Norse cosmology from http://www.valkyrietower.com/freyja.html

For some reason my brain is buzzing this morning. We are a few days into the residency/journey with The Clipperton Project and I am thinking about the many different ways we experience and understand the world.

The other night the participants all got together and we had sort of an ‘induction’ with the group leaders. Part of this meeting involved reading a letter that the director of Clipperton Project, Jon Bonfiglio had written to us. It was a very interesting letter which outlined TCPs approach and aspirations. A couple of things in particular resonated for me: the role of interdisciplinary practice and also multidimensional experience.

Earlier this year I presented a couple of conference papers which explored transdisciplinarity as a process of change resulting from collaboration, diverse knowledge systems and connections to place/country. These papers (for the EVAA and Land Dialogues conferences) discussed specifically a number of projects – the Way of the Turtle collaboration with Lee Joachim and the Water, Peace, Power residency in Aotearoa brought together by Intercreate.

In those papers, transdisciplinarity is seen as having the potential to change how we see the world and understand each other and ourselves. It supports a Gaia principle, where human and non-human are all considered sentient beings with agency which exist within a cosmology. What interests me greatly are how those elements are intrinsic to Indigenous forms of knowledge – for example the dreaming of many Australian First Nation cultures. The dreaming comes forth in the form of stories but also speaks of how to look after the environment, how the land was made and social norms. Western science is starting to ‘get’ how important this knowledge is and how relevant it is to land management and environmental sustainability

Jon’s letter talked about a fourth dimension – time, which is important to consider when seeking understanding about a place and its people. I am also very drawn to other dimensions, the invisible and intangible forms of knowledge that shape our understanding of the world – the messages from our higher selves, the whispers from the ancestors, the sense I have been in a place before, deja vu and the symbolism of dreams. How do these intangible elements take form, how can they be a part of an understanding that opens minds to possibilities?

On my first SCANZ residency in 2013, I was very privileged to be part of a workshop led by the highly esteemed Māori Elder Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru. In this workshop he spoke about Māori cosmology as well as the idea of Te Kore (Potentiality). This concept of potentiality really resonated for me as it offered infinite possibilities to see the world differently and to create a different sense of ‘being’ in the world.

When considering my own cultural context, I am drawn to learn more about Norse cosmology and mythology as ways of understanding the environment and creation of the world. Are there connections to existing Indigenous understandings of the universe?

In my personal project Waters of the Past, I am trying to reconcile my lack of knowledge of my ancestors with building a greater understanding of place: the country of my birth as opposed to the lands of my ancestors. What are the stories of my ancestors lands, and where are the linkages to First Nation cultures which have an unbroken connection to land? Are there any?

What will be the learning through this experience, I am yet to know.

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About bytetime

Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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Art Projects, Artist Residency, Collaboration, Way of the Turtle

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