This ecological approach is a philosophy that offers resistance to static representations of human environments. A creative practice as meta-theory that remains in flux and responsive to the fluidity of contemporary life. In particular, this approach is responsive through the embodiment of ecological perceptions, the virtual and the visceral, the implied and explicit. Its context is both rupture and residue. These considerations are simultaneously buoyed by a respect and sensitivity towards the future of Earths endemic ecosystems.

Rather than positioning research methods within an empirical, benign or static stream, Bonemap's ecological and artistic concerns pour over an unnameable ocean, where uncharted flux has neither anchor, nor fathom found. Moving towards a proposal for fluid creativity that accepts plurality and multiplicity as an open navigation for the imagination and its desire to communicate. Perhaps set adrift in the sublime aim to articulate a deep ecology of interconnected meaning and associations as a unique poetic vessel.

In a relationship between the breadth of performance and the rigour and context of visual art, there has developed a hybrid genre known as live art. Lois Keidon (2002:Introduction) claims live art is "acknowledged as one of the most vital and influential of creative spaces, that operates in the cracks of our culture". For Bonemap it is also a rupture that renders the cracks between artistic disciplines overt, revealing fluidity where we expect to find the static. Bonemap adopts the term 'Live Art' for its performance and dance-based practice.

Live Art attempts to liberate performance from traditional definitions such as 'performing arts' and 'performance art'. This allows associations that extend genres into multidisciplinary practices. For Bonemap it allows investigation of performance as an ecological strategy. The concern is a reconciliation of organism with environment as a significant embodiment of artistic engagement within endemic sensitivity to time and place.

Research with the body and surround, through accessing out-of-awareness perceptions is a performative floodgate. This is resistance to culturally acquired and learned perceptions that restrict cognitive response to organism and environment interrelationships. Interpretation of environmental perception as subjective interrelationships allows a deepening embodiment. It is demarcation that articulates as body topography, and performance map where the territory expands across the virtual and the visceral.

The Bonemap project is a hybrid mesh of live art, installation and new media. These broad terms are used to circumscribe an artistic manifestation. The evidence presented is representative of the collaborative art practice and attempts to briefly articulate the proposal for a creative ecological approach. This reflection is concerned with phenomenology, aesthetics, representation, the ecological, the economic and communications theory. As the argument oscillates around macro and micro considerations, the discussion is divided into subheadings: ecology, practice, process, performance, new media performance and digital archives. It begins by offering usage of the term ecology, and its currency for Bonemap.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

Earth science has formerly been associated with disparate areas of investigation and study. The science of Ecology is concerned with integration through proximity. Broadly, it is a meta-science of interrelationship between organisms and their environments. The term ecology also has currency for sociology and cultural anthropology. Most recently the term and more specifically the natural science implication of the term has been appropriated into the language of computers and programming in the field of artificial life (Ray. 1998:88). Therefore, the concept of ecology is not fixed in a singular definition and has implications across the hard and soft sciences as well as creative interpretation.

In the context of Bonemap's creative practice the ecological paradigm extends a meta-theory across the consideration of physical systems and interrelationships to the impacts on expression and production. Specifically through an awareness and investigation of the origins of materials, the way projects, objects and products are constructed, and the physical, philosophical and psychological purposes of various project components.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

There is an ethical imperative in adopting an ecological paradigm in the current economic orthodoxy. Biologist Zev Naveh (2000:Online, Accessed 01 April, 2002) has suggested the Earth science of Ecology be considered along side the science of Economics in a merger. Naveh (2000:ibid) points out that "both ecology and economy have their etymological roots in the Greek term 'oikos,' which means 'house'." Naveh (2000: ibid) also discusses the integration of ecology and economics, concluding, "it may not yet be possible to fuse the two disciplines together as a 'super science'." The practice of implementing an ecological framework for both process and product should not be crudely transposed to ecological process and economic product. As a philosophical foundation Bonemap's ecological principle does not make a distinction between nodes, rather priority within interrelationships opens the over-arching possibility of process as product. Beyond any one niche for creative practice interpretation of cultural indicators is initiated through social, environmental, material and temporal interrelationships, rather than isolated occurrence and singular meanings, disciplines or outcomes. For Bonemap this represents a move away from objects, towards relationships with the ultimate aim of re-enchantment between human and Earth.

