Why Artistic Research matters: Beyond the eco-logical and towards the eco-sensitive

Liza Lim

This talk is my attempt to grapple with epistemological challenges around ecological concepts of sovereignty as an all-encompassing encultured form of knowing and being–an all-at-once-everywhere-everywhen-everything. In Indigenous cultures, the arts are centred as knowledge, as law, as repository of ecological encyclopaedias. Following that lead, I suggest that artistic modalities of knowing are crucial catalysts to how we might investigate the complex ecological challenges of our time because they provide ways of dealing with highly complex cross-modal all-at-once phenomena. In doing so, I make use of another term: the eco-sensitive as an affective, passionate practice of ecological relationalities.

The form of an analysis is already an epistemological structure; the story you tell is a way of knowing that organises the world; the beliefs you hold make their own rules. In search of new story-telling, I offer an experimental analysis of my recent work ‘Sex Magic’ (2020) for contrabass flute, kinetic percussion & electronics, created in collaboration with flautist Claire Chase and composer/instrument builder Levy Lorenzo. Developing notions of the ‘lyric’, of ‘contact noise’ and ‘respiration’ for an Écriture féminine (Cixious) that ‘writes’ on, with and through bodies, I speculate on music’s 'ultraviolet' registers of knowing and making, and through that to its relations to power beyond an ecology of ‘caring, daring, sharing’.