Art-based perceptual ecology as a way of knowing the language of place

Lee Ann Woolery (2006)

This arts-based autoethnographic study describes the practices of Art-Based Perceptual Ecology as a way of knowing the language of place. The research is grounded in a desire to find ways that people can come to know about the natural world which do not rely on the dominant Western scientific paradigm of logic and reason. I propose that practicing Art-Based Perceptual Ecology in landscapes supports art as a way of knowing landscapes. Further, I believe that making images through Art-Based Perceptual Ecology practices brings one to an awareness of the ecological patterns found at multiple scales in the landscape. The land's patterns are the configuration of ordered relationships found in a particular system. These patterns, when revealed, yield the language of place or stories in the land and lead one to the inherent wisdom found in the natural world. In this study, I recognize a relationship among key concepts that arise from the practice of Art-Based Perceptual Ecology integral to revealing and interpreting patterns in the landscape. These concepts are: direct experience in the natural world, magic, intuition, imagination, and the practice of Art-Based Perceptual Ecology. In this study, the researcher and co-participants will explore the questions: How is the practice of Art-Based Perceptual Ecology a way of knowing the language of place? How does the image created in Art-Based Perceptual Ecology reveal the land's stories and lead one to clues of the evolutionary history of the land? And, are the patterns discovered in the images meaningful to gaining a deeper understanding of a place?