This ecological model suggests engaged awareness of hybridisation within expanded production systems of art and creativity. It links the role of artistic practice and creative production to interaction within a social and environmental fabric through the methodology and ethics of production and deployment. This is not a benign worldview, but one that that seeks sustainable futures, allowing the flexibility to develop appropriate innovation and response mechanisms within changing contemporary practice. It is not limited to the embodiment of artistic product and extends to creative research and development processes. This creates the possibility for the practice to emergence throughout a number of fields such as socially engaged art, contemporary art, public art, cultural heritage etc. The ecological approach interrogates creative practice providing a mode of operation for the organisation and representation of its hybridity.

For Bonemap ecological associations are at times awkward to articulate as a methodology for creative processes, as the practice often operates outside genre boundaries at odds with accepted norms. This has become evident in the narrow field of arts practice in cultural niches outside the creative milieu of urban centers. It is possible however, that working at the geographic periphery of contemporary culture allows access to a creative terrain with difference, diversity and potential for new forms of engagement and attunement. Rather than becoming politically invisible Bonemap’s creativity exemplifies tolerance. It offers the fluidity of practice positioned in resistance to established orthodoxy while responsive to the global city and urban institutional structures. While Bonemap’s foundation has been decentred and operating remotely dialogue with broad communities of practice has flourished.

The ecological paradigm's political edge demands a rupture of current notions of justice and morality, suggesting alternative models for the primary status of wellbeing. If to be human requires the organising boundaries of a body, and the environment for which it depends along with the Self as the disembodied mind, Bonemap's ecological paradigm is a constant reconciliation with the body in crisis.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

An ecological paradigm can be applied as a methodology to creative processes. The Earth science model based on interrelationship of organism and environment provides a reference for the hybridised meshing of live art and installation. The model translates quite literally - live [art]/organism and installation/environment. This focuses on a conceptual duality, whereas the potential for the ecological principle is multifaceted. The model does however, allow for a discussion of the merits of live art/installation within the representation of ecological concerns.

One important creative consideration is the principal of locating knowledge within spatial and temporal interrelationships, through embodiment as awareness beyond the separation of subject and object [organism and environment]. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake (1993:44) discusses this divisiveness as it relates to "disembodied science" in his book The Rebirth of Nature: New Science and the Revival of Animism. It is exactly a separation of the living environment as 'other', 'inanimate' and 'object' that the ecological paradigm aims to reconcile. It seeks to place subjectivity firmly in a non-linear space/time continuum as integral to the unnamable flux that constitutes environments.

Experience, cognition and apperception of environments as real or imagined space and time are the topography and phenomena of the Bonemap project. Hence an ecological approach to live art/installation resists a simplistic physical environment model. The approach aims for consideration of the metaphysical, imagination, the visible world and the vision of worlds. Although this distinction privileges the hegemony of vision and giving priority to the image is not necessarily conducive to the breadth of the principle, it serves to contextualise a difference of perception. Jean-François Lyotard (1991:98) discusses how subjectivity and objectivity becomes "a problematic union" and that "a deepening of both" states may be an embodiment of existence. This aggregate positioning of Being constitutes a revisioning and reconstruction of perception. This reconstruction can be expressed creatively through manipulation of performance time and video time within the live art/installation process. The discontinuity of time perception allows shifts within the presence of the performer, who may control recognisable body/time/space rhythms to become integrated into the environment or move the environment around and through the body. Min Tanaka (Viala & Masson-Sekine, 1988:26) has said, "I don’t dance in the place, but I am the place."

