Book: Fieldwork for Future Ecologies

Sam NightingaleNews, Publishing

Fieldwork for Future Ecologies: Radical practice for art and art-based research is soon to be published by Onomatopee. I have been working on this edited volume with my co-editors Bridget Crone and Polly Stanton for the last few years.

Bringing together contributions by artists, writers and theorists, Fieldwork for Future Ecologies addresses the role that art practice and art-based research plays in expanding notions of fieldwork. At once a handbook for research and practice and philosophical speculation, the book offers the unique opportunity to explore ways of working within vastly diverse climates and terrains using image, sound, movement and other sensing technologies. It also offers more creative and speculative interventions into the idea and location of the ‘field’ itself.

Focusing on a range of projects from across different geographic locations and situations, the book highlights the crucial contribution that art can make to environmental and climate studies offering a valuable intervention into current discussions of artistic practice and research. ‘Fieldwork for Future Ecologies’ presents a series of propositions and speculations … radical practices for radical times.

Contributing authors: Angus Carlyle, Alliance of the Southern Triangle/AST (D Bauer, F Grodin, P M Hernandez, E Kedan), Bianca Hester, Bridget Crone, David Burns, Henriette Gunkel and Eline McGeorge, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Julie Gough, Kate Pickering, Kreider + O’Leary, Kristen Sharp, Melody Jue, Nicholas Mangan, Philip Samartzis, Polly Stanton, Ruth Maclennan, Sam Nightingale, Saskia Beudel, Simon O’Sullivan, Susan Schuppli, Therese Keogh.

PoA workshop

Sam NightingaleEvents, News

Upcoming workshops

As a co-founder and member of the research/ practice collective, Practices of Attunement (PoA) I would like to announce we are facilitating a series of online workshops as part of HKW’s New Alphabet School #instituting public programme in June 2021. 

The workshop acts as a proposition that takes “instituting” as a nonfinite verb, a call to collective action: a never-ending form of speculation, adopting attentiveness, receptivity and movement as its constituent elements. PoA seeks to extend Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s notion of “study”: an encounter “where you allow yourself to be possessed by others,” instituting a mode of counter-maintenance, generating and maintaining felicitous conditions for encounters.  Over the past nine months, we have been meeting bi-weekly to undertake an ongoing process of study(ing) together. For New Alphabet School #Instituting, we invite you to join us in extended sessions that focus on maintaining, triggering or establishing the conditions for study via remote(ly) collective practices of attunement occurring (a)synchronously across multiple sites. In the unfolding space of study – being together and apart – PoA propose to encounter and attempt to attune to different, overlapping, inconsistent, unevenly distributed, (in)tangible and (un)bounded ecospheric entanglements.
The workshop will take place across a two-week period, where participants meet online twice in preliminary sessions prior to the event on June 25. The purpose of part 1 is to think through conditions and practices for attunement. Based on the participants’ experiences, part 2 will discuss possibilities to institute counter-institutional modes of study.

Participants need to be able to commit to all three gatherings. 

Part 1 – Field-Studies
Preliminary online workshops: Friday, June 11 and June 18, 11am–1pm CEST (Berlin) // 12noon – 2pm EEST (Athens) 

Part 2 – Practices for Deep-Hanging Out
Online workshop: Friday, June 25, 2:30pm–6pm CEST (Berlin) / 3:30–7pm EEST (Athens). For this session, participation on-site in Athens (Eight Collective, Politechneiou 8, Athina 104 33, 5–8pm EEST) is also possible. 

Information about registering for this and other #Instituting workshops is here. Details about HKW’s #Instituting programme can be seen below and the full schedule of events is found here. 


The workshop is part of HKW’s #Instituting: Public Programme – June 24-26 2021
with Stefano Harney, Fred Moten, ruangrupa and others. 

What could processes of self-organizing and collective making look like in the current landscape? In what ways might they affect public processes of social improvisation? How might such forms of “instituting” give rise to other forms of institutions? Inviting theoretical as well as practical approaches, this edition of the New Alphabet School studies “instituting” as an incomplete, fugitive and thus continuous process that constantly seeks out ways to interact with evolving strictures of the here and now. In their book Now (2017) the Invisible Committee argues that “in reality what we need are not institutions but forms… Everything that lives is only forms and interactions of forms”. How to begin to study this process, this evolving mutation and redefinition of forms as social improvisation, inseparable from emergent imaginings and imaginaries of a livable life?

The full schedule of events is found here. 

