Saoirse Higgins

Survival Tools of the Anthropocene

Remote islands, e.g. Orkney, occupy a unique viewpoint on the world from the edge looking in. The ‘signal to noise’ ratio is stronger as man’s connection to nature is more concentrated compared to urban environments where we are often shielded from nature with technology. Can these small pioneering communities, which often experience the direct effects of climate change, make a telling contribution to the issues of man-nature survival in the anthropocene world? I am interested in researching how we as interdisciplinary artists and designers can create a set of ‘anthropo’ survival tools that help to indicate and monitor the local and global changes happening in this Orkney context.

I am an artist-designer from Dublin, Ireland, recently moved to Papa Westray, one of the Orkney Islands. I am carrying out research here as part of my practice-based art and design PhD with Glasgow School of Art’s Creative Futures Partnership with the Highlands and Islands. My background is in design with a BDes Industrial Design from National College of Art and Design, Dublin. I have an MA Interactive Media from the Royal College of Art, London and an MSc Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab, Boston. In my projects, I am interested in revealing some of the connections between our visions of the world we live in, our expectations for the future and the technology we use to help us with this. I explore the contested spaces of man-nature, man-technology. My work is process-driven and has a scientifically-influenced, playful approach. I have shown my work internationally in places such as Shanghai-China, Montreal New media festival, Transmediale-Berlin, Exit Art and Location One gallery-New York. I have held residencies at Listhus-Iceland, Swatch Peace Art Hotel, Shanghai, China; Disonancias in Spain; Location One gallery in New York and the Banff Centre for the Arts. I am currently collaborating with the Papa Westray Trust and have recently collaborated with the Icelandic Glaciological Society.

Research Keywords: survival, anthropocene, tools, sea levels, measure, monitor.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Lynn-Sayers McHattie

Contact: S.Higgins1@student.gsa.ac.uk