The trajectory of time as a temporal and spatial dimension along with its subjective embodiment, implicates live art and installation processes as a creative representational strategy within an ecological paradigm. Time based and durational mediums allow for shifts in subjective perception with fluidity, transformation and movement, as opposed to the manifestation of a static representation. This is an acknowledgment that movement, as an integral quality of perception within distance and time, is shared between performance and the moving image. Similarly installation can be read in this context as there is the assumption that it is a performative genre, invariably situating the viewer as (moving) subject within environmental space.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

To define a philosophy is to identify a way of conceptualising and relating to the world, but rather than suggesting there is only one way to do this, let's assume there is fragmentation and multiplicity. Within Bonemap's performative practice based on an ecological axiom, procedural arms emerge to loosely embrace the project. These are strategies of the ephemeral and those of the campaign.

Strategies of the ephemeral focuses on performative action in time, unfixed and contingent on flux, it makes it possible to map performance with life, and life with performance. Mapping specificity of site onto the body as an embodiment of environmental elements is topography of the body interpreted as texture, emotional resonance, image work, and micro improvisation. The performers presence develops through physical and imagined contact with specific environmental elements and investigation of time as performative and sculptural depth. Exercises or experiential processes may involve contact between flesh and earth. Performance therefore can be an ecological reproach to the distinction of figure and ground as a separation between subject and object, and can be conceptualised as an amalgam or embodiment of time and space - in the moment. Emphasis is placed on how the body is sensitised to receive immediate spatial and environmental information, and in turn to then embody this information as a movement archive. The performer aims to establish awareness of micro and macro sensitivity as small and large changes within immediate environmental conditions providing modulations and nuance. To be able to draw on environmental experiences as body and nerve memory for incorporation into performance, making the performers role to convey site-specific mapping into a performance space. The body itself can be treated as an environment - the body as site.

Ephemeral time based performance strategies extend environmental resonances by accessing time as a spatial and sculptural reference. The ephemeral strategy integrates nature and life, attempting to strip or reveal cultural identity. To expose life and nature through the explicit body is to approach the radical edges of the lived experience. This ephemeral approach can deal with themes of entropy, fragility, transformation, reconfigurement, journey and the durational.

While ephemeral strategies may include actions over time, those based on the campaign turn to the ecological principle as a political strategy. In identifying and experiencing specific conditions within the environment and reacting to them through performance strategies Bonemap is making the assumption that the ecological integrity of the Earth is under threat. The human condition is one of continual crisis that can be embodied as a performative language. Politicisation of issues, environmental activism, narrative and metaphor can be expressed as strong identifiable images and motifs to convey political messages. A relationship between political activism and policy can refer to militant and dissident inclinations through the use of networks, civic action, and guerilla performance. Strategies based on the campaign reveal complicity between social injustice and perceptions of natural disorder.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

New Media Performance
Bonemap's new media performance aims are a navigation of implied space with the potential to shift between implicit and explicit perceptions. To distinguish new media performance as a technologically mediated arena, perceptual complexity is manifested through live, real-time, imagined and alluded meaning, physical presence is a construct of layered environmental and spatial perceptions. As a theatrical form it has been referred to as the intelligent stage. At this time the term performance mediaspace and new media performance suggest a platform extending beyond those associated with the conventional architecture of theatre.

New media performance is an arena where the convergence of formerly disparate technological languages interpolates to become multimedia platforms in performance mediaspace. In these environments the signifiers brought to our perceptions have an underlying language or code contingent on the mediation of a machine controlled and wired environment. To find an ecological subjectivity within this space requires the coalescence of the body within layers of context. Perception of performance mediaspace occurs through a diversification of conscious and cognitive responses. Thus providing the means for its own perceptible dialogue and receptive empathy, built upon the complexity of implied and explicit layers of meaning. For Bonemap the technologically mediated body is an extension of the human into imagined ecological relationships and perceptual resonances providing an interface within the current human/machine epoch. The performative spaces created are not devoid of meaning, but they resist obvious narratives. Meaning is constructed and communicated through a synthesis of mediated signs and sonic moments within a non-linear structure.