Practices of Attunement

Sam NightingaleOther

PoA Press is a series of thoughts set in motion by the study group “Practices of Attunement.” The Press is released bi-monthly, in attunement with the rhythm of the study group’s meetings. It includes patches from our collective practices, of thinking and being in the world together. Conceived as an archive and resource, you can read short reflections on previous meetings, listen to and watch music, films, and documentaries we shared across various time zones; in future editions, you can access our shared map, learn how to make crystals, go on asynchronous walks with us, and develop your own practices of attunement. The PoA Press is itself an infinite form of speculation: we invite you to explore and enjoy its messiness and non-locality.

See the first edition of PoA Press

Read What is PoA?

Watch this space or subscribe to PoA Press for news on workshops and events we will be hosting.

A couple of talks on salt

Sam NightingaleOther

Salt lake by Sam Nightingale

I am pleased to be presenting some of my research concerning salt as a mediating technology in November.

Practising Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation
Glasgow School of ArtUK. 13 November 2020: Booking here

The symposium asks: How do contemporary art and other interdisciplinary practices engage with (and expand) the themes of Land, Histories and Transformation? How can such practices work with contested histories, identities and remoteness in specific locations? What do land and other material practices reveal in terms of transformation, heritage and sustainability? Which practical, creative and critical theoretical frameworks are currently being utilised to interrogate the politics of Land, Histories and Transformation? How can a reflexive curatorial process activate these themes?

Salt: a crystal image of time
The mineral salt. This tiny halite that flows through our bodies; is preserved the chemistry of ancient oceans; this tiny halite is a primal medium that can make visible a land’s submerged past and foretells of future ecologies: salt a crystal image of time. Salt an elemental media….

Liquidity Cohort | Session 1: Saturation Epistemologies and Oceanic Media
Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, 18 November 2020

Melody Jue, hosted/ respondent Sam Nightingale

18 November 2020

In this session, Melody Jue will discuss saturation epistemologies in her book Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater and the forthcoming collection Saturation: An Elemental Politics (co-edited with Rafico Ruiz). Poised as an alternative framework to object-focused inquiries and metaphors of entanglement, saturation points us to those situations where substances are not so easily isolated or tangled but may be materially or figuratively co-present. Saturation starts as a form of watery thinking, drawing our attention to thresholds, phase changes, and precipitates of matter. Drawing on her work on theories of the interface in scuba diving and the photographic media of seaweeds, Jue traces the possibilities offered by saturation for rethinking our expectations of mediation in and through the ocean.

Sam Nightingale will respond to Jue to explore the condition of saturation by way of the mineral salt, staged through the encounter with the spectre of an ancient ocean in a semi-arid area of south-east Australia, where his practice-based research is situated. In a region saturated by salt and environmentally challenged by hyper-salinity, Nightingale presents salt as a mediating technology that discloses co-existing timescales and temporalities, complicating the threshold between preservation and mutability, and the ontological boundary between terrestrial and aquatic worlds.

The Liquidity Cohort is a growing group of researchers who work with various notions of liquidity from the body (in the broadest sense, human and otherwise) to material infrastructures. We are interested in “liquidity” as an immersive experience of being-in-the-world and its implications for practice; questions of how to write from states of immersion, how to work from the body immersed in experience. We are also interested in hydrological and technological infrastructures and their impacts on the body and its worlds. The Liquidity Cohort was initiated by Dr Bridget Crone (Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths) in 2018, and is open to researchers from CHASE institutions.

Melody Jue is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and works across the fields of ocean humanities, science fiction, STS, and media theory. Drawing on the experience of becoming a scuba diver, her book Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater (Duke University Press, 2020) develops a theory of mediation specific to the ocean environment. She is the co-editor with Rafico Ruiz of Saturation: An Elemental Politics (Duke Press, 2021) and co-editor with Zach Blas and Jennifer Rhee of Informatics of Domination (Duke Press, under contract). Jue has published articles in journals including Grey Room, Configurations, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Resilience, and Animations: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her new work explores the media of seaweeds in relation to photography, experimentation, and regenerative aquaculture.

Sam Nightingale is a visual artist and a PhD candidate in the department Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, and the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths). His practice and speculative fieldwork investigate ‘spectral ecologies.’ Working with experimental photographic methods, he explores how ‘spectral ecologies’ trace human and nonhuman histories and events enmeshed within organic and inorganic life, of salt, soil, and plants. Recent publications: ‘Para-photo-mancy: notes on biochemical images,’ Antennae (2019); ‘Cinétracts – cinematic cartography in the Australian Mallee’, Living Maps Review, (2019) ‘Photochemical Alchemy,’ CAA Art Journal Open (2019); He is currently co-editing a book entitled Planetary Fields: A Guide to Experimental Fieldwork for Future Ecologies.