Earlier this year artist Dominica Williamson and Plymouth University geographer Dr. John Martin presented their Leverhulme Artist in Residence project called #Tagscape at the Royal Geographical Society’s RGS-IBG Annual International Conference.
They presented the work in a threefold manner: at a panel discussion that was called to share artist/geography projects in the light of understanding funding, intellectual property and technical issues; through a workshop session that they ran for delegates in Kensington Gardens and in Dartmoor via remote access; and through an exhibition in the society’s historic Tea Room.
The Tea Room is steeped in history as is Kensington Gardens and the remote site in Dartmoor that they have been working in for the past year – Bellever Forest. The Tea Room entertained the parkscape and forestscape’s and the project, for the RGS-IBG event(s) was advertised as ‘TAGSCAPE: The Living Room’, for literally the artist Dominica turned the Tea Room into a ‘living room’ whilst also hooking up via live video link to the Youth Hostel Association’s Living Room in Bellever. “It was something of a Yellow Wall Paper moment.” says Dominica, “It was Charlotte Perkins Gilman meeting an American Sunny Side Up order.”
“The yellow colour of the room made it extra visceral due to an amazing bay window that caught the day’s sun, the drapes and wallpapers spoke of a bygone age as did an important Arabian colonial oil painting, and then I added to it out of context potted trees from America and other non-indigenous plants, as well as a number of female delegates. Perhaps we should have also hooked up to the Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group session! Throughout the day and into the evening, waiters passed on occasion. They were serving the 2000 strong delegate force in the marquee aside us”.
Dominica delights in the fact that “several RGS-IBG staff said it was their ‘favourite thing’ of the conference and several delegates returned to the space to the see the event(s) unfolding”. One of John and Dominica’s favourite moments was the meeting of delegates from the conference with the local crew in Dartmoor comprising John’s students. This event has helped build capacity with local users who live in the immediate radius of Bellever Forest.
Dominica will continue to work with them over the Winter months. Cole Collier, who is entering his third year BA in Fine Art assisted Dominica with the installation and all the workshop activities. This has helped to build on his second year Fine Art placement that focused on working with Landscape based project work through Dr. John Martin’s research activities.
TAGSCAPE is a project that explores ways of visualizing information about natural landscapes and turning it into innovative maps that will engage the general public and not just the specialist. The project is interdisciplinary and has been funded by the Leverhulme Artist-in-Residency scheme.’ www.tagscape.co.uk