The Geopoetics of Drawing; Glossary

By 10th January 2022 Creative Practice
Much of the literature surrounding The Geopoetics of Drawing presumes a great deal of prior knowledge about complex ideas relating to philosophy, ethics, anthropology, psychology and geography. Some key texts and authors also use vague, poetic language or academic sesquipedalian speech (the use of big words to sound smart) to communicate ideas. This accompanying Glossary summarises some key terms and theories (including, but not limited to, terms used within my literature review on the topic) in the hope that conversations around this topic may be more inclusive.
Aesthetics The field of thought that explores how pleasure is associated with perception. An aesthetic response is when perception results in heightened emotion or feeling.
Aesthetic Value When a thing (e.g. organism, place, landscape) is given value as a result of its looks or beauty.
Animism The belief that all living organisms, inanimate objects and natural phenomena has a soul.
Anthropocene The still debated, unofficial geological period that describes the time in which humans have made a significant impact on Earth’s climate and ecosystems.
Anthropocentrism Refers to a human-centered point of view, in which humans are more important or more valuable above anything else. Peter Vardy (1945 -) distinguished between strong anthropocentrism (that humans are rightly at the centre of reality) and weak-anthropocentrism (humans can only interpret reality from a human perspective, so have to be at the center)
Anthropospherics From the word anthroposphere, which describes the parts of the environment that is made or modified by humankind. This can include built environments, culture and technology.
Artist-philosopher An idea put forwards by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) that likens artists to philosophers, suggesting that they are the philosophical bridge between Apollonian rationality (in reference to the Greek god Apollo) and Dionysian passion and experience (in reference to the Greek god Dionysus).
Artivist A portmanteau of ‘art’ and ‘activist’, sometimes used to describe creative practitioners or works that tackle socio-political-environmental concerns. Artivism is a similar portmanteau of ‘art’ and ‘activism’.
Behaviourism This is a school of psychological thought that argues that all behaviours are a result of conditioning, brought about from learned responses to external/environmental stimuli.
Biocentrism An ethical stance that argues that all life – not just human – has equal moral value and thus deserves equal moral consideration. Used interchangeably with ecocentrism.
Biological Ecology Ecology was coined by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) to refer to the scientific study of biological organisms, and their interactions with each other and their environment.
Biotic Ethics A branch of ethics that values life in and of itself. There is a focus on conservation, with the premise that acts which sustain life are good, and acts that destroy life are bad.
Cartesian Refers to René Descartes (1596-1650), an influential thinker who argued that the mind is completely separate from the physical body.
Cosmos An orderly, holistic understanding of the universe.
Dark Green Spirituality A concept proposed by Bron Taylor (1955 -) describes a set of religion-like beliefs and practices that centre around the conviction that nature has intrinsic value and therefore deserves care and respect. This can include, but does not refer exclusively to, actual nature-based faiths.
Deep Ecology An influential philosophy and social movement, developed by Arne Naess (1912-2009) and George Sessions (1938-2016), argued that humans must radically transform their relationship with nature from one that sees it for its instrumental value, to one that recognises its intrinsic value. There are 8 key premises which serve as a guide to help people articulate their own deep ecological positions.
Denkraum Roughly translates from the German ‘denken’ (thinking/reflection) and ‘raum’ (space) to describe a personal, mental ‘thinking space’.
Diegesis The presentation of a narrator’s interior view of the world within a story.
Drawing in the Expanded Field Loosely based on Rosalind Krauss’ (1948 -) Sculpture in the Expanded Field (1979), it is a personal, experimental approach that investigates drawing through the lens of another and without limitation. Used interchangeably with the Expanded Field of Drawing.
Dualistic A perspective that maintains that there are two contrasting, mutually exclusive choices or realities.
Earth-practices Compassionate ways of being, or doing, that work alongside or on behalf of the Earth, with the aim of nurturing Nature, eco-creativity, and personal and communal wellbeing.
Earthworks Part of the wider conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this term describes a type of Land Art that is made by making formations in the land using locally sourced natural materials.
Ecoaesthetics Eco-aesthetics refers to the interdisciplinary approach which connects aesthetic appreciation to the protection and preservation of nature.
Ecocentrism Used interchangeably with biocentrism (see definition)
Ecocritical Ecocriticism is an interdisciplinary study of how literature treats the subject of nature. It is a lens which asks readers to focus on the human:non-human relationship.
Ecofeminism A branch of feminism that highlights the links between women and nature, especially how both are treated by a patriarchal (male-centered) society.
Ecohumanities An interdisciplinary area of research that asks questions about meaning, culture, ethics, values and moral duty surrounding environmental concerns. Draws upon environmental: philosophy, science, technology, anthropology and communication.
Eco-literacy An awareness and understanding of the basic principles of nature-relatedness and how to live ethically (in an environmental sense) on our planet.
Ecology of mind A theory put forwards by Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) which suggests we need to change our thoughts as well as our actions.
Ecophenomenology A branch of phenomenology (see definition) that explores how the environment and the Earth is experienced.
Ecophilosophy Used interchangeably with Ecosophy and sometimes referred to as ‘ecological wisdom’, this is a philosophical approach developed by philosopher Arne Naess (1912-2009) and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari (1930-1992) that highlights the importance of action and value-based personal beliefs.
Ecopoetics Sometimes used interchangeably with Geopoetics, this is a type of poetry that has a strong ecological message.
Ecopsychology A transdisciplinary field that explores both psychology and ecology in studying the emotional bond between humans and the Earth, often with a focus on promoting sustainability.
Eco-sensitive Showing a compassionate awareness and understanding to the needs of, and difficulties experienced, by the Earth.
Eco-signs Signs and patterns seen or experienced throughout nature (e.g. animal markings, rock formations, water movements). ‘Geo-wisdom’ describes the lived understanding of these eco-signs.
Ecospirituality The intuitive, embodied, spiritual connection between humans and that which is non-human. It may manifest as having religion-like beliefs or practices, and/or elements of environmental activism.
Ecosystem A geographic area in which plants, animals, other organisms, weather and landscape form a ‘bubble’ of life. It’s an ecological system that consists of all the living organisms and the physical environments in which they interact.
Epistemology A philosophical branch that explores the nature, origin and limits of human knowledge.
Eudaimonic wellbeing The type of happiness that is achieved through meaningful purpose and self-actualisation (the complete realisation of one’s potential).
Expanded Field of Drawing Used interchangeably with Drawing in the Expanded field (see definition).
Gaia hypothesis A theory proposed by chemist James Lovelock that suggests the planetary biosphere is a self-regulating, life-like organism that maintains life-supporting conditions. Although a scientific theory, it has been adopted by animist environmentalists as a way to describe ‘Mother Nature’.
Genius loci Originally referring to the protective spirit of a place, but now or usually describing the unique physical and perceived qualities of an environment, it is a Latin term meaning the ‘genius of the place’. Norberg-Schulz expands upon this notion to suggest that human identity arises from this identity of place.
Global North An unofficial geographical term that encompasses wealthy industrialised countries and areas, generally located in the Northern Hemisphere (with the exception of countries like Australia and New Zealand). This is in contrast to the Global South, which are less economically developed countries, generally within Africa, Asia and Latin America. Voices from the Global South tend to be overlooked or diminished in global discourse, in favour of the wealthier and more influential Global North.
Hedonic wellbeing The type of happiness that comes from experiences of pleasure and enjoyment.
Hegelian concept of art Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831) believed that art reveals truth in a direct, intuitive way, as art is a vehicle for actualising a priori (theoretical deduction) concepts. Although his position on this evolved over time, he still believed that art expresses the ‘spirit’ of cultures, artists and/or humanity, and that there is progress to be found within art.
Hermeneutic Generally in reference to biblical, philosophical or wisdom texts, it concerns itself with the interpretation of spoken and written language.
Human:social ecology H. G. Wells (1866-1946) put forward ideas in regards to the relationship between humans and their environment as social and cultural (not just biological) beings.
Idealism A concept within philosophy in which knowledge is solely dependent on the activity of the mind.
Indigenous Describes a person, organism or practice that originates or naturally occurs in a particular place. In contemporary culture, it is often used to describe communities that have held onto early social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that differ to the contemporary dominant society in which they now live. ‘Indigenous’ tends to refer to Native American, Pacific Islander or Australian aboriginal people in much contemporary literature, but is inclusive of any ‘first nation’ communities.
Intrinsic Value When a thing (e.g. organism, place, landscape, relationship) has an innate value in and of itself (and not for its resourcefulness). Something with intrinsic value is an end in itself, not a means to an end.
Instrumental Value When a thing (e.g. organism, place, landscape, relationship) is valuable because of how it can serve us as a resource. Something with instrumental value is a tool which helps achieve a means to an end.
Kantian sublime An aesthetic sublime is the qualitative nature of greatness, whether that’s physical, intellectual, moral, artistic or spiritual. Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) emphasized that humans are limited in their cognition and ability to comprehend such an overwhelming nature of reality, so the capacity and quality of ‘greatness’ (which, according to him could be noble, splendid or terrifying, and either be mathematically grandiose or irresistibly dynamic) doesn’t lie in externally in the world itself, but in the human capacity to comprehend it.
Kinship Ethics Kinship describes familial relationships, or an otherwise sharing of characteristics or origins, yet since everything on Earth is interdependent, environmental philosophy extends the understanding of kinship to include all that is non-human. Kinship Ethics explores this area of familial human:non-human relationships.
Land Ethics Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) expanded the definition of ‘community’ to not just include humans, but also all the other parts of the Earth as well – the soils, waters, plants and animals – which Leopold called “the land”. The Land Ethic is a moral code of conduct which matures from these interconnected caring relationships with the Earth, which centres around the premise that an action or belief is right when it favours the preservation, integrity, stability and beauty of a biotic community. Leopold has been incredibly influential in the field of environmental ethics.
Materialism The philosophical belief that matter, its movements and alterations are the only things that exist.
Mimesis The showing, not telling, of a story through action. Within art, it is an imitative representation of the world.
Nature Connectedness Describes the relationship between people and the rest of Nature. It is an emerging psychological field that promotes noticing, feeling, beauty, celebration and care to achieve a closer, healthier and more sustainable relationship with Nature, as well as positive mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Nietzschean epistemology Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) around epistemology are contradictory, but he can be understood as Perspectivism (the position that our knowledge is limited by our current perspective), which includes human knowledge – we can only understand human knowledge from the perspective of a human. ‘Will to power’, which is the way we give meaning, order and logic to the world, describes the belief that the things that are ‘real’ in this world are the things we can, or do, have power over – we must actively create our own realities.
Noetics The branch of philosophical metaphysics (understanding the core principles of abstract concepts such as being, time, space, and identity) that studies the mind and intellect.
Noosphere The sphere of thought, human consciousness and mental activity that envelopes the Earth, especially concerning its influence on the biosphere. The Internet is sometimes offered as a semi-tangible expression of the Noosphere.
Ontology A branch of metaphysical philosophy that concerns itself with the nature of being and existence.
Pagan Paganism is a diverse, non-dogmatic religious belief system that centres around a reverence for the divine in nature. Beliefs and practices tend to arise from a sole or combination of traditional, indigenous faiths.
Panexperientialist A sub-category of Panpsychism, it is the view that nothing is intrinsically inert, but rather everything has a will of its own and thus changes over time. This does not necessarily mean that inanimate objects – such as a rock – has consciousness or spirit.
Panpsychism A view that everything in the world – living and non-living – has a mind, unconscious psyche, or soul.
Phenomenology The branch of philosophy concerned with experience.
Philosophy of Organism Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) challenged the traditional metaphysical choices between dualism, materialism and idealism (see definitions) by rejecting the distinction between mind and matter. He argues instead that perception is part of the object or world (prehension), since everything has some semblance of sentience. As perceivers, we “can be present in another entity”.
Physiocentrism Used interchangeably with ecocentrism.
Psychocentrism The view that human beings hold superior value than that which is non-human as they have better developed mental capacity and reason.
Relative Constructivism Relativism is the belief there is no absolute truth, only the truth that a person/culture believes. Constructivism is a philosophical view that holds that knowledge of the world is a human and social construction. Relative Constructivism is the view that knowledge about the world differs from person to person, culture to culture.
Social ecology The philosophical area that explores the relationship between ecological and societal issues, how social problems stem from ecological ones, and their comparable challenges surrounding hierarchy and domination.
Stewardship In environmental philosophies and theologies, refers to the duty of humans to take care of the Earth.
Teleologics Teleological thought looks to explain things in terms of their intrinsic purpose, end goal, or function.
Theocentrism The belief that God is a central to our existence, which is typically linked with stewardship or Creation care (the Earth belongs to God, so we should respect it) in modern theological discourse.
Theory of Direct Perception Sometimes known as the ‘Ecological Theory’, psychologist James J. Gibson (1904- 1979) theorised that perception is a result of direct sensory analysis of the environment. What we ‘see’ is what we get.
Theory of Phenomenological Embodiment Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) proposed that the conscious self is found within the lived body, not within our minds.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Sometimes called ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ or ‘Native Science’, TEK describes the ever-developing ecological knowledge by local communities as a result of direct lived experience with their local environments. This knowledge often informs the heritage, culture and/or belief systems of these communities.
Transactional ecology An approach that considers the mutually beneficial exchange and functional interaction between people and the environment
Transmotion An aesthetic theory rooted in a spirited and visionary sense of natural motion, that interprets and contrasts the differences of motion in revered objects, stories and art. It also describes the creative interpretations of seasons and visual depictions of naturally found motion in art and literature.



















































































































































































































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