These mediated platforms have the potential to reinterpret the body and its interrelationship to space/time through electronic representation. Providing the perception of a feedback loop inscribing and distributing the implied body as a site for individual and collective presence. This renders the explicit visceral body within a compromise of fragmented images, sounds and implied perceptions of space/time. What becomes a compromise for the perception of the visceral body is an amplification of another type of mediated ephemeral embodiment. Through Bonemaps use of teleprescence within performance the mediated body is amplified and mythologised. New media authorship becomes disrupted and distributed and the individual frame becomes the collective.

Through illusion of virtual space and implied information electronic media becomes simultaneously imagined space and the semblance of space exchanging existence and experience. For Bonemap the ecological principle is a reconstruction central to shared and personal topography. Through these technologically mediated relationships creative terrains are forms of presence. The critical engagement within Bonemaps performance mediaspace and of mediating technology is how to reveal subjective and explicit interrelationships within grounded ecological approaches as they are expanded into the imagination as both the visceral and the virtual.

| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |

Digital Archive
Bonemap aims to identify inhabitable niches within creative and cultural terrains as potential sites for artistic practice. As a methodology, ecological currency extends across artforms. As habitats creative and tactical media provide a stratum for the emergence of content through project-oriented evolutionary processes.

This hybrid structure acknowledges the creative process as a collection of fragments. Generative and emergent material can be guided through alternating principal disciplines as components of a larger body of work. While contemporary perception continues to appreciate growing levels of simultaneity, each component continues to require differences of reception and empathy. The Bonemap project is prone to waves of this contemporary multiplexity. The performance module allows empathy for the direct reception of differences simultaneously for example during the mixing of mediated and live elements, whereas the new media object extends the life of the ephemeral moment and packages process as product.

In response to a demographically peripheral and decentred position Bonemap's practice has engaged with digitally transposed media as a module allowing exposure to remote and satellite audiences. The digitally transposed module is often a new media object converging project generated media. Although this tends towards objectification in that it produces new media objects, its content also tends towards documentation and archive.

While Bonemap's processes are 'ruptures', the outcomes are 'residue' of a deliberately ephemeral practice. As documents that simply say - this process happened and can be witnessed as this archive - they must acknowledge the awkward tension between objectification as a video or screen based aesthetic and that of project documentation. These representations drift away from subjective intention to the transformations of screen space. Kinesthetic relationships transfer to framing, edit decisions, sound and design.

Awkward relationships arise between the ecological aims of the project and the role and representation of the new media object. Any subjective reading of live performance is filtered by the objectivity of the screen and the expectations and assumptions in screen based convention. The representation operates at the level of image, where limitations of perceptual sensory devices and information require imaginative placeholders as replacements for kinesthetic empathy. Just as the performers are engaged in action through body and nerve memory the viewer of the digital representation is asked to 'fill-in' kinesthetic perceptual experience through substitutes from their own imagination and memory. Information that is not available to see, touch, hear or smell is the limitation of the video representation and potentially substituted from the imagination and memory of the viewer. The performative installation has the potential to redeem the archival screen-image as a tool for embodiment of the ecological. It offers some respite from the objectification of the screen particularly when it situates the viewer and electronic image within a subjective interrelationship.

An example of kinesthetic imaginative substitution described by Madeline Gins and Arakawa (2002:12) discusses "imaging landing sites" in their philosophical treatise "Architectural Body". They explore awareness as "events composed of kinesthetic- and proprioceptive- perceptual landing sites" in their articulation of subject and surround.

Bonemap's most didactic interface is a networked archive, which contributes to the presence of a digital landscape extending beyond national and political borders. This website archive has an implicit relationship to the ecological paradigm. Global networks have enhanced distributed presence and geographical awareness through the virtual manifestation of spatial relationships. The digital divide is breached through electronic adjustments to proximity where deepening shared and disparate values inform human ecological awareness. In addition a networked society is at once constructed culturally, is cutomisable and is an extensive geographical (global) information system. Detailed satellite image mapping of all terrestrial hemispheres has removed the possibility of terra incognita on Earth. These topographical images are available for order and download from the World Wide Web. Communication technology has made us less ignorant of Earth's planetary terrain.

Expanded access to technology and communication within the digital revolution corresponds to a reduction of the frontier and wilderness as physical and psychological terrains. This has effectively transformed perception of Earths globe into a cultural landscape. Almo Farina (2000:Online. Accessed 05 April, 2002) argues that geographical terrain becomes cultural landscape through the proximity of ecology and economics where "two-thirds of the terrestrial surface of the planet is covered by agricultural land, livestock grazing areas, and managed forests" (Farina, 2000:ibid) I would add to this the real estate of built environments, military/industrial complexes, information and communications systems etc. Yet the notion of landscape reduces perception to that of two-dimensional image and its objective disembodied view, separating subject and ground (Carlson, 2000:34).

For Bonemap media communication is an extension of environmental space and time. Through the implications of broadcast and telaesthesia, the mediated image monitors a vast topography. This topography is a semblance of truth, an approximation of distance, time and space, as an implied aggregate perception. To know there is unknowing as distance beyond the frame, the considered implications of telaesthesia become perception through a tenuous knowledge. This perception remains as thin or as deep as the primacy of the information itself.

The Bridge is a lifeline
Between North and South
It is a trajectory
Passing over
The river
The water
Is a depth
I do not know
Or knowing
There is no truth
I look down
Into the


| Introduction | Ecology | Practice | Process |
| Performance | NewMedia | DigitalArchive | Biblography |


Berman, Morris. 1981. The Re-enchantment of the World. Cornell University Press. Ithica, New York.

Bonemap - http://www.bonemap.com

Carlson, Allen. 2000. Aesthetics and the Environment, The appreciation of nature, art and architecture. Routledge, London and New York.

Farina, Almo. April, 2000. 'The Cultural Landscape as a Model for the Integration of Ecology and Economics'. BioScience Online. Navah, Z. (Ed). American Institute of Biological Sciences. http://www.findarticles.com (no longer available on the server)[Accessed 01 April, 2002]

Gablik, Suzi. 1991. The Re-enchantment of Art. Thames and Hudson. London and New York

Gins, Madeline and Arakawa. 2002. Architectural Body. The University of Alabama Press.

Keidon, L. and Brine, D. (eds). 2002. Exposures. Live Art Development Agency. Black Dog Publishing, London.

Lyotard, Jean-François. (trans. Beakley, B.) 1991. Phenomenology. State University New York.

Naveh, Zev (ed). April 2000 (special issue). 'The Total Human Ecosystem: Integrating Ecology and Economics'. BioScience Online. American Institute of Biological Sciences.http://www.findarticles.com (no longer available on the server)[Accessed 05 April, 2002]

The New Penguin English Dictionary. 1987. Penguin Books.

Ray. Thomas S. 1998. 'Evolution as Artist'. Art@Science. C. Sommerer and L.Mignonneau (eds). Springer, New York.

Sheldrake, Rupert. 1993. The Rebirth of Nature: New Science and the Revival of Animism. Rider. London and Sydney.

Space Imaging - http://www.spaceimaging.com

The Union of Concerned Scientists - http://www.ucsusa.org/index.html

Viala, Jean & Masson-Sekine, Nourit (eds). 1988. Butoh - Shades of Darkness. Shufunotomo. Tokyo, Japan.

| subscribe | live | repertoire | media | company | search | email |