‘I find the desire to paint the landscape involves a wish to hear more of the stories that take place in the landscape.’

Sydney Nolan, 1948

Art Mapping is the first of our public engagement events for this research project, exploring landscape and mobile technology in the field. Taking inspiration from the Tate Collection and from the current Tate Britain commission, Patrick Keiller’s The Robinson Institute, a group of participants will find, connect, interrogate and generate sound, image and text, through their mobile devices, in the vicinity of the two London Tate galleries.

We will survey how other artists’ projects have used photography, video, audio, SMS and geo-location and then, employing the functions that smart phones already offer, participants will research and construct a sense of place for themselves. You can see the projects we’ll be looking at on the right.

In Keiller’s works, the fictional scholar, traveller and alter-ego, Robinson, has used film to explore the ongoing environmental and economic crisis, in London and more recently in rural Oxfordshire and Berkshire. ‘Robinson aimed to find out more about his subjects by looking at, and making images of, landscape.’ (The Robinson Institute gallery text)

In the current installation, film is displayed alongside images and artefacts, many from the Tate Collection, in what appears at first to be a sort of three dimensional sketchbook. Further interrogation reveals seven stages of a journey where maps, books, geological specimens and works of art allow us to explore the ‘unfinished histories in landscape’. ( The Robinson Institute gallery text)

Digital technology enables us to prospect, collect, assemble and share just such an eclectic set of references, creating virtual journeys, stories or exhibitions through the internet. These can not only be viewed on a computer but also on location via mobile devices. How does the ability to create and curate in this way, enhance or transform our understanding of art and our experience of place? What kind of meaning are we making for ourselves and others?

In this workshop, we are particularly interested to examine the relationship between the experience of being present in a place, and engaging with other images or artworks that link to that place, and how that then triggers a creative impulse to record or represent or respond. What are the sites and sights of significance?

We will film the workshop and our participants’ responses to it. Through this, we hope to get a better understanding of this experience, not only to improve the design and user experience of the Art Maps app, but to gain insight into the motivation for this activity. We want to examine the nature of this participation as a learning experience as well as broadening engagement with works in the Tate Collection. Edited versions of the films will appear online, alongside our ongoing analysis, so watch this space…