Tempo-materialities : encounters with time along Arctic island coasts
Time is at the heart of this doctoral research which engages with the Arctic island coasts of Jan Mayen, Bjørnøya and Hopen. As a means to work with different dimensions and scales of time along these coasts, I have chosen to examine the materials I encountered during excursions to the islands. Through this enquiry I have observed and speculated on the processes, conditions and changing states that give a sense of agency to these coastal materials thus revealing different expressions of time.
There are significant changes impacting these islands that infiltrate their terrestrial, marine and aerial environments. These are influenced by both anthropogenic and natural factors. In order to understand these changes occurring on a number of spatial scales I have explored, developed and applied different concepts of time that, I suggest, are suited to a material study of Arctic island coasts. Key questions in this research ask if there is a need to work with Arctic coastal environments differently from other terrestrial environments. In considering some of the more typically used concepts of time in landscape architecture, I proceed to question if alternative concepts are needed to address accelerated and unprecedented material changes along Arctic coastal environments. A broader question is posed asking if an immersive approach informs a greater understanding of time in landscape architecture. I take my position from within the discipline of landscape architecture. However, to address my research questions I have consulted a range of other disciplines that include cultural geography, anthropology, archaeology, art and geology.
Methodologically the research is qualitative. I situate my heuristic study along the coasts of Bjørnøya, Jan Mayen and Hopen and I apply a number of methods that demonstrate how pluralities of time unfold and interact in various ways. In-situ knowledge is transferred to a studio environment to further interrogate expressions of time entombed and expressed in the materials studied. This practical foundation underpins my arguments to extend notions of time in landscape architecture in addressing unpredictable and non-linear change. Another key component to this research is to express the relative and experiential aspects of Arctic island coasts. This has been done both as a reflective exercise to my research and to highlight the values of human and more-than human relations. I have adopted the term practicing time in this study to articulate my thinking and doing in engaging with time throughout the research process. It embodies a conscious and immersive approach to continually engaging with time.
My research culminates with a proposal of a tempo-material framework. The foundation to this framework builds upon theoretical and practical enquiries from this research. It establishes a range of time concepts and scales that range from deep-time to spontaneous temporalities.