FLOATING PERIPHERIES – Mediating the Sense of Place is a research consortium of Aalto University and University of Lapland granted by the Academy of Finland (2017-2021)
Floating peripheries consortium is an artistic research project that aims at enlarging the understanding of ‘peripheries’ into areas that are difficult to verbalize. Peripheries are conventionally conceived as marginal geographical locations, whereas this project grasps them as an ambiguous and multifaceted phenomenon – as a conceptual domain, aesthetically and spatially experienced sensory spheres, states of mind shaped by complex associations and mental images, and activities enabled by digitalization. The research produces radically new strategies for unraveling the spatial and conceptual hierarchies and biased assumptions of what and where the ‘periphery’ is in relation to the ‘center’. The project deploys artistic research and its epistemic interests in a new way between the arts, body and society from a unique perspective. The multi-art research concretely moves into the public sphere in the form of artistic interventions to interfere and interrelate with different peripheral contexts. It tackles art as an effective agency of change that addresses pressing issues directly through the senses and on an emotional level, exceeding the operations of the rational mind and everyday reality. The peripheral phenomena appearing in urban space, social space, media space and nature are the basis for analysis and for artistic production. Today’s peripheral phenomena tend to be overwhelmed by centralized systems and mediated global assumptions, and hence the need for a multidisciplinary analysis is critical. The project’s art activities include interaction with local communities. Our hypothesis is that actual engagement with space adds one’s attachment to the neighborhood and to environment at large. The research brings the skills and epistemologies that have traditionally belonged to arts to be distributed among a wide spectrum of societal forums. In our view, the knowledge-based society has subordinated the perceived, sensed and personal to the ‘hard sciences’, banishing these dimensions to the discursive margins. The research proposes a more holistic and sensuous vision that adds value to urban and community planning by opening new paths for more extensive collaboration between artists, urban planners, environmentalists and residents in the future.
Keywords: periphery, artistic research, scenography, art interventions, media art, interdisciplinarity, public space, social impact